Articles about Information

WhatsApp is to hand your phone number to Facebook

WhatsApp has updated its terms and privacy policy for the first time in four years as part of parent company Facebook’s plans to generate cash through app users' data. While WhatsApp has been a separate service from Facebook since its acquisition for $16bn two years ago, the companies are now going to enjoy a cosier …

Facebook, Twitter and Google are to blame for terrorism, say MPs

A parliamentary committee has claimed that Facebook, Twitter and Google are responsible for terrorist attacks in the West by “consciously failing to combat the use of their sites to promote terrorism and killings.” The claim comes after a year-long inquiry into the UK's efforts into “countering extremism”. The Home Affairs …

Doing business with Asia? Then worry more about security

Organisations across the Asia Pacific are terrible at information security, a Mandiant report contests. While businesses in the United States will detect a hacker in their networks within four months, in line with the global average, it takes 17 months for those in the Asia Pacific region to notice their intruder. The region …
Darren Pauli, 25 Aug 2016
Apple iPhone 6 and 6s

Touchy iPhone 6, 6 Plus chips prone to breaking down and giving up

Apple's latest iPhones can suffer chip failures that can render the touchscreen unusable. This according to a report from DIY repair site iFixit, which says two controller chips on the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus logic board can lose their electrical contacts, and when they go, the handset's touchscreen no longer works. The issue …
Shaun Nichols, 24 Aug 2016
A farm and house

Just a little FYI: Small town ISPs want out of FCC privacy rules

An advocate group for rural broadband providers is asking the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to omit small ISPs from its planned privacy rules. The WTA (formerly known as the Western Telecommunications Alliance) has written [PDF] to secretary Marlene Dortch to request that the regulator omit small ISPs from rules …
Shaun Nichols, 24 Aug 2016

Pow! Right in the Jawbone: Fitbit cleared in tech ripoff legal ordeal

An effort to ban health-tracking Fitbit gadgets in the United States has fallen apart, with a final decision against competitor Jawbone. Jawbone made two complaints to the US International Trade Commission (ITC) last year, one claiming that Fitbit has infringed its patents and a second that it stole trade secrets. If …
Kieren McCarthy, 24 Aug 2016

'Second Earth' exoplanet found right under our noses – just four light years away

Rumours that a terrestrial planet orbiting Proxima Centauri – the Sun’s closest neighbour – may be Earth-like have been confirmed today in a paper published in Nature. The possibility that extraterrestrial life may exist next door was first reported last week in Der Spiegel, a German weekly news magazine. Excitement bubbled …
Katyanna Quach, 24 Aug 2016

US Treasury to launch pre-emptive strike on EU's Ireland tax probe

The US Treasury is preparing a pre-emptive strike against a long-awaited probe by the European Commission into Ireland's tax arrangements with tech firms such as Apple. The US Department of the Treasury plans to publish a paper today outlining its views on the EU’s investigations into tax arrangements, sources told The Irish …
Kat Hall, 24 Aug 2016
Engineer aboard Das Boot U-96 responds to telegraphs

French submarine builder DCNS springs leak: India investigates

India is investigating a security breach affecting its French-built Scorpene-class submarines after more than 22,000 pages covering its secret capabilities were leaked. First reported in The Australian, the documents offer details on the designs of the submarines, which were put together by French company DCNS. Based on the …

Stop lights, sunsets, junctions are tough work for Google's robo-cars

Hot Chips After cruising two million miles of public roads, Google's self-driving cars still find traffic lights, four-way junctions and other aspects of everyday life hard work. To be sure, the hardware and software at the heart of the autonomous vehicles is impressive. But it's just not quite good enough yet to be truly let loose on …
Chris Williams, 24 Aug 2016
Linux holding up Windows

Microsoft drops OMI for Linux to GitHub

Microsoft has added another piece to its Open Management Infrastructure (OMI) jigsaw, publishing Unix/Linux code that implements the Distributed Management Task Force's (DMTF) models and standards. The project has been running for some years under the auspices of the DMTF here. OMI itself is already free and open source, a …

Hacked hookup site Ashley Madison's security was laughable

Ruby Corp, the rebranded parent company of illicit-affair-arranging outfit Ashley Madison, has had to enter into court-enforceable orders with privacy authorities in Canada and Australia, following the findings of a joint investigation in the two countries. After the company was hacked by Impact Team, it was pretty clear that …
AFP Commissioner Andrew Colvin

Australian Federal Police resume NBN raids, this time in parliament

The Australian Federal Police (AFP) is resuming its hunt for documents associated with leaks about the financial position of the National Broadband Network. Senator Stephen Conroy – former communications minister and now shadow to the special minister of state – has told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) that the …
An angry man gesticulates at his laptop screen. Photo by Shutterstock

An end to rude emails?

Email is a fundamental format for modern life, but one that many of us have yet to fully understand. While a concise/firm response may seem perfect to you, others may see it as, shall we say, a little rude. Likewise, your careful and accurate rundown can often result in people's eyes glazing over and failing to respond with …
Kieren McCarthy, 23 Aug 2016

Privacy advocates rail against US Homeland Security's Twitter, Facebook snooping

A proposal to ask people to provide details of their social media accounts before entering the United States has been criticized as "highly invasive" by privacy advocates. A coalition of 28 groups, including the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), Center for Democracy & Technology (CDT), Consumer Federation of America, and …
Kieren McCarthy, 23 Aug 2016

Corbyn lied, Virgin Trains lied, Harambe died

Video So, Jeremy Corbyn recorded a message in which he was sitting on the floor of a train traveling between London and Newcastle, claiming it was "ram-packed" (as exampled by his floor sitting) and that was why all of the trains needed to be renationalised. While on the floor in a video for The Guardian's website, Jez said: "This …
The road running through the PRATCHETT landing area

Veeam: You know what's not a disaster? Our software mega-update

The backup and disaster recovery firm Veeam has announced an updated Availability Suit, and the Veeam Availability Platform for the Hybrid Cloud. It's a bundle of VAS, VAL, VAM, VAO, VAC and VCC, as you will see. VAS - Veeam Availability Suite for virtualised servers* VAL - Veeam Agent for Linux for public clouds and …
Chris Mellor, 23 Aug 2016

NASA tried turning lost spacecraft STEREO-B off and on again... but it didn't work. True story

NASA has managed to reestablish a connection with the STEREO-B spacecraft after contact was lost in October 2014. The spacecraft is part of a pair. STEREO-A flies ahead of Earth’s orbit, whilst STEREO-B trails behind. Both spacecraft were employed on NASA’s Solar TErrestrial RElations Observatory (STEREO) mission to provide …
Katyanna Quach, 23 Aug 2016
Robot on road photo via Shutterstock

Ireland's govt IT: Recession and job cuts forced us to adapt

Ireland was hit hard by the global financial crunch of 2007 and 2008. It was the first of the EU member states to slip into recession immediately following the bursting of the economic bubble. As the economy contracted, banks faced default and government debt increased, with Ireland eventually taking an €67.5bn loan from the …
SA Mathieson, 23 Aug 2016

The TPC-C/SPC-1 storage benchmarks are screwed. You know what we need?

Comment The storage benchmarking world is broken because there are no realistic and pratical storage benchmarks with realistic workloads customers can apply to systems. So says storage analyst Howard Marks, and he aims to fix this mess with the help of a consortium of industry players. He says the world of storage …
Chris Mellor, 23 Aug 2016
St Petersburg Russia

Kaspersky launches its own OS on Russian routers

Kaspersky Labs has finished building its eponymously-named operating system after four years of quiet development. Little information about the OS has made it onto the English-speaking side of the internet. Kaspersky Labs Russia told Vulture South to wait a few weeks for the English press release for information. What we do …
Darren Pauli, 23 Aug 2016
Robot touches screen with finger. Photo via Shutterstock

Crims share vulns but vendors don't. This needs fixing

Interview Attackers like to re-use code, but vendors don't find out because they don't share, according to Centrify's David McNeely. In Sydney for Gartner's Security and Risk Management Summit, McNeely – the company's veep of product strategy – said that realisation was driven home to him during the recent Black Hat conference in Las …

Epic Games forums breached, salted passwords nabbed

Information on some 808,000 Unreal Engine and Unreal Tournament forum accounts, including email addresses, birth dates, and private messages, have been stolen from Epic Games. The games company says passwords were not compromised on the Unreal forums so account resets are not necessary. Salted passwords were breached for …
Darren Pauli, 23 Aug 2016
man_from_uncle_648

Software-defined networking is dangerously sniffable

Software-defined networking (SDN) controllers respond to network conditions by pushing new flow rules to switches. And that, say Italian researchers, creates an unexpected security problem. The researchers were able to persuade their SDN environment to leak information that sysadmins probably don't want out in public, …
The Mosque at the Taj Mahal, shot from within the Taj Mahal through the marble screens

Indian techies told to prepare for tax sprint

National Goods and Services Tax means everything needs tweaking India recently introduced a national goods and services tax (GST)* and the nation's techies are now scrambling to prepare for its implementation. Each of India's states previously levied their own GST at their own rates, which rather complicated matters for …
Simon Sharwood, 23 Aug 2016
Speedometer by Nathan E Photography, Flickr under CC2.0

HPE patches NonStop admin

HPE NonStop sysadmin? Using the Perl or PHP scripting languages for operating system services? Get patching: the company's just patched 45 vulnerabilities dating back as far as 2013. The list of potential impacts, according to HPE, includes local DoS, privilege escalation, remote DoS, arbitrary code execution, information …

Microsoft's HoloLens secret sauce: A 28nm customized 24-core DSP engine built by TSMC

Hot Chips Microsoft today revealed a first look at the inside of its Holographic Processing Unit (HPU) chip used in its virtual reality HoloLens specs. The secretive HPU is a custom-designed TSMC-fabricated 28nm coprocessor that has 24 Tensilica DSP cores arranged in 12 clusters. It has about 65 million logic gates, 8MB of SRAM, and a …
Chris Williams, 22 Aug 2016
A quadcopter drone seized by the Metropolitan Police

London cops hunt for drone pilots who tried dropping drugs into jail

Cops have seized drones being used to fly drugs into London's Pentonville prison – and are now on the hunt for the people operating them. One drone crashed while flying over the all-male jail on 14 August. Another was intercepted in “mid-flight” heading towards the prison later that same day. Police did not say exactly how …
Gareth Corfield, 22 Aug 2016

Little ARMs pump 2,048-bit muscles in training for Fujitsu's Post-K exascale mega-brain

Hot Chips ARM is bolting an extra data-crunching engine onto its 64-bit processor architecture to get it ready for Fujitsu's Post-K exascale supercomputer. Specifically, ARM is adding a Scalable Vector Extension (SVE) to its ARMv8-A core architecture. SVE can handle vectors from 128 to 2,048 bits in length. This technology is not an …
Chris Williams, 22 Aug 2016
Surprised by smartphone

Beauty site lets anyone read customers' personal information

Popular online cosmetics site Strawberrynet has asked customers if a function that allows anyone to retrieve its customers names, billing addresses, and phone numbers with nothing more than an email address is a bug or a feature. The bug was first disclosed almost exactly a decade ago and resurfaced after security man Troy …
Darren Pauli, 22 Aug 2016

IOActive turns up the most SOHOpeless router so far

It could be the worst router in the world: a cheapie from China that IOActive reckons is completely pwnable all ways from Sunday. Bought by a travelling staffer, Tao Sauvage, the BHU Wi-Fi router looks almost indistinguishable to a surveillance box. As Sauvage writes: “An unauthenticated attacker could bypass authentication, …
NSA

Snowden files confirm Shadow Brokers spilled NSA's Equation Group spy tools over the web

Documents from the Edward Snowden archive prove that the malware and exploits dumped on the public internet on Monday originated from the NSA. Among the files leaked by whistleblower Snowden in 2013 is a draft NSA manual on how to redirect people's web browsers using a man-in-the-middle tool called SECONDDATE. This piece of …
Iain Thomson, 19 Aug 2016

Shopped in an Eddie Bauer store recently? Your card's probably gone. It's just gone

Clothing chain Eddie Bauer has admitted the payment terminals in more than 350 of its stores have been siphoning customers' bank card details to criminals. The retailer – which sells high-end clobber for hikers or anyone who wants to pretend they're outdoorsy – said malware infected its cash registers on January 2 and the code …
Iain Thomson, 19 Aug 2016

UK's mass-surveillance draft law grants spies incredible powers for no real reason – review

IPBill An independent review into bulk surveillance powers in the forthcoming Investigatory Powers Bill has warned that there is no proven case to let British snoops hack the planet. The study group examined the UK government’s Operational Case for Bulk Powers [PDF], which provided the government’s reasons for needing the most …
Laptop leaning against a stack of news papers in front of a world map illustration

Unis don't pay ransom

Bournemouth University in the UK was hit by 21 ransomware attacks in the past 12 months, according to records unearthed by a Freedom of Information request. The request was made by endpoint security firm SentinelOne, which also revealed to The Register that 60 per cent of 71 universities it questioned had been hit by …
John Leyden, 19 Aug 2016
Herbie

DVLA misses out on £400m in tax after scrapping paper discs

The UK's Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) collected £400m less in tax during the first 12 months of moving paper tax discs online, according to a Freedom of Information response. From October 2014 to September 2015, the DVLA collected £5.71bn in vehicle excise duty, £412m lower than in the previous 12 months - …
Kat Hall, 19 Aug 2016
scanners

My headset is reading my mind and talking behind my back

Something for the Weekend, Sir? It only takes a minute to capture a 3D model of my orifices. They tell me it’s the only way I can be sure of a tight fit. Perhaps I could order a hologram of my 3D orifices that I can hang on my living room wall. It would make a nice conversation piece for visitors to admire. "Isn’t it creepy how my orifices seem to follow …
Alistair Dabbs, 19 Aug 2016
Man drinks Beer. Photo by shutterstock

Polish developer hacks Android rewards app for free beer

A cunning Polish developer has hacked an Android food and drink rewards app to grant himself unlimited free beer. Kuba Gretzky detailed his excellent exploits in a blog post on Breakdev – though, to deter copycats, he didn't name the rewards app or the precise location within Poland where it was operating. He did, however, …
Gareth Corfield, 19 Aug 2016

Five-hour Azure wobble

Microsoft's Azure endured a five-hour brownout on Thursday. Microsoft says "SQL Databases hosted in Multiple Regions may have experienced issues performing Service Management Operations" between 01:45 and 06:47 UTC. The incident meant "Retrieving information about SQL servers and databases through the Azure Management Portal …
Simon Sharwood, 19 Aug 2016

Google had Obama's ear during antitrust probe

Updated According to emails released under the US Freedom of Information Act, Google briefed the White House amid an antitrust investigation into itself, breaking a 40-year precedent of the President's office staying well away from competition issues. Google lobbyist Johanna Shelton and the web giant's antitrust lawyer Matthew Bye met …
Andrew Orlowski, 18 Aug 2016

The calm before the storm: AMD's Zen bears down on Intel CPUs

AMD is continuing to drip feed information about Zen, its long-awaited designed-from-scratch x86 processor microarchitecture. Zen is a big deal, or rather needs to be a big deal, for AMD because its previous Bulldozer microarchitecture was, well, bulldozed by Intel's Core series. Thus, AMD needs Zen to succeed in order to win …
Chris Williams, 18 Aug 2016
Frustrated accountant puts head in hands. Photo by Shutterstock

Brit cops cuff Sage employee at Heathrow airport

A 32-year-old woman was arrested by the City of London Police last night on suspicion of attempting to defraud software firm Sage. According to the police force the woman, who is a current employee of Sage, was arrested at Heathrow airport on suspicion of conspiracy to defraud. She has since been bailed. The arrest comes days …
Windows 10 floppy disk

Windows 10 needs proper privacy portal, says EFF

The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) has called on Microsoft to offer a “single unified screen” on which Windows 10 users can control how Windows 10 deals with their personal information and monitors their use of the OS. The organisation has listed the long list of nasty nagware tactics Microsoft used to get people running …
Simon Sharwood, 18 Aug 2016

If this headline was a security warning, 90% of you would ignore it

Developers, advertisers, and scammers be warned; boffins say your pop ups will be almost universally ignored if they interrupt users. The work examined how users respond to web-based messages during times of varying concentration and found users who are engaged deeply in some task will ignore pop ups. The university quintet …
Darren Pauli, 18 Aug 2016
Shark surfaces above water with prey in his teeth, Photo by Shutterstock

Shark bosses sink teeth into booming ransomware market

Cybercrooks are harnessing the “ransomware-as-a-Service” (RaaS) business model to mount a new scam. Coders distributing a ransomware builder to aspiring attackers that can be used on condition that a 20 per cent cut of any ransom payments it generates is returned to the original coders. The “Shark” ransomware is being …
John Leyden, 17 Aug 2016
Lester firing an AR-15 assault rifle

Penetration tech: BAE Systems' new ammo for Our Boys and Girls

Interview BAE Systems is, for the first time in many years, offering new types of small arms ammunition to the armed forces. It all boils down to achieving better penetration and pleasing the customer. Famous as the home of British military ammunition production since its 20th century days as a state-owned Royal Ordnance Factory, Radway …
Gareth Corfield, 17 Aug 2016
Headshot of Trojan horse

Running a DNSSec responder? Make sure it doesn't help the black hats

Sysadmins are making mistakes configuring and managing DNSSec, and it's leaving systems that should be secure open to exploitation in DNS reflection attacks. That's the conclusion of Neustar, in a study released here and which found that of more than 1,300 DNSSec-protected domains tested 80 per cent could be used in an attack …
Steam power turbine

US Dept of Energy lobs out $34m for bright ideas on securing grids

The US Department of Energy (DOE) has awarded $34m in funding to pay for 12 programs aimed at improving the security of the US power grid. The DOE said that the projects (pending approval from Congress) would be given out to both university researchers and commercial companies and would look to cover basic issues related to …
Shaun Nichols, 16 Aug 2016
Australian Parliament House Canberra

Australian Information Commissioner won't say which agencies follow data-match guidelines

Is that good or bad? Who can say: compliance with the guidelines is voluntary The Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC) received a dozen requests to review data matching programs in the last financial year, The Register has learned. But The Register can't assess whether that number is good, bad or …
Simon Sharwood, 16 Aug 2016
Hacker

LinkedIn sues 100 information scrapers after technical safeguard fail

Microsoft-owned LinkedIn has filed a lawsuit in California against 100 unnamed individuals who circumvented its security technology to harvest data from its network of 400 million people. The lawsuit claims that the individuals used a specially created botnet that has been collecting data from the site since December 2015 and …
Iain Thomson, 16 Aug 2016