Articles about Information

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Today the web was broken by countless hacked devices – your 60-second guide

Today, a huge army of hijacked internet-connected devices – from security cameras to home routers – turned on their owners and broke a big chunk of the internet. Compromised machines, following orders from as-yet unknown masterminds, threw huge amounts of junk traffic at servers operated by US-based Dyn, which provides DNS …
Chris Williams, 21 Oct 2016
Image: Seinfield. Credit: NBC.

Como–D'oh! Infosec duo exploits OCR flaw to nab a website's HTTPS cert

Two European security researchers exploited Comodo's crappy backend systems to obtain a HTTPS certificate for a domain they do not own. That cert could be used to impersonate the website, allowing passwords and other sensitive information to be swiped from victims in man-in-the-middle attacks. The infosec bods, Florian Heinz …
Shaun Nichols, 21 Oct 2016
Live news illustration with microphones and cameras

Duck Google's data grab

Over the summer, Google changed its privacy policy to allow it, with user permission, to associate data from Google services and its Chrome browser with the data it uses to target online ads. As ProPublica noted on Friday, Google in its June 28, 2016 privacy policy replaced a commitment to "not combine DoubleClick cookie …
Thomas Claburn, 21 Oct 2016

DNS devastation: Top websites whacked offline as Dyn dies again

An extraordinary, focused attack on DNS provider Dyn continues to disrupt internet services for hundreds of companies, including online giants Twitter, Amazon, AirBnB, Spotify and others. The worldwide assault started at approximately 11am UTC on Friday. It was a massive denial-of-service blast that knocked Dyn's DNS anycast …
Kieren McCarthy, 21 Oct 2016

Boffins twist beams of neutrons into pasta to cook up holograms

Holograms created with neutron beams have been demonstrated for the first time by a team of scientists working at the National Institute of Standards and Technology. The research published this month in Optics Express shows that although neutron holograms are less visually appealing, they can reveal more information about an …
Katyanna Quach, 21 Oct 2016
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Gartner's seers pass judgement on storage industry leaders

Gartner has published a distributed file systems and object storage magic quadrant with the top three suppliers being Dell EMC, followed by IBM and Scality. The research consultancy defines distributed file systems and object storage as "software and hardware solutions that offer object and/or scale-out file technology to …
Chris Mellor, 21 Oct 2016

Acronis: Yep, we're using blockchain for backup now

Acronis's Storage software product for businesses and service providers uses blockchain technology to prove data has not been altered. Acronis, known for its backup software, uses the Storage product in its own cloud infrastructure, which has 12 data centres around the globe, protecting over 50PB of hot and cold data for more …
Chris Mellor, 21 Oct 2016
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Glued-shut IT wallets hindered UK govt's programmes – study

Efforts by the previous UK government to rein in lavish Whitehall technology spending caused more harm than good in some instances. That's according to a new academic paper, titled Identifying the critical success factors for major government projects that incorporate IT or “digital” developments. It builds upon two …
Kat Hall, 21 Oct 2016
Archer cracks the ISIS mainframe's password

DIY website builder Weebly was secured feebly

Another day, another three major breaches: this time at do it yourself website builder Weebly, which has been revealed as secured feebly, as were FourSquare and Modern Business Solutions. A letter to users kindly forwarded to The Register by reader “Ham” explains the situation Weebly as follows: Weebly recently became aware …
Simon Sharwood, 21 Oct 2016

Keystrokes bugged by ear

University researchers have come up with a novel way to log keystrokes via a Skype call. A study [PDF] from the University of California at Irvine suggests that by capturing the audio on a Skype call, a remote attacker would potentially be able to identify the unique click sounds from pressing keys. If the attacker had enough …
Shaun Nichols, 20 Oct 2016
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Is this the worst Blockchain idea you've ever heard?

Poll The music industry has been a petri dish for some fairly atrocious digital ideas, but few can be as desperate as Blockchain. Is this the worst Blockchain idea you’ve ever heard? We thought the business had scraped rock bottom with blockchain .bc “format”. This got oodles of press, as Imogen Heap was fronting the publicity for …
Andrew Orlowski, 20 Oct 2016

Dynamic IP addresses are your personal property, CJEU rules

The CJEU has affirmed personal property rights over dynamically allocated IP addresses, a move which brings European data protection laws into play. The case was brought by German Pirate Party politician Patrice Breyer, who first brought an action restraining the German Federal Government from storing IP addresses, allocated …
Andrew Orlowski, 20 Oct 2016

NSA, GCHQ and even Donald Trump are all after your data

Comment As production and usage of data keeps growing globally, it’s worth remembering that the US government wants access to your information and will use warrants, decryption or hacking to get to it. That’s not news and the US government has many tools in its box. Many had already heard of the Uniting and Strengthening America by …
Frank Jennings, 20 Oct 2016
Riven Media

Security research tool had security problem

Security researchers and the networks they rely on were at risk of breach by the hackers they investigate, thanks to now mitigated man-in-the-middle holes in a popular plugin for analysing debugger OllyDbg. The debugger disassembles binaries, making it a handy way to understand an application's workings without having access …
Darren Pauli, 20 Oct 2016

DeepMind boffins are trying to help robots escape The Matrix and learn for themselves in the real world

Google DeepMind is trying to teach machines human-level motor control using progressive neural networks – so that the robots can learn new skills on-the-go in the real world. The idea is to build droids that can constantly learn and improve themselves, all by themselves, from their own surroundings rather than rely on lab- …
Katyanna Quach, 20 Oct 2016

Meanwhile, in America: Half of adults' faces are in police databases

Images representing 117 million American adults – almost half the grownups in the country – can be found in the facial recognition databases maintained by US law enforcement agencies, according to a study conducted by the Center on Privacy and Technology at Georgetown Law School. That figure is expected to grow as facial …
Thomas Claburn, 20 Oct 2016
Snake oil salesman

Kids today are so stupid they fall for security scams more often than greybeards

Millennials are more likely to fall for tech support scams than baby boomers, Microsoft says. The findings are revealed in a recent Microsoft study that saw it poll peeps in the United Kingdom, the United States, Australia and nine other countries. Redmond's not revealed the number of respondents. Tech support scams take on …
Darren Pauli, 20 Oct 2016

GPS spoofing can put Yik Yak in a flap

A little machine learning can de-anonymise Yik Yak users, according to researchers from American and Chinese universities. Yik Yak is an anonymous messaging app that raised US$70 million, acts like a location-aware Twitter and has become a preferred tool of trolls on US College campuses. The researchers didn't attack the Yik …
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Yahoo! begs! US! spymaster! Clapper!: Spill! the! beans! on! secret! email! snooping!

Yahoo! has asked the US government to break its silence on the secret court order that forced the Purple Palace to scan its webmail users' messages for specific keywords. In a letter [PDF] to US Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, Yahoo! general counsel Ron Bell says that national security laws prevent the online …
Shaun Nichols, 20 Oct 2016
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Australia's IBM-assisted Census fail burned AU$30 MEEELLION

Australia's AU$700k-per-year chief statistician has told a Senate estimates committee that the August 2016 Census crash lopped $30 million off the hoped-for $100 million savings to be had from taking the survey online. The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) spent $10 million to have IBM conduct the online Census, but the …

Coming soon to smart home devices? Best Before labels – with patch cut-off dates

The big outcome of a one-day special IoT security session run by the US government? A new labeling system for your smart home devices. It's not going to happen for a few years, and today's meeting in Austin, Texas, only agreed to set up a working group to look into the issue. However, after five hours of discussion with …
Kieren McCarthy, 19 Oct 2016

Czech, mate: Cops cuff Russian bloke accused of LinkedIn mega-hack

Vid Czech Republic police have arrested a Russian believed to be the hacker behind the massive 2012 theft of more than 100 million LinkedIn user credentials. Working in cooperation with the FBI and Interpol, Prague cops detained the man, named only as Yevgeniy N, on October 5. He now faces extradition to America to be tried on …
Shaun Nichols, 19 Oct 2016
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Third of Donald Trump's debate deplorables are mindless automatons

Hillary Clinton may have the most human supporters among those running for the US presidency, but Donald Trump has an edge among automatons. Pro-Trump Twitter hashtags from September 26 – the date of the first US presidential debate – through September 29 outnumbered pro-Clinton hashtags by about two-to-one, according to a …
Thomas Claburn, 19 Oct 2016

IoT insecurity: US govt summons tech bosses, bashes heads together

There are two things that everyone agrees on when it comes to the internet of things (IoT). First, security is a problem. And second, their approach is the best one. The US government held a one-day meeting in Austin, Texas, today with the sole focus on a specific issue: the ability to upgrade and patch internet-connected …
Kieren McCarthy, 19 Oct 2016

Donald Trump running insecure email servers

US presidential candidate Donald Trump’s criticism of rival Hillary Clinton's use of a private email server while Secretary of State appeared to have rebounded on him. Security researcher Kevin Beaumont discovered the Trump organisation uses a hopelessly outdated and insecure internet setup. Servers on the Trump Organization' …
John Leyden, 19 Oct 2016
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The Internet of Things is 'dangerous' but won't ride to the rescue

The Internet of Things is “dangerous”, according to some bloke trying to rebrand it as the “Internet of You” – and the government ain't going to pass new laws to sort it out. According to a press release, one Jim Hunter of Greenwave Communications quite rightly warned the Broadband World Forum this morning that putting …
Gareth Corfield, 19 Oct 2016
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No, Russia is not tapping into Syria's undersea internet cables

Rumours abound on odder corners of the internet that a Russian signals intelligence ship has tapped into one of the main internet cables serving Syria. Sadly for the conspiraloons, it's almost certainly not true. Various tinfoil hat nutters on Twitter – and, rather embarrassingly, Vice Media's tech offshoot Motherboard – are …
Gareth Corfield, 19 Oct 2016
Parliament in the clouds

Digi minister Matt Hancock: Britain needs go full fibre. And we're not paying for it

The UK's digital minister Matt Hancock has said pure fibre and 5G are the priority for Blighty's digital infrastructure over the next decade - but has indicated the government won't be paying for it. Speaking at the Broadband World Forum event today, he said by 2020 the volume of global internet traffic would be 95 times what …
Kat Hall, 19 Oct 2016
Businessman looks at abstract painting overlaid with server room... he is possibly thinking of or conceiving of a storage/compute concept. Photo by Shutterstock

10x faster servers? Pop a CAPI in your dome

HPC Blog How does 10x faster server performance sound to you? Not in five or six years, but in late 2017? Ground breaking things are afoot in the server world. IBM’s new OpenCAPI mechanism, and the accompanying organization, promises to make this vision reality. So what the hell is this new version of CAPI and who cares if it’s open? …

Data integrity and failover in the hybrid cloud

Discussions of information security tend to revolve around keeping confidential information confidential: preventing intruders from compromising the protection of the systems and gaining access to data they're not entitled to see. But there's more to security than just keeping information secret: it's a three-pronged concept. …
Dave Cartwright, 19 Oct 2016

Microsoft keeps schtum as more battery woes hit Surface sufferers

Updated Microsoft loyalists are up in arms over yet more battery grief with the Surface Pro 3 and that Redmond is, we're told, breaking promises on repair costs. These aren't the battery blunder reported in July, in which faulty software had a habit of draining batteries of juice. Microsoft fixed that issue with a software update in …
Iain Thomson, 19 Oct 2016
Australian Parliament House Canberra

Australia's new data breach disclosure laws have a rather floppy definition of 'breach'

After years of discussion a draft of Australia's proposed data breach disclosure laws has landed and, to The Register's mind, it leaves a lot of wriggle room for those who would keep breaches secret. The draft Privacy Amendment (Notifiable Data Breaches) Bill 2016 (PDF) doesn't make it compulsory to report a breach. “It would …
Simon Sharwood, 19 Oct 2016
Mangstor NX6320

100Gbit/s Mangstor array blows interconnect cobwebs right away

Mangstor has launched a faster NVMe over fabrics storage array – the NX6325 – based on an HPE ProLiant DL380 2U server platform. It builds on the existing NX6320 by adding optimised support for 100Gbit/s network speeds. Customers requiring 40Gbit/s Ethernet or 56Gbit/s InfiniBand can use either the NX6320 or NX6325 storage …
Chris Mellor, 19 Oct 2016
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South Australia blacked out by bad bespoke software, not wind farms

The Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) says wind-powered electricity generation's “intermittency” had nothing to do with the blackouts following South Australia's catastrophic storms in late September. In its ongoing investigation of what caused the “system black” event on 28 September, the AEMO says the storm caused a …
Photo by Christoph Dernbach

Yahoo! hides! from! financial! analysts! amid! email! hacking!, privacy! storm!

Yahoo! had little to say on its looming tie-up with Verizon, as the Purple Palace turned in quarterly numbers that managed to beat analyst expectations. Speaking only briefly on the recent comments from Verizon about adjusting the $4.8bn acquisition deal in the wake of security and privacy problems, Yahoo! CEO Marissa Mayer …
Shaun Nichols, 18 Oct 2016
Communiqué from Ecuador on Julian assange

Ecuador admits it cut Assange's internet to stop WikiLeaks' US election 'interference'

Ecuador's Ministerio de Relaciones Exteriores y Movilidad Humana – its foreign ministry – has admitted the nation cut off Julian Assange's internet access. The WikiLeaks boss has been holed up in Ecuador's embassy in London for the past four years to avoid being questioned in Sweden with potential extradition to America. On …
Simon Sharwood, 18 Oct 2016

AI, AI, captain: Royal Navy warships to set sail with computer officers

The Royal Navy is planning to step up its use of AI to improve maritime defence, beginning with STARTLE, which is AI software that can can spot potential threats. At a briefing titled "Artificial Intelligence in Royal Navy Warships" hosted by non-profit TechUK, Blighty's navy announced it was keen to explore the potential of …
Katyanna Quach, 18 Oct 2016

How do you make a qubit 10 times as stable? Dress it up for work

Dressing qubits in an electromagnetic field can make them 10 times more stable and able to perform more calculations over time in future quantum computers, according to new research in Nature Nanotechnology. Qubits - or quantum bits - hold information in quantum computers just like bits do in conventional computers. Instead of …
Katyanna Quach, 18 Oct 2016

US vs UK: Who's better prepared for AI?

Analysis Research in AI is expanding quickly, and the UK and US governments have begun to notice. Official reports about the new technology and future strategies were dropped by both governments this month. Blighty’s Science and Technology Committee released Robotics and Artificial Intelligence, while the White House delivered …
Katyanna Quach, 18 Oct 2016
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Open-source storage that doesn't suck? Our man tries to break TrueNAS

Review Data storage is difficult, and ZFS-based storage doubly so. There's a lot of money to be made if you can do storage right, so it's uncommon to see a storage company with an open-source model deliver storage that doesn't suck. I looked at TrueNAS from iXsystems, which, importantly, targets the SMB and midmarket with something …
Trevor Pott, 18 Oct 2016

Democralypse Now? US election first battle in new age of cyberwarfare

Hacking attempts against more than 10 US state election databases have increased fears about Russian efforts to disrupt or influence the 2016 presidential election. Cyberattacks against voting databases in Arizona, Illinois and at least eight other states have only heightened concerns in the wake of the hack and subsequent …
John Leyden, 18 Oct 2016
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NHS patients must be taught to share their data, says EU lobby group

Bemoaning the results of a survey showing that more than a third of people don't trust the NHS with their personal information, a new EU-funded lobby group has stressed the need for a “new culture of openness” in allowing patient data to be shared between studies. eTRIKS, which describes itself as “the result of a …
Bank vault

It's good to talk, UK banks told after massaging cyberattack figures

Top techies at British banks are being encouraged to share information about cyberattacks following revelations that the financial sector is under-reporting breaches to regulators. According to the UK's Financial Conduct Authority, only five attacks were reported in 2014, a figure that has soared to 75 so far this year. But …
John Leyden, 18 Oct 2016
Unemployed men queued outside a depression soup kitchen opened in Chicago by Al Capone U.S. Information Agency. (08/01/1953 - 03/27/1978)

Basic income after automation? That’s not how capitalism works

Analysis Philosophers, economists and other academics have long discussed the idea of “basic income” – an unconditional monthly check from the government to every citizen, in an amount at least high enough to cover all basic necessities. Recently, this idea has gained more political traction: Even conservative parties consider it, and …

Ethiopia bans social media

Racked by protests in which as many as 500 people have died, the Ethiopian government has declared a state of emergency and banned its citizens from making social media posts that give information to terrorists or “anti-peace groups”. The protests began in November 2015 in the country's Oromia region, with clashes between the …

US government wants Microsoft 'Irish email' case reopened

The United States Department of Justice has asked the nation's Second Circuit Court of Appeals to re-open its three-year-old case attempt to have Microsoft hand over e-mails stored on servers in the Republic of Ireland. At the same time, the Department has dropped more than a hint that Google's in the cross-hairs. In July, …

Mysterious algorithms, black-box AI recruiters are binning our résumés

Analysis When you submit a résumé for a position at a large company, you may or may not be contacted for further information or an interview. Either way, you probably won't know why. Applicant tracking systems (ATS), the software used by employers to manage employment applications, are not generally open to public scrutiny. "Unless …
Thomas Claburn, 17 Oct 2016
Siri logo

Apple hires CMU AI guru Russ Salakhutdinov to lure over more talent

Apple has hired Russ Salakhutdinov, an associate professor in the deep learning department at Carnegie Mellon University, to oversee its AI research and improve relations with academia. Salakhutdinov says he is excited to join Apple as a director of AI research, even as he continues his work at CMU. He also extended an …
Thomas Claburn, 17 Oct 2016
Intel's Stratix 10 ARM-base FPGA

Microsoft boffins: Who needs Intel CPUs when you've got FPGAs?

Microsoft hooks up reprogrammable chips directly to its data centers' internal networks to ramp up the performance of its web applications. The Windows giant is so impressed by the tech, it reckons the customizable hardware could eventually take on more computational work than the Intel workhorse processors that today fill its …
Shaun Nichols, 17 Oct 2016

Court finds GCHQ and MI5 engaged in illegal bulk data collection

A significant legal blow has been dealt to the British government over its secret mass surveillance activities. The mysterious Investigatory Powers Tribunal, which oversees Blighty's snoops, has ruled that the bulk collection of personal data — conducted by GCHQ and MI5 between 1998 and 2015 — was illegal. Responding to a …