Articles about engineering

Phishing fraudsters pose as UK bank social media types

Cybercrooks are posing as customer support staff from UK banks in a ruse designed to hoodwink gullible customers out of their credentials. The social media phasing scam relies on the creation of bogus Twitter profiles, such as @BarclaysHelpUK (real example, now suspended). Customers are already expecting a response from a …
John Leyden, 27 Oct 2016
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Cloudian passes begging bowl round VCs to net $41m for object storage dev pool

Cloudian, the S3-or-bust object storage software startup, has passed a VC begging bowl around and raised $41m in a D-round of funding. Total funding is now, Cloudian says, $79m, and the cash is going to be used for software engineering, expanding sales and marketing, and building out its international operations. The funding …
Chris Mellor, 27 Oct 2016
A dog wearing glasses, on a park bench reading the news paper

Middle East hackers exposed

A hacking group is running a wide ranging cyber-espionage campaign against targets in the Middle East. Security firm Vectra Networks says it has identified over 200 samples of malware generated by the group over the last two years. The assaults are not technically sophisticated but nonetheless tricksy in their use of social …
John Leyden, 26 Oct 2016
Hannibal Lector wearing mask

The IoT market will grow through cannibalisation, says Tech Mahindra

IoT World Congress What does the Internet of Things actually mean for business? "If a customer is spending $10m on maintenance, I say, 'Give us $8m and... I will bring you better availability of your equipment'," a confident Karthikeyan Natarajan of Tech Mahindra told The Register yesterday. Natarajan, the Indian firm’s veep for integrated …
Gareth Corfield, 26 Oct 2016

Low-power transistors hint at alternative to battery bonfires

Since 1965, transistors have followed a path predicted by Gordon Moore, becoming more densely packed year after year. The result has been a steady improvement in CPU performance. Batteries, however, haven't advanced at the same pace. As Fred Schlachter, a physicist at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, put it in a 2013 …
Thomas Claburn, 25 Oct 2016

ARM: Hold my beer, we'll install patches for your crappy IoT gear for you

ARM TechCon Processor designer ARM will squirt security fixes directly into internet-connected gadgets to hopefully keep them defended from hackers. Manufacturers of Internet-of-Things gizmos and other embedded products have complained that updating gear in the field is too much hard work. That means devices are rarely patched when …
Chris Williams, 25 Oct 2016
Cast of '90s show ER, from L to R: Julianna Margulies, Eriq La Salle, George Clooney, Anthony Edwards, Sherry Stringfield and Noah Wyle. Credits, images, characters and others all belong to Constant c Productions, NBC Universal, Amblin Television and Warner Bros. Television.

Paging 1994: Crap encryption still rife in devices

Pager communications in industrial environments often run over unencrypted channels, creating a hacker risk in the process. Industries such as energy, manufacturing, and transportation still make extensive use of pager technologies that have been superseded in other sectors of the economy. Researchers at Trend Micro warn that …
John Leyden, 25 Oct 2016
Traditional lattice pylons in the UK countryside

Existing security standards are fine for IoT gizmos in electrical grids

IoT World Congress Putting Internet of Things sensors into electricity distribution grids works just fine - and security is catered for by existing broad standards, Luc Hossenlopp, CTO of Schneider Electric’s energy division, told the Internet of Things World Congress today. Addressing a packed auditorium at the Fira de Barcelona conference …
Gareth Corfield, 25 Oct 2016
Millennials snap pics of their food with smartphones for Facebook/Twitter/instagram. Photo by shutterstock

Microsoft: Watch out millennials for evil Security Essentials

Microsoft is warning of fake copies of its Security Essentials that if executed will throw a fake blue screen of death, pwn machines, and lead users to technical support scams. Redmond regards the threat dubbed Hicurdismos as a severe threat which compromises PCs typically through bundled software installers and drive-by- …
Darren Pauli, 25 Oct 2016
Heartbeat graph

Pacemaker maker St Jude faces new security flaw claims from biz short-selling its stock

Security startup MedSec and the financial house backing the biz have published new allegations of security flaws in pacemakers and defibrillators built by St Jude Medical – and again look set to profit from the disclosures in an unorthodox way. In four swish videos, the MedSec team claims it exploited a debugging backdoor in …
Iain Thomson, 22 Oct 2016
Sanjay Mirchandani at PuppetConf 2016

Puppet shows its hand: All your software is belong to us

Special report In an episode of Seinfeld from 1996, George is shocked when he discovers his former boss, Mr Wilhelm, has joined a cult, the Sunshine Carpet Cleaners. “Most of the world is carpeted,” Wilhelm intones, vacuum in hand. “And one day, we will do the cleaning.” In sunny San Diego, California, on Thursday, executives from Puppet, …
Thomas Claburn, 21 Oct 2016
Ada Lovelace

Despite best efforts, fewer and fewer women are working in tech

Women are still losing ground in the computer science and IT fields, despite corporate pledges to improve gender diversity in their ranks. This according to research carried out by Accenture and Girls Who Code, which found the overall percentage of women in computing jobs is set to decline in the coming years from 24 to 20 per …
Shaun Nichols, 20 Oct 2016

Uni students float into Hyperloop finals with levitating prototype

A team of students from the University of Cincinnati has passed through to the final round of Elon Musk's Hyperloop challenge by demonstrating the magnetic levitation of hover engines. A loud whirring sound was emitted on October 17 as the 14-foot-long Hyperloop prototype floated above the ground by a quarter of an inch. The …
Katyanna Quach, 20 Oct 2016
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Will rush for New Radio compromise 5G quality?

Analysis The US operators have ended their long love affair with sub-1 GHz spectrum, which was so important to their LTE coverage roll-outs, and are leading the world in harnessing high frequency bands to address the challenge of the expected capacity demands of the 5G era. While regulators and operators in some areas – many in Europe …
Wireless Watch, 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

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 …

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
A view from Babbage's eye-mounted Picam

Malwarebytes eats upstart

Anti-malware biz Malwarebytes has acquired French anti-adware startup AdwCleaner. AdwCleaner, which boasts 200 million downloads, was founded in 2011 by three 17-year-old French students. Its technology offers protection against potentially unwanted programs (PUPs). Jérôme Boursier and Corentin Chepeau – two of AdwCleaner’s …
John Leyden, 19 Oct 2016
Morgan Stanley

SimpliVity sheds staff, rattles tin for another $100m from investors

+Comment Hyper-converged infrastructure appliance vendor SimpliVity is working with Morgan Stanley to get more private funding and to launch an IPO possibly in 2017. It has also laid people off. SimpliVity has been making cuts while looking for $100m in extra cash, a source familiar with the matter has told The Register. We have seen …
Chris Mellor, 19 Oct 2016
IBM Selectric Golfball

Mozilla strangling SHA-1

One does not simply turn off a once-ubiquitous part of the Internet's infrastructure, but Mozilla's taken another step towards eliminating the SHA-1 hash. Its latest move in the incremental deprecation of the long-since-cracked SHA-1 is outlined here. Early next year, any time Firefox sees an SHA-1 certificate chaining to a …
polygonal canary

Google's crash canaries' muted chirping led to load balancer brownout

Google has revealed that it broke its own cloud again, this time because of two failures: a software error and alerts that proved too hard to interpret. The problem hit Google's cloudy load balancers on Thursday, October 13, causing them to produce HTTP 502 (Bad Gateway) responses. At first, two per cent reported the problem. …
Simon Sharwood, 19 Oct 2016
An angry woman steaming from the ears

Microsoft tries, fails to crush 'gender bias' lawsuit brought by its own women engineers

Microsoft has failed in a bid to shoot down a lawsuit alleging that its employee rating system was biased against women. A US district court in Washington has tossed out [PDF] the Redmond giant's motion to dismiss a complaint lobbed at it by three women engineers, who allege the system for evaluating engineering and technical …
Shaun Nichols, 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
Plate spinning routine by Henrik Bothe

Putting Continuous Delivery to work in the enterprise

Promo Definition: Continuous delivery (CD) is a software engineering approach in which teams produce software in short cycles, ensuring that the software can be reliably released at any time.[1] It aims at building, testing, and releasing software faster and more frequently. The approach helps reduce the cost, time, and risk of …
David Gordon, 18 Oct 2016

Store flaw? Naw! The hyper-converged vendor and the 'bug'-bash

Comment A UK consultant claims he had such a poor experience with Maxta's hyper-converged infrastructure software that he asked for his firm's money back. But the vendor has told a very different story. Nick Chapman is the managing director and principal consultant at CloudFlux, which was founded in the UK in 2016 to provide …
Chris Mellor, 18 Oct 2016
Hot and Cold glyph

Freeze on refrigerants heats up search for replacements

The world has agreed to begin phasing out hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), whose greenhouse effect is 10,000 as strong as carbon dioxide. Nearly a year after the 197 signatories to the Montreal Protocol started work on an agreement covering HFCs, 170 countries have cut a binding accord to farewell the gases. HFCs turn up in …

US reactor breaks fusion record – then runs out of cash and shuts down

Video In a tale that tells you all you need to know about the parlous state of American science, a fusion reactor has broken plasma-handling records in the last few days before losing its funding. The Alcator C-Mod tokamak nuclear fusion reactor, run for the past 23 years by MIT's Plasma Science and Fusion Center, managed to contain …
Iain Thomson, 17 Oct 2016

DIY storage startup: Tech, check. Techies, check... Er, credibility?

Part Four You need customers, but credibility too. One begets the other. But which comes first? We are now in the final, challenging chapter of early start up mode: of getting paying customers and leveraging them to your advantage in the world to gain more. As Tech 3.0 launches the dance for the B round starts. Everything here depends …
Trevor Pott, 17 Oct 2016
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Cisco's cloud whisperer CTO Zorawar Biri Singh blows free

Cloud whisperer-turned-venture capital influencer Zorawar Biri Singh has floated free of Cisco Systems. The roving entrepreneur who turns corporate heads was brought in as Cisco's chief technology officer for platforms in July 2015. Singh was member of incoming chief executive Chuck Robbins’ new team and arrived as the former …
Gavin Clarke, 14 Oct 2016

Wi-Fi baby heart monitor may have the worst IoT security of 2016

Not long ago, top computer security researcher Jonathan Zdziarski was blessed with a new baby and did what a lot of parents do – spent money on gizmos to keep an eye on it. One of the devices was an Owlet – a sensor that babies wear in a sock that monitors their heartbeat and relays that data wirelessly to a nearby hub. This …
Iain Thomson, 13 Oct 2016
League of gentlemen poster - Tubbs and Edward at the local shop. Copyright BBC

British jobs for British people: UK tech rejects PM May’s nativist hiring agenda

Comment “If you believe you’re a citizen of the world, you’re a citizen of nowhere. You don’t understand what the very word ‘citizenship’ means." So British Prime Minister Theresa May told her party’s conference last week. Home secretary Amber Rudd laid out plans at the conference to make it harder for British employers to hire …
Gavin Clarke, 13 Oct 2016

Hypernormalisation: Adam Curtis on chatbots, AI and Colonel Gaddafi

Interview Hypernormalisation, the new film by English documentary-maker Adam Curtis, dives deeper into technology than any of his previous films for the BBC. It goes up on the Beeb's iPlayer on Sunday (at 9pm in the UK) and “it’s a bit of a monster”, he admits. The film is pushing three hours long. I had to watch it over two nights – a …
Andrew Orlowski, 13 Oct 2016

Dell EMC World tease: What does 'composable' mean to you, readers?

Analysis A symphony of manageable and composable stuff is coming to Dell World next week; that's if EMC Converged Systems president Chad Sakac's hints are to be believed. Writing in his Virtual Geek blog guise, Sakac says: "At Dell EMC World in a week – we will unleash the next volley in our ongoing journey to total HCI market …
Chris Mellor, 13 Oct 2016

Mercedes answers autonomous car moral dilemma: Yeah, we'll just run over pedestrians

It is a question that has grown in urgency since the prospect of truly autonomous cars became a close reality: what does a computer-driven car do when faced with a crash? With decisions likely to be made by algorithms in milliseconds, there will likely need to be a moral component pulled into systems: should a car protect its …
Kieren McCarthy, 12 Oct 2016
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Red Hat tosses Ansible Galaxy into the open source gale

Red Hat has open sourced its code repository for Ansible to run DevOps. The Linux flinger has released to GitHub its Galaxy code repository for Ansible. Now it is an open source project you can create your own Galaxy servers, while Galaxy stands to benefit from new features and enhancements that flow in. Tim Cramer, head of …
Gavin Clarke, 12 Oct 2016
Android Nougat

Google sets the date for first sniff at Android 7.1

Developers can get their hands on Android 7.1 by the end of the month, Google has said. And almost all Nexus owners will have it implanted in their gadgets by the end of the year, albeit with some reservations. The next chewy chunk of Nougat includes support for better storage management and telephony software, App shortcut …
Iain Thomson, 12 Oct 2016
cyanogen mobes

Cyanogen mods self away from full Android alternative

Android alternative Cyanogen looks to have given up on trying to sell a full mobile operating system. The shine has gone off the outfit of late, and in July, it reportedly axed 30 staffers. While there's a core of users who stick with the CyanogenMod code that's the genesis of the company, mobe-makers taking Cyanogen licenses …
Radbot teaser image by Damon Hart-Davis

Adventures in (re) naming your business: Fire up the 4-syllable random name generator

Radbot Our goal as a company is to get hundreds of millions of our smart devices out there, in the hands of Joe Public. Saving money and carbon, and mental energy for the things in life that normal people actually care about. But, as I’m learning, we can't do it all at once: "A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step" …

Command line coffee machine: Hacker shuns app so he can stay at the keyboard for longer

Zimperium researcher Simone Margaritelli has hacked his coffee machine finding a way to brew coffee using the command line. Margaritelli (@evilsocket) says he reverse engineered the app used to control the Smarter AM coffee machine. It means hackers can choose to ignore apps when they need a coffee and instead stumble over to …
Darren Pauli, 10 Oct 2016

Fujitsu Tech Products boss channels his inner Sid Vicious

If the rhetoric from the latest chief straddling Fujitsu’s UK Technology Product Group (TPG) sounds familiar, it’s because it is. James Johnston quietly took over from Tom Roche two months ago but his change of role was not the only move at TPG; more recently, sales director Kevin Matthew jumped ship, perhaps before he was …
Paul Kunert, 07 Oct 2016

Four reasons Pixel turns flagship Android mobe makers into roadkill

Comment This year’s “Google phones” – now rebranded as Pixel – are just the latest step in Google seizing control of Android – and the biggest so far. If this process is like cooking the proverbial frog, then Google just turned up the heat so quickly, the OEMs cannot help but notice. “There's more and more resemblance to Microsoft in …
Andrew Orlowski, 07 Oct 2016

Commvault and pals should score when tape-ditching stampede arrives - analyst

Commvault’s data protection and management software has been enhanced and is going to support HyperFlex, Cisco’s hyper-converged infrastructure appliance built with OEM’d Springpath software. CommVault Data Platform product news includes: Expanded capabilities for Amazon Web Services (AWS) beyond virtual machines to include …
Chris Mellor, 06 Oct 2016
Office 365, photo by dennizn via Shutterstock

Securing Office 365? There's always more you can do

Wherever you look there's yet another SME or enterprise migrating to Office 365. This says a lot for the attractiveness of cloud-based office suites, and perhaps it also says something about the attractiveness of letting someone else look after one's SharePoint and Exchange servers rather than having to fight with their …
Dave Cartwright, 06 Oct 2016

Is Apple's software getting worse or what?

Comment For over a year, Apple's software has been the subject of more derision than might be expected for a company of its size. Developer Marco Arment took Apple to task early last year, arguing that OS X (recently rebranded macOS) is full of embarrassing bugs and that the company is trying to do too much on unrealistic deadlines. …
Thomas Claburn, 05 Oct 2016

Google says it would have a two-word answer for Feds seeking Yahoo!-style email backdoor

Since word spread that Yahoo! backdoored its own email servers for US intelligence services, we've heard from rival webmail providers denying they have put in place similar arrangements. That Yahoo! has a cosy relationship with the Feds is not surprising, especially given what we know about PRISM and Section 702 of the Foreign …
Iain Thomson, 05 Oct 2016

After baffling Falcon 9 rocket explosion, SpaceX screams: Hands off our probe!

The quest to discover exactly why a SpaceX rocket exploded on the pad last month is getting complicated – with politicians fighting over who will control the investigation. On Thursday, a group of ten Republican congresscritters sent a letter [PDF] to NASA administrator Charles Boden, Federal Aviation Administration boss …
Iain Thomson, 04 Oct 2016
HMS Vengeance returns to HMNB Clyde. Crown copyright

UK will build new nuclear bomb subs, says Defence Secretary

The United Kingdom is to get a new fleet of nuclear-powered submarines to deter Soviet President Putin from invading West Germany, the Defence Secretary announced on Saturday. While Sir Michael Fallon didn't quite say that, what he did say was this: Britain’s ballistic missile submarines are the ultimate guarantee of our …
Gareth Corfield, 04 Oct 2016

@WalmartLabs applies Electrode to get current with web dev

@WalmartLabs – which practices deviant punctuation and develops software for the retail giant that bears its name – on Monday released Electrode, an open-source platform for building universal React/Node.js applications. now runs on Electrode, at least in part. Since January, @WalmartLabs has been helping Walmart. …
Thomas Claburn, 04 Oct 2016
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Nutanix, yesssss: Fist-pumping breaks out everywhere storage IPO wannabes are found

Comment There’ll be a spring in the executive offices of Cohesity, Rubrik, Tegile and other storage startups this morning; senior managers will have checked Nutanix’s share price and have that rosy glow that comes when your prospects have suddenly brightened. Hyper-converged market leader Nutanix IPO’d on Friday and, so far, it has …
Chris Mellor, 03 Oct 2016

Firefox to doctor Pepper so it can run Chrome's PDF, Flash plugins

Mozilla is investigating hooking up Google Chrome's builtin plugins to Firefox. The foundation's Project Mortar hopes to spare its developers from building and improving non-core components of Firefox by instead providing the same software interfaces that Chromium, the open-source engine of Chrome, provides. That will allow …
Shaun Nichols, 01 Oct 2016