Articles about Utility

Ink hands

What's ordered in Vegas, doesn't stay in Vegas? $6.7m of printer ink 'stolen by office worker'

A Las Vegas woman stole printer ink worth $6,715,531 from her employer and sold it to a reseller on the other side of America, it is claimed. When Jennifer McCain-Bray worked as a purchasing analyst for the Las Vegas Valley Water District – a public utility – she ordered millions of dollars of extra printer ink and toner, had …
Iain Thomson, 30 Jul 2016
A crying child

Stop us if you've heard this one before: Telcos try to kill net neutrality

A group of US telcos has formally asked the courts to overturn the Open Internet rules put in place by the FCC, America's broadband nanny. A series of petitions filed by the likes of AT&T, CTIA and the National Cable and Telecommunications Association (NCTA) asked the court to throw out a June verdict from a district court …
Shaun Nichols, 29 Jul 2016

Windows 10 pain: Reg man has 75 per cent upgrade failure rate

Comment As your humble HPC correspondent for The Register, I should probably be running Linux on the array of systems here at the home office suite. But I don't. I've been a Microsoft guy since I bought my first computer way back in 1984. You, dear readers, can rip me for being a MStard, but it works worked well for my business and …
Tesla crash

Tesla autopilot driver 'was speeding' moments before death – prelim report

The US National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has released its preliminary report into the Tesla crash that killed Joshua Brown, a 40-year-old Ohio man who was using the car's Autopilot function at the time of his death. Brown was driving down US Highway 27A in Florida when a truck hauling a 53-foot trailer packed with …
Iain Thomson, 28 Jul 2016

Pokemon GO-ZILLA: Safety fears after monsters appear in Fukushima danger zone

Japan's Tokyo Electric Power Co is upset that Pokemon Go players on the hunt for monsters are being lured into the Fukushima Nuclear Exclusion Zone. The fictional creatures were apparently spotted close to the destroyed Daiichi nuclear reactors by Tepco officials. The presence of the collectible cyber-animals could tempt …
Shaun Nichols, 27 Jul 2016

White House to bung electric car industry $4.5bn in loans

The White House has said the US federal government will underwrite loans totaling $4.5bn to expand the use of electric cars. But before you go rushing to Elon Musk asking for a set of Falcon doors, note that it is only for building out charging infrastructure. The Department of Energy has expanded its existing loan program to …
Kieren McCarthy, 22 Jul 2016
Twilight Zone, 'Time Enough At Last'

Free Windows 10 upgrade: Time is running out – should you do it?

Microsoft's free Windows 10 upgrade offer runs out this Friday, 29 July 2016, one year after the initial release, and a few days before the Anniversary Update. "This is more than a one-time upgrade: once a Windows device is upgraded to Windows 10, we will continue to keep it current for the supported lifetime of the device – …
Tim Anderson, 22 Jul 2016

She wants it. She needs it. Shall I give it to her or keep doing it by myself?

Something for the Weekend, Sir? “Give it to me pleeeese!” she begs, staring longingly into my eyes. “I’m desperate and will do anything.” It’s 5:30am and we are the only people in the office. I stutter that I’m not at liberty to satisfy her demands right there and then. It’s too early for me. Could she wait a while? She takes a step towards me and begins …
Alistair Dabbs, 22 Jul 2016
VirtualBox 5

VirtualBox 5.1 debuts

Well that was quick. Mere days after announcing a release candidate, Oracle has emitted VirtualBox 5.1 Big Red reckons the following new features are worth getting excited about: Improved Performance: Significantly improved performance for multi-CPU virtual machines and networking. Bug Reporting Tool: New utility able to …
Simon Sharwood, 14 Jul 2016
CSIRO Parkes Radio Telescope

SAP squashes clickjack bugs

SAP has released patches to fix 36 vulnerabilities, most of them (24) involving clickjacking. Tuesday’s patch update also contains fixes for several dangerous vulnerabilities, according to security specialists ERPScan. One particularly noteworthy flaw affects a utility industry-specific module. A separate code injection …
John Leyden, 13 Jul 2016
Gunther Oettinger, EU digital commissioner. Photo by Shutterstock - must mark as editorial use only

EU operators’ 5G manifesto misses the point

Never before have events coincided so neatly to demonstrate the gap between mobile operators’ thinking about 5G, and how future networks will really be deployed for disruptive effect. While Europe’s leading MNOs were presenting a backwards-looking "5G Manifesto" to the European Commission, veiling pleas for net neutrality …
Wireless Watch, 13 Jul 2016
Bad tech buyers

This local council paid HOW MUCH for an SD card?!

An unnamed local council has entered the hall of shame for making the most eye-watering tech purchase of 2015 - coughing up a 1095 per cent margin on an SD memory card. This is according to the annual poll of 200 procurement heads from 24 industries by pricing bench markers KnowledgeBus, which found average margins paid had …
Paul Kunert, 29 Jun 2016

Visiting America? US border agents want your Twitter, Facebook URLs

The US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agency wants to collect links to social network accounts of people visiting the Land of the FreeTM. Under new proposals, each traveler filling out an I-94 travel form or applying for an Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) visa will be asked for "information associated …
Iain Thomson, 27 Jun 2016
Ross Bridge in Chattanooga TN

Chattanooga mayor credits muni broadband with aiding city's revival

The mayor of Chattanooga, Tennessee, is crediting the city's recent economic surge to a decision to defy national ISPs and build its own broadband network. Speaking at an event in his city hosted by the Fiber to the Home Council, Mayor Andy Berke said that over the last three years, unemployment in Chattanooga has fallen from …
Shaun Nichols, 20 Jun 2016

Microsoft planning blockchain-as-a-service for Azure apps

Microsoft might not be keen on Bitcoin, but it's cock-a-hoop about the backend blockchain the currency uses and has given the first details of Project Bletchley, a plan to add the tech into Azure services via some new middleware. "Project Bletchley is a vision for Microsoft to deliver Blockchain-as-a-Service (BaaS) that is …
Iain Thomson, 16 Jun 2016

Net neutrality victory: DC court backs full rules

Analysis Net neutrality rules that make it illegal for ISPs to interfere with data traffic across their networks have been upheld in full by the Washington DC Court of Appeals. The split decision (2-1 in favor) is a big victory, both for the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and the Obama Administration, and a dramatic sign that …
Kieren McCarthy, 14 Jun 2016
Australia map and flag pwned theme

AWS blames 'latent bug' for prolonging Sydney EC2 outage

Amazon Web Services has explained the extended outage its Sydney services suffered last weekend, attributing downtime to a combination of power problems and a “latent bug in our instance management software”. Sydney recorded over 150mm of rain on last weekend. On Sunday the 5th the city copped 93 mm alone, plus winds gusting …
Darren Pauli, 09 Jun 2016

Belgian brewery lays 3.2km beer pipeline

Bruges brewery De Halve Maan (The Half Moon) is about to open the valves on a €4m beer pipeline designed to carry vital supplies the 3.2km from its city centre production facility to its bottling plant. The subterranean ale conduit was the brainchild of De Halve Maan's head honcho Xavier Vanneste, who wanted a solution to the …
Lester Haines, 06 Jun 2016

Smart meter gag orders lifted

A court in Seattle, Washington, has thrown out a restraining order preventing activists from sharing public documents about the city's smart meter systems. The EFF says the King County court has agreed to strike both the restraining order and the injunction barring investigations site MuckRock from posting documents detailing …
Shaun Nichols, 03 Jun 2016

Air-gapping SCADA systems won't help you, says man who knows

Hoping to keep industrial control systems out of reach of hackers by keeping them air-gapped is a hopeless mission that’s bound for failure, according to a SCADA guru. Isolating SCADA systems as a means of protection has been suggested by some as a defensive tactic after hackers briefly took out elements of the power grid in …
John Leyden, 03 Jun 2016

As US court bans smart meter blueprints from public, sysadmin tells of fight for security info

The sysadmin-activist at the center of a bizarre legal battle over a smart meter network in Seattle, Washington, says he never expected a simple records request to turn into a lawsuit. Phil Mocek told The Register that when he asked Seattle City Light, a public power utility, to provide details on the designs and rollout of …
Shaun Nichols, 27 May 2016

The Windows Phone story: From hope to dusty abandonware

Special Report We stroll down Memory Lane and ask: was this The Ultimate Curse of Fry? Spring cleaning the other day, my wife found a Windows wristband. It was in a box where ten year old 4MB MMC cards went to die, along with paperclips, odd screws and a lot of dust. Keep or chuck? Chuck, I said, before looking closer, and realising that it …
Andrew Orlowski, 27 May 2016
Seattle skyline

Seattle Suehawks: Smart meter hush-up launched because, er ... terrorism

Smart meter makers are battling to keep Seattle's power grid designs under wraps – claiming that if the details are made public, they could be exploited by hackers to plunge the US city into darkness. Sysadmin-activist Phil Mocek requested documents from the city on its smart meter system under the Washington Public Records …
Shaun Nichols, 25 May 2016

Apple: Another bug fix. Er, thanks, GCHQ

GCHQ’s CESG (Communications-Electronics Security Group) assurance arm was behind the report of an OS X bug to Apple that the consumer electronics giant patched last week. The UK’s signals intelligence is perhaps better known in security circles for finding and exploiting software vulnerabilities in order to spy on foreign …
John Leyden, 23 May 2016
Bug eating an apple

Apple posts patches

Apple has issued a handful of security updates for Safari, OS X, iOS, watchOS and tvOS. The security updates include patches for several flaws in WebKit, the browser engine Apple uses as the basis for Safari, iOS and tvOS. Those flaws included remote code execution and data disclosure vulnerabilities. Other patched components …
Shaun Nichols, 16 May 2016

Gartner waves for everyone to join its hyper-converged bandwagon

Comment Gartner is telling its enterprise IT followers that hyper-converged systems are okay to use, and set to develop into composable micro-services infrastructures by 2020. The report, entitled, "Prepare for the Next Phase of Hyperconvergence," defines a hyper-converhed infrastructure system (HCIS) as a platform offering shared …
Chris Mellor, 10 May 2016
Puzzled man displays his palms in the classic physical pose that tells other people you do not know something or are asking a question. Photo by Shutterstock

What is Hybrid Infrastructure? Glad you asked...

As part of its recent split, Hewlett Packard Enterprise announced "four areas of transformation", among them the buzzword-heavy "hybrid infrastructure". But what exactly is hybrid infrastructure? Each company seems to have a different idea of what it could mean. What does HPE mean when they say “hybrid infrastructure”? How …
Trevor Pott, 09 May 2016
Blackmail

Ransomware grifters offer to donate proceeds of crime to charity

Ransomware crooks are offering to donate ransom fees to a children's charity. Security experts dismiss the promise as “psychological manipulation” from unscrupulous crooks. The offer comes from the “kind hearted” slingers of "CryptMix", one of a growing number of crypto-ransomware strains menacing Windows users worldwide. …
John Leyden, 06 May 2016
Cthulu emerges from a printer. Image created by illustrator Andy Davies. Copyright: The Register

You can always rely on the Ancient Ones to cock things up

Something for the Weekend, Sir? We have installed a water feature in Dabbs Mansions. It’s an impressive vertical fountain with a splash radius of two metres. In hindsight, it was probably a mistake to install it in the utility room. To be honest, I don’t even remember ordering it. The first I knew about the whole thing was returning home after an hour and a …
Alistair Dabbs, 06 May 2016
image byemo http://www.shutterstock.com/gallery-2659924p1.html

Daisy-chained research spells malware worm hell for power plants and other utilities

BlackHat Asia A world-first proof-of-concept worm - if unleashed - could spell disaster for the world’s critical infrastructure, including power utilities by making attacks exponentially more difficult to detect and stop. It is a stand-alone attack but The Register has confirmed a realistic stealthy end-to-end attack scenario can be …
Darren Pauli, 05 May 2016
Kalinin Nuclear power plant

Opower, my power: Oracle spends $532m to get some utilities cloud, er, power

Oracle has announced it will acquire Opower in a $532m deal to close by the end of 2016. Virginia-based Opower, which stores and analyses more than 600 billion meter reads from 60 million utility end-customers, is a public company. Its shares were up 29 per cent in pre-market trading on Monday after Oracle declared it would …

Michigan electricity utility downed by ransomware attack

A water and electricity authority in the US State of Michigan has needed a week to recover from a ransomware attack that fortunately only hit its enterprise systems. Lansing's BWL – Board of Water & Light – first noticed the successful phishing attack on its corporate systems on April 25, and has had to keep systems including …
GHOST vulnerability

Hipster hackers cook up 'artisan' Squiblydoo attack

Hackers have figured out how to bypass application whitelisting software by utilising tools that are built into Windows by default. Squiblydoo allows a user with normal privileges to download and execute a script hosted on a remote server. All of this is done with signed Microsoft binaries that are installed with the operating …
John Leyden, 29 Apr 2016

Adware from French runs away and hides on 12M machines

Cisco's Warren Mercer and Matthew Molyett are warning that software downloaded from sites run by French firm Tuto4PC likely included trojan backdoors. The Borg's security arm, Talos, thinks some 12 million machines have been infected. The malware-bloated software quietly downloads trash dubbed Wizz, which can steal personal …
Darren Pauli, 28 Apr 2016

The Internet of Things edges toward a practical reality

There are countless problems with making the so-called "internet of things" (IoT) a pragmatic reality: hardware, software and standards to name the big three. But this week at the Samsung Developer Conference in San Francisco, at least two of them have started to find solutions. During one of its exec's main keynotes, Samsung …
Kieren McCarthy, 27 Apr 2016
Penguin wedding cake, image via Shutterstock

A perfect marriage: YOU and Ubuntu 16.04

Before I dive into what's new in Ubuntu 16.04, it's worth pausing to reflect on what's missing: Scopes online search, now off by default. That means no more potentially socially awkward search results when all you really wanted was to open Brasero (speaking of which, Brasero is gone too). Scopes, introduced four years ago, …

Carders cash out hundreds of millions before USA adopts EMV

A hacker group has stolen some 10 million credit cards, putting itself in a position to score US$400 million (£279 million, A$516 million) by infecting 2000 payment terminals with the Trinity point of sales malware. Security firm FireEye and subsidiaries iSIGHT Partners and Mandiant examined the "Fin6" group last year after it …
Darren Pauli, 22 Apr 2016

Ex-NSA security expert develops generic Mac ransomware blocker

An Apple security expert has developed a free-of-charge standalone ransomware defense tool for OS X. Patrick Wardle, a former NSA staffer who now heads up research at crowdsourced security intelligence firm Synack, has built RansomWhere?, a generic ransomware detector. The utility works by suspending untrusted processes that …
John Leyden, 20 Apr 2016
Cloudy sky

Redmond turns to Linux AGAIN for Azure data science primer

Microsoft has taken a data science bundle it crafted last November and put it onto an Azure-hosted Linux VM. The combo, announced at Microsoft's Cortana blog, takes CentOS 7.2, runs it up as an Azure virtual machine image, and packages it with a slew of data science tools. Microsoft had already run up a Windows Server 2012- …
Aries

Facebook open-sources city-wide WiGig internet comms, phone masts

Facebook's quest to connect the remaining four billion people on the planet without internet access up to Facebook the web is a huge task. On Thursday, Facebook showed off its open-source telecommunications tech that it hopes will get unconnected folks connected, and give those of us already on the internet a smoother ride. …
Iain Thomson, 14 Apr 2016

HTC 10: Flagship goes full Google – but the hardware's top notch

Hands On HTC has unwrapped its make-or-break flagship for 2016, the Ten, and we’ve had a look. The successor to the hit M8 and flop M9 features much-improved cameras front and back, sports a close-to-stock implementation of Android, and packs one major surprise... it’s the first non-Apple phone to license Apple’s AirPlay. TVs and …
Andrew Orlowski, 12 Apr 2016
Ubuntu on Windows, complete with Vi editor

Windows 10 with Ubuntu now in public preview

Microsoft's latest "Insider" Windows 10 preview Build 14316, includes the Windows Subsystem for Linux along with a flurry of other new features. The addition of a Linux command-line to Windows was announced at Microsoft's Build conference last week. The feature is aimed at developers, allowing them to use Linux utilities …
Tim Anderson, 07 Apr 2016
Water Treatment Centre pipe sluices off water. Photo by Joe Jungmann, released into the public domain

Water treatment plant hacked, chemical mix changed for tap supplies

Hackers infiltrated a water utility’s control system and changed the levels of chemicals being used to treat tap water, we're told. The cyber-attack is documented in this month’s IT security breach report (available here, registration required) from Verizon Security Solutions. The utility in question is referred to using a …
John Leyden, 24 Mar 2016
Photo by Michael Vadon

Apple stuns world with Donald Trump iPhone

Shy and modest Apple today unveiled a pair of small iPhones and iPads for people with itty-bitty hands. The Cupertino slinger of iStuffs summoned hacks to a brief hour-long conference in California to unveil the four-inch iPhone SE handset as well as a 9.7-inch iPad Pro slab. Both are powered by the now-available iOS 9.3 …
Shaun Nichols, 21 Mar 2016
Attack film poster

Attack! Run. WTF? A decade of enterprise class fear and uncertainty with AWS

Ten years ago, Oracle was mid-snack, taking a break between swallowing PeopleSoft for $10bn and Sun Microsystems for $8.5bn. Microsoft had settled a long-running feud with Sun over something petty involving Java for $20m and had begun designing its vision of how the internet should be programmed with its new BFF, IBM. …
Gavin Clarke, 17 Mar 2016
Chattanooga

Plucky cable billionaires defeat menace of small-town broadband

The city of Chattanooga in Tennessee has been told it cannot expand its broadband service to other counties. The state's legislature has effectively canned a bill that would have allowed Chattanooga's municipal broadband service into neighboring Hamilton and Bradley counties. According to the Chattanooga Times Free Press, the …
Shaun Nichols, 16 Mar 2016

Microsoft Surface Book: Shiny slab with a Rottweiler grip on itself

Review I've always wondered what people who pay more than £2,000 for a Windows laptop are thinking when they boot the machine. It's a bit like paying a fortune to gain admission to a secret and exclusive members club, only to discover once you're in, that it's run by the bloke who does the pub quiz on a Tuesday night at your local …
Andrew Orlowski, 16 Mar 2016
Wall of Spam. Pic: freezelight

State should run power firm spam database, says... competition watchdog

The UK’s competition regulator wants to see a new database of utility customers set up so they can be bombarded with “targeted marketing”. The Competition and Markets Authority wants the personal data of energy customers who fail to switch from the default tariff for three years – what the CMA calls “Disengaged Domestic …
Andrew Orlowski, 10 Mar 2016

BlackEnergy malware activity spiked in runup to Ukraine power grid takedown

Fresh research has shed new light on the devious and unprecedented cyber-attack against Ukraine's power grid in December 2015. A former intelligence analyst has warned that launching similar attacks is within the capabilities of criminals, or perhaps even hacktivist groups, since most of the key components are readily …
John Leyden, 04 Mar 2016
Dollar in pocket, photo via Shutterstock

Dwolla dwamned for destroywing defwences: $100k fine for insecurity

Updated US payment processor Dwolla has been slapped with a US$100,000 fine for wrongly claiming it was super secure. In fact, its staff were left with so little training that in an IT penetration test in 2012, nearly half of them opened a phishing email, 62 per cent of those opened the link it contained, and 25 per cent of employees …