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Regina Egbert, El Reg's virtual news anchor

The week in tech news with cracking coverage from Regina Eggbert

Youtube Video A short stroll through this week's top tech news, with animated anchor Regina Eggbert. Get more in depth knowledge on the Apple, Google and Microsoft stories here, here and here. ® Regina Egbert, El Reg's virtual news anchor

China ALSO building encryption-cracking quantum computer

It’s not just the NSA that’s said to be working on a quantum computer – China is also pulling out all the stops to beat its arch rival with a crypto-cracking machine of its own. The National Natural Science Foundation of China funded 90 quantum-based projects in 2013, with the order from Beijing to get the job done irrespective …
Phil Muncaster, 10 Jan 2014

Kiwis get cracking with gigabit residential broadband

While Australians wait for a copper network “upgrade” that can't be guaranteed to deliver better than 25 Mbps, a speed war has broken out across the Tasman, with residential gigabit plans arriving at wholesale prices that could see households pay under $NZ100 per month. The wholesaler has announced the offering is now available …

Trio share 2014 Nobel Prize for cracking internal GPS of the brain

The 2014 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine has been awarded to three neurologists for their work in helping to understand how the brain can remember where we are – and finding out which nerve cells are responsible. Half of the prize was awarded to American-born John O'Keefe, who is a naturalized Brit and has spent his career …
Iain Thomson, 07 Oct 2014
padlock

Get cracking on STARTTLS says Facebook

Facebook has debunked the idea that SMTP STARTTLS encryption still isn't taking hold, after an analysis of the billions of messages it sends to millions of servers each day. In this blog post, The Social NetworkTM says the numbers are clear: “STARTTLS has achieved critical mass and there is immediate value in deploying it”, and …
Indonesia's spiffing No Spam logo

Guess which major US telco ISN'T cracking down on premium SMS spam?

AT&T, Sprint, and T-Mobile have agreed to stop charging their customers for premium text messages (PSMS), a practice that costs US folks an estimated $2bn in excess charges a year. The ban isn't total – Verizon isn't stopping the practice because it says it is still in the process of winding down its PSMS service. But it's not a …
Iain Thomson, 23 Nov 2013
The Register breaking news

Behold, replica Nazi-code-cracking Colossus computer IN LEGO FORM

A Lego fan's miniature representation of the famous codebreaking Colossus Mark 2 has agreeably gone on show at Bletchley Park, where the original machine did vital wartime work breaking Germany's Lorenz ciphers. James Pegrum's homage to Colossus is entertaining visitors as part of the The National Museum of Computing's (TNMOC) …
Lester Haines, 06 Aug 2013

Snowden docs: NSA building encryption-cracking quantum computer

The latest document stash from whistle-blower Edward Snowden shows that the NSA has budgeted $79.7m for the development of a quantum computer capable of "owning the net." "The Owning the Net (OTN) Project provides the technological means for NSA/CSS to gain access to and securely return high value target communications," one …
Iain Thomson, 03 Jan 2014
Bletchley Park

Bletchley Park vows to upload secret World War II code-cracking archives

Bletchley Park, the British wartime code-breaking center that housed computing legends such as Alan Turing and Tommy Flowers, will put its paper archives online after HP provided the scanning hardware to get the job done. "We've been wanting to do this for a while. It was first discussed five years ago, but we have just never …
Iain Thomson, 08 Nov 2013

British boffin muzzled after cracking car codes

Here is a tale of two security research presentations, both looking at motor vehicle security in a world in which even the humblest shopping trolley now has more brainpower than a moonshot. Flavio Garcia, a University of Birmingham lecturer familiar with insecurity in car systems – here, for example, is a paper he co-authored …

Cracking copyright law: How a simian selfie stunt could make a monkey out of Wikipedia

That so-called Macaca nigra monkey selfie isn’t in the public domain, no matter what Wikipedia wants you to think. In fact, the encyclopedia's stance on the matter could backfire and hit it in the pocket. A photo sold by British snapper David Slater since 2011 hit the headlines again this month when Wikipedia refused to …
Andrew Orlowski, 24 Aug 2014

Heistmeisters crack cost of safecrackers with $150 widget

A pair of Melbourne security professionals have developed a $150 auto-dialer safe cracker that replicates a machine worth tens of thousands of dollars and sold only to military customers. The unit launches automatic brute force attacks against group two combination locks used in high-security environments like ATMs and gun safes …
Darren Pauli, 13 Oct 2014
Brute force

Leak of '5 MEELLLION Gmail passwords' creates security flap

Plain-text passwords and account names linked to five million Gmail accounts have been leaked onto several Russian forums. Security experts had already confirmed the data seemed legit, albeit approximately three years old, before Google put up its blog post on the subject. The leak, to a variety of forums, not all of which are …
John Leyden, 11 Sep 2014

Exercise-tracking app not QUITE fit for purpose

Popular fitness app MyFitnessPal, used by 65 million people, has fixed a vulnerability that exposed personal information including date of birth records. The profiles allowed users to fill out their private location data including country, state, and city but not street-level addresses for the purposes of linking neighbours. …
Darren Pauli, 22 Sep 2014
The NSA Unchained

That earth-shattering NSA crypto-cracking: Have spooks smashed RC4?

Fresh revelations from whistleblower Edward Snowden suggest that the NSA can crack TLS/SSL connections, the widespread technology securing HTTPS websites and virtual private networks (VPNs). Although reports from the New York Times and its allied publications held off on the specifics, it may all mean that US spooks can reliably …
John Leyden, 06 Sep 2013

Zuckerberg bombshell: Man married to Chinese woman speaks Chinese in China

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg shocked a Chinese audience with his mastery of Mandarin – a language that's as difficult to master as his website's privacy settings. The advertising kingpin was speaking at Tsinghua University in China, where he stunned attendees by ditching English and speaking in Mandarin for more than half an …
Jasper Hamill, 23 Oct 2014

Speaking in Tech: 'Software-defined' anything makes me BARF in my MOUTH

speaking_in_tech Greg Knieriemen podcast enterprise Hosted by Greg Knieriemen, Ed Saipetch and Sarah Vela. This week, Ed is out so it's just Sarah and Greg celebrating Canada Day with special guest (and proud Canadian) Chad Sakac, senior veep for Global Presales Technical Resources at EMC. This week we discuss… Greg, Sarah …
Team Register, 02 Jul 2014
The Register breaking news

Cracking software retrieves iPhone 4 passwords

A Russian password-cracking company has released software it says can recover passwords stored on Apple's latest iPhone without modifying the device or any of the data stored on it. ElcomSoft of Moscow says the latest version of its iPhone Password Breaker will recover the encrypted keychains that the iPhone 4 uses to store …
Dan Goodin, 05 Aug 2010

Facebook, Apple: LADIES! Why not FREEZE your EGGS? It's on the company!

It's no secret that Silicon Valley is a workplace that favours youth. Not just because the young have new ideas and perspectives, but also because 20-something geeks who work with all their friends have no problem putting in 60 hours a week cracking out code. Now, it seems that some of the biggest names in the business are …
Shaun Nichols, 15 Oct 2014

China: Microsoft, don't shy away from our probe

China's antitrust regulator has confirmed it met Microsoft's lawyers over its investigation into the US firm, warning it to abide by Chinese law and not to interfere with the probe. China's State Administration for Industry and Commerce said in a statement (translated by Google) that it had spoken with deputy general counsel …
The Register breaking news

Web service automates WordPress password cracking

Hackers have developed a distributed Wordpress admin account cracking scheme that poses a severe risk for the security of blogs whose owners select insecure passwords. PHP scripts located on a virtual server run bruteforce (password guessing) attacks on targeted sites. Many sites can be attacked at the same time by the system, …
John Leyden, 30 Nov 2009
Two teenage girls - one whispering in other's ear

6 Obvious Reasons Why Facebook Will Ban This Article (Thank God)

1. Facebook has declared war on "click-baiting headlines", slamming them as "spammy". 2. The social network has noticed that lazy, poorly written headlines that lure in readers with an ultimately unfilled promise are almost universally hated 3. BuzzFeed and Upworthy-style 'you won't believe this' garbage is drowning out …
Chris Williams, 25 Aug 2014

Bloodthirsty Apple fanbois TEAR OPEN new Macbook, bare its guts to world+dog

An Apple upgrade outfitter has exposed the new Macbook Retina to the world, cracking it open for a teardown just days after its release. The new Macbook surged from Cupertino like an avenging spirit last week, surprising almost no one with its promise of slightly improved performance. Now the first brave soul has attacked it …
Jasper Hamill, 30 Jul 2014

Bill Gates asks telcoms standards boffins to define future of money

Two-and-a-half billion adults in the world don't have bank accounts, and the the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation thinks it's got the answer: deliver financial services to mobile phones. And the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) agrees: late in June, it established a focus group to look at Digital Financial Services …

NSA Sentry Eagle placed spies in private companies

The National Security Agency (NSA) has since 2004 sent spies into private companies in a bid to compromise networks from within, according to documents leaked by Edward Snowden. Agents sent in by the NSA targeted global communications firms under a highly classified 'core secrets' program dubbed Sentry Eagle previously known …
Darren Pauli, 14 Oct 2014
The Register breaking news

Virtual Nazi-code-cracking Colossus in fundraising appeal

The National Museum of Computing (TNMOC) has turned to a tried-and-tested fundraising method to establish a home for the rebuilt Colossus computer at Bletchley Park. Individuals and firms are invited to buy up pixels of an online picture of the wartime code-breaking machine - at 10 pence per dot with a minimum spend of £10 - …
John Leyden, 10 Feb 2012
SOURCE: http://www.sxc.hu/photo/959469

HP offers $150,000 for 'exploit unicorn' in Pwn2Own hacker competition

HP has been laying out the ground rules for the latest Pwn2Own contest and is offering a new prize of $150,000 to the cunning cracker who can get root access to a Windows 8.1 PC running Redmond's Enhanced Mitigation Experience Toolkit (EMET). "Last year we launched a plug-in track to the competition, in addition to our …
Iain Thomson, 01 Feb 2014
Random numbers

L337 crackrz use dumb passwords too

Black hats are just as blithe about the passwords they use as the rest of the world, according to a bit of research by security outfit Avast. The anti-virus company's Antonín Hýža, writes here that after he'd built a dictionary of hacked hackers' passwords, the most common password was “hack”. Hýža says his work began because …
The forward view from the aircraft in the stratosphere

US team claims PARIS paper plane launch crown

A US team has announced it's broken El Reg's Guinness World Record for the highest launch of a paper plane by releasing a substantial paper dart at 96,563ft (29,430m). A group of cadets from Fox Valley Composite Squadron of the Illinois Wing, Civil Air Patrol, sent their vehicle aloft on 13 September from Kankakee, Illinois, and …
Lester Haines, 23 Sep 2014

128-bit crypto scheme allegedly cracked in two hours

Crypto researchers are preparing to scatter the ashes of a class of Discrete Logarithm Problems (DLPs) as the future of security, following a claim by Swiss researchers to have cracked a 128-bit crypto scheme in two hours. So as not to frighten the horses, The Register will start by pointing out that our understanding of this …
Lock security

Student promises Java key to unlock Simplocker ransomware

A university student claims he is set to release a Java application to decrypt the first ransomware to hit Android devices. The Simplelocker ransomware was revealed 7 June by malware analysts at Eset targeting devices in Eastern Europe. It encrypted via AES large swathes of files on Android device SD cards demanding users pay a …
Darren Pauli, 17 Jun 2014
kilobot

What does a flashmob of 1,024 robots look like? Just like this

Harvard University computer scientists have built a 1,000-strong robot army that can form itself into shapes with little human input. KIlobots And I, for one, welcome our new robot overlords (click to enlarge) The machines, dubbed kilobots because there are 1,024 of them, each contain an Atmel micrcontroller, two …
Iain Thomson, 14 Aug 2014
Doctor Who on Kill The Moon

'Utter killjoy Reg hacks have NEVER BEEN LAID', writes a fan

Last week’s Doctor Who review of Kill The Moon certainly sparked some strong opinions. On Twitter, there were those who couldn’t agree more: Preach it #doctorwho http://t.co/HE7rdFEgFG — ℓilliane (@MakeItLast) October 5, 2014 . @TheRegister reviews the rather un-Physicsy #DoctorWho ep http://t.co/hjzMImzqqz — Stephen …
register logo

e-Reader feeling empty? Top it up at El Reg's book shop

We feel your pain. We understand what you want. So whether it’s that last minute dash for presents, or the prospect of spending the festive period squished in with your extremely un-techy relatives, ease your distress with the latest crop of Register ebooks. Planning the year ahead? Thinking of some New Year resolutions? Need a …
Team Register, 11 Dec 2013
Beginners All-purpose Symbolic Instruction Code

Amazon is decompiling our apps in security gaffe hunt, says dev

Amazon's crackdown on mishandling AWS credentials has astonished one software developer, who says the cloud giant is reverse-engineering Android apps for inspection. In this blog post, Raj Bala admitted his app included his private "AWS credentials as simple strings within the app itself”, and as a result, he's received a notice …
Infosec

Who needs hackers? 'Password1' opens a third of all biz doors

Hundreds of thousands of hashed corporate passwords have been cracked within minutes by penetration testers using graphics processing units. The 626,718 passwords were harvested during penetration tests over the last two years conducted across corporate America by Trustwave infosec geeks. The firm's threat intelligence manager …
Darren Pauli, 15 Aug 2014
The Register breaking news

Trucker prangs rig while cracking one off

Swedish police believe that a German lorry driver who crashed his vehicle near Borås earlier this week may have been off his box on drugs, according to the Borås Tidning newspaper. Suspicions that the unnamed 30-something trucker, who collided with the central reservation and flipped his vehicle, could have ingested illegal …
Lester Haines, 25 Sep 2009

Australian whistleblower laws weaker than China's, report finds

Australia's private sector whistleblower laws are weaker than those in most G20 countries including Turkey, China, and Indonesia, according to researchers at Melbourne and Griffith universities. The report Whistleblower Protection Rules in G20 Countries: The Next Action Plan found while in roads had been made to improve whistle …
Darren Pauli, 10 Sep 2014
Rosetta Flash diagram

Weaponised Flash flaw can pinch just about anything from anywhere

Get cracking with the latest Flash upgrade, because the vulnerability it patches is a peach, allowing a cross-site request forgery (CSRF) attack for stealing user credentials. According to the Switzerland-based Google engineer that turned up the vulnerability, Michele Spagnuolo, sites that are/were vulnerable to the attack …
Peril Sensitive Sunglasses - Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

Is the answer to life, the universe and everything hidden in Adams' newly uncovered archive?

We all know that the, er, "bad guys are Vogons". Douglas Adams explained as much in his cracking 1979 sci-fi novel The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. But what if there are new baddies to be unearthed and nerdish gags to marvel at – well, nerdishly – from the words of the great man himself? Wait no longer: a new biography – …
Kelly Fiveash, 31 May 2014

WORLD CUP SHOCK: England declared winner in 2-1 defeat to Italy

Spud-faced footie ace Wayne Rooney may not face the chop – after England was declared the WINNER in its World Cup opening match against Italy. The quick-tempered, woodwork-bothering Liverpudlian's fate was said to be hanging in the balance after the Italians scored two goals to England's one on Saturday night. Even though he …
Team Register, 17 Jun 2014
The Register breaking news

ACCC to NBN Co: 'get cracking'

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has threatened to step in with price regulation if it thinks that NBN Co, the company building the country's National Broadband Network, is moving too slowly. The regulator told the NBN parliamentary committee that NBN Co has not yet lodged its "Special Access Undertaking …
Angry Birds pig

Apple rats on Google to FTC: You thought WE were in-app-ropriate?

Apple turned in Google to the Federal Trade Commission for the same in-app purchase issues for which the iPhone-maker itself had been criticised, according to a report in Politico. Earlier this year, the FTC started cracking down on iPhone and iPad apps that allowed kids to spend their parents’ hard-earned dosh without their …
Routers

L33t haxxors compete to p0wn popular home routers

Gird your loins router-makers: a throng of hackers are set to pry apart your woefully insecure hardware in a competition to expose bad firmware and hard-coded credentials. The competition will take place at the DEF CON 22 conference and glories in the name "SOHOpelessly Broken". The event is the brainchild of the Electronic …
Darren Pauli, 18 Jul 2014
Drawing of brain

Programmers! Have you been asked to solve a computationally intractable task?

And so to El Reg forums, where Julian Bradfield, an academic, writes: In a vigorous discussion about revising courses in a computer science degree, one of my colleagues opined that "every decent programmer is sometime going to come across a task that is NP-hard, so they need to know to tackle NP-hard problems". I'm curious as …
Drew Cullen, 23 Oct 2013

Napster cofounder's Jerk.com accused of acting like ... err ... jerks

The US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is cracking down on a site they say lifted user information to create smear profiles on a for-profit reputation site. The FTC said that the operators of Jerk.com (which appears to have since been taken down) harvested data from millions of Facebook users to create profiles without permission …
Shaun Nichols, 09 Apr 2014
San Francisco cable car

San Francisco issues SMACKDOWN on parking spot sale software

San Francisco city officials are cracking down on mobile applications that allow users to buy and sell public parking spaces. City Attorney Dennis Herrera said Monday that his office had sent a cease-and-desist notice to the developers of Monkey Parking, a mobile app which lets users sell their public parking spaces in crowded …
Shaun Nichols, 23 Jun 2014
hands waving dollar bills in the air

eBay says database leak dump offers are fake

Cybercrooks are offering to sell "stolen copies" of the leaked eBay database through an advert posted through Pastebin. However eBay says the sale is fake. "We have checked all published data and so far none are authentic eBay accounts," eBay's press office told El Reg. Security experts, although far from certain, seem inclined …
John Leyden, 22 May 2014
Lights out image

207 thousand lights-out boxes are STILL hackable

Researchers have found 207,000 publicly-accessible Baseboard Management Controllers (BMCs) can be hacked with a "handful" of basic command and config flaws, despite previous warnings about the problem. The exposed devices were found during a global trawl of UDP 623 that netted 230,000 public BMCs, half of which ran holey 13-year …
Darren Pauli, 11 Jun 2014
Neutron star collision

Interstellar FIGHT CLUB: Watch neutron star TEAR Goliath a new hole

Ever wanted to see two super-dense neutron stars rip each other apart in a mega-annihilation that leaves nothing behind but a gaping black hole? Now you can, after NASA put together a supercomputer simulation of just such an event in our universe. Youtube video A neutron star is the compressed core left behind when a huge star …