Episode 17 Episode 17
Crypto toolbox, Part II In the first article in this two-parter on building your own crypto toolbox I covered older tools that have been around for a relatively long time now: Truecrypt and OpenPGP. Here, I will go in a different direction and look at ways of protecting instant messaging, general web-browsing, and how to trust the operating system where we run these tools.
The “landmark agreement” between the government and the mobile phone operators has been reported as a coup, something worthy, and a step forward. However, scratch the surface and it’s merely a face-saving exercise.
Security vulnerabilities in the SS7 phone-call routing protocol that allow mobile call and text message tracking will be revealed this weekend.
We're now well into the season of festive excess, and doubtless readers will already be sustaining a severe pummelling to livers and credit cards in equal measure.
Using toys to re-enact beloved movies is pretty much one of every nerdy kid's favorite playtime activities and Lego makes this easy, by providing minifigs of many of celluloid's leading characters. It's safe to say I had far more fun with my Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Lego down the pub than I did watching Michael Bay's film.
Aiming to compete more strongly with Sonos, LG Electronics is updating its streaming Wi-Fi loudspeaker/music-player product line with something that Sonos users have (so far fruitlessly) requested; a portable, battery-powered job.
Australian telecommunications companies and internet service providers were given until January 9th, 2015 to offer an estimate of what it will cost them to comply with data retention laws, and appear to have been told of that deadline on Christmas Eve.
TV Review Readers please note: THIS IS A POST-UK-BROADCAST REVIEW – THERE WILL BE SPOILERS!
We love our gadgets and phones and suchlike. Gadgets can also make great gifts, so long as you get the "right one".
Product Roundup It's fairly well accepted that events and things from our past help to make us the twisted, misanthropic people we are today. Or perhaps that's just Team Register. It being the season of festive excess, we wondered if there were perhaps some geeky gifts that, as a kid, helped you explore science, tech, and similar areas, and turned you into the dashing, sophisticated reader of IT news that you are today.
Japan's Au mobile network has launched a transparent-cased Firefox OS phone, in an unusual move for the free software community into an already well-established market.
A California judge has turned down Facebook's motion to dismiss a class-action suit against the company from users who are aggrieved that the social network was truffling through their private messages for advertising purposes.
In a shining example of how high culture* will always defeat the jackboot tactics of oppressive states like North Korea, the Seth Rogen/James Franco film The Interview is now available for viewing via multiple online streaming services.
Buyers of select Samsung Smart TVs in the first half of 2015 will be able to play Sony PlayStation games without buying a separate console.
The Irish government today supported Microsoft in its ongoing fight against US prosecutors – who appear to want access to server hard drives anywhere in the world.
The controversial internet governance group NetMundial has rejected calls to delay the creation of its "coordination council" – and launched without the support of the technical community nor the International Chamber of Commerce.
Worstall on Wednesday The lads over at Business Insider seem to be getting a little over-excited about Xiaomi's latest fund raising exercise, claiming in their headline that it's the Apple of China. Well, no, not really, Apple is the Apple of China. Making cute kit and selling it in volume isn't the definitive point about Apple itself so a company that does merely that doesn't an Apple make.
Antique Code Show Given the choice, which 80s videogame star would you choose to have a friendly seasonal pint and chin-wag with? Pacman’s obviously got a personality defect, Mario’s breath probably stinks, and that bloke from Jet Set Willy is no doubt a pervert. But Q*bert? Well he’s one interesting individual – full of mumbled swear-word utterances, true, but also brimming with interesting tales born out of the constraints of that era’s technology. Just ignore the fact that he drinks through his nose.
Microsoft has revealed more information on its plans for Office on mobile devices: iOS, Android and Windows phones and tablets.
Register Events If you’re at all concerned that the UK is falling behind in the race to space, Dr Geraint Jones’ Reg Christmas Lecture should put your mind at ease.
NASA's International Space Station is expected to be shining brightly above Britain's skies tonight.
Review With small tablets getting bigger it came as quite a surprise to me when one of the main Android tablet wallah’s newest devices turned out to also be its smallest. Prior to the launch of the 8-inch Z3 Tablet Compact (sic) Sony’s smallest fondleslab packed a 9.4-inch screen.
There could be some iron in the non-volatile soul. A team of Cornell university boffins using bismuth ferrite have discovered a way to store bits on magnets without needing electric current-based switching.
BT has launched a new cordless phone, named Elements, designed for challenging environments - notably your garden or a forecourt of some kind - and incorporating a range of 1km, or 0.625 of a mile, if you prefer.
Beard Stroke Spending some of the festive season in San Francisco has given me a chance to look back at the wonderful world of storage and to ponder which may have been the biggest overall storage stories over the past twelve months or so.
The internet community is split when it comes to who should be given the right to run the critical IANA functions.
Video The first hydrocarbon/electric aircraft has taken to the skies over Southern England as part of trials to find out if such combo systems have a place in aviation's future.
Microsoft has revealed a new batch of data about Windows Phone's fortunes, and it seems Redmond's mobile efforts are doing best at the low end of the market.
Footage has emerged of a kangaroo boxing a drone out of the sky.
The makers of Citizenfour are being sued by a man who claims the Edward Snowden film constitutes a violation of US law and national security.
Reg hacks travel the world and then ignore the local sights in order to attend giant, dark auditoria and listen to "industry champions" deliver "thought leadership". After a trans-continental telepathy session, here's our collective distillation of this year's C-level wisdom, as delivered from our industry's biggest stages. - Ed.
Devuan, the Debian spin-off that will not include systemd has posted its first progress report.
Rackspace says it has recovered from a nasty distributed denial of service attack that it says may have seen “a portion of legitimate traffic to our DNS infrastructure … inadvertently blocked.”
EXCLUSIVE A review of the globe's DNS security, stability and resiliency by dot-com registry and root server operator Verisign has called into question the technical competence of domain name overseer ICANN.
Carders operating the BackOff point of sales malware are hacking IP cameras to make sure their targets are worth attacking, says researcher Rotem Kerner says.
Researcher Trammel Hudson has developed a means to foist a new class of bootkits onto Macs, using Thunderbolt devices using a form of USB 'evil maid' attacks.
Uber has apologised to Sydneysiders for maintaining surge pricing during the siege of a cafe in the city's central business district last week.
The US Federal Communications Commission misplaced a huge tranche of public comments on its net neutrality proposals – and has blamed its outdated IT system.
File-sharing kingpin and self-described pauper Kim Dotcom will need to cough up another NZ$35,000 ($26,900) after losing the latest round of his long-running legal battle before the country's Supreme Court.
Today's the last day The Reg's Australian crew will bother showing up for work until the new year, making it the ideal opportunity to offer some insights into the future of the nation's IT industries and policies. We did it last year and reckon the results weren't horrid, so let's have another go, shall we?
Rockstar Consortium, the trolling outfit that snapped up the patent portfolio of bankrupt telecoms firm Nortel, has agreed to sell the bulk of that technology to a company that claims to be dedicated to reducing patent litigation.
Top hotel chains want permission in the US to disrupt guests' personal Wi-Fi hotspots – a move that would force people to use expensive hotel wireless instead.
After days of ridicule for caving into ludicrous anonymous threats against moviegoers, Sony Pictures and US cinemas will show The Interview this Christmas, after all.
Comment Cloud storage company Spanning's story is simple enough; you back up your apps and on-premises data, don't you? (everyone say "yes"...) You should back up your public cloud apps and their in-cloud data, shouldn't you? (let me hear you say "yeah!") Your existing backup software won't work there, will it? (everyone look down and quietly say "no"). Ours will, and it runs in the cloud, too.
HPC blog While I had posted detailed results of the ISC’14 Summer Cluster Slam (here and here), I just realized that I had neglected to put out the final standings and analysis. This makes me an idiot. (Well, not only this, there are a lot of other things that contribute to that assessment as well.)
Hackers broke into JPMorgan's network through a giant security hole left open by a failure to switch on two-factor authentication on an overlooked server.
Comment Google's success in "assassinating" a democratically-elected legal opponent last week raises troubling questions about corporate power and accountability. The feisty attorney for the USA's poorest state is now trying to make peace, after being on the receiving end of a highly unusual lawsuit from Google.
Outsourcing giant Capita has gobbled up Basingstoke storage company Solid State Solutions (S3) for an undisclosed sum.
The Snowden revelations harmed GCHQ’s ability to monitor the communications of crime lords, leading to some vanishing off the grid and the abandonment of other surveillance operations, sources have told a British newspaper.
Oracle has snapped up data slurping company Datalogix - an oufit best known for collecting info from retailers and sharing it with the likes of Facebook.
Three new emerging nations have been added to the list of places getting Google's budget phone version of Android.
Analysis FlashDIMMs can turn Nimble Storage arrays into supercharged systems, shortening IO latencies and speeding overall IO.
Google user data access requests from the Russian government jumped a whopping 25 per cent in the last six months of 2013, Mountain View has revealed in a rejigged version of its "Transparency Report".
BT is trumpeting a new test which will see it install broadband in some really hard-to-reach locations: the middle of cities. Well, provided it can get into the building in the first place.
Wikileaks' Flash-powered PDF reader has sprung a vulnerability or two.
Sysadmin blog It's that time of year again. You have to go forth and buy things for your gaggle of nerdly minions, but you've no idea what they want. In the rare instances they emerge from their caves they mostly spend the time alternating between heartfelt invocations about "the burning painball in the sky" and a lack of caffeine. Social custom says you should probably get them something, but what?
Blink and you'll miss it. Big Data analytics is a huge focus of startup activity with young and new companies getting a green light from blue-chip customers and VCs almost all the time.
EU institutions have finally got the memo about it being a good idea to pinpoint and fix security vulnerabilities.
Chinese hackers have targeted nearly all major Afghanistan Government websites by hacking an official content delivery network (CDN) and gaining a foothold to attack western governments.
Software engineer Robert Heaton has detailed simple tricks to fondle your mates' Tinder and Facebook accounts over the festive season.
If you've popped an iPad under the tree, thanks for your generosity: you've given the gift of poor sleep, disrupted circadian rhythms and an increased chance of cancer later in life.
Solar-powered bra manufacturer Triumph International has been forced to recall 20,000 solar-powered brassieres.
It's been a while since The Reg travelled to the remote Australian community of Willowra to perform a Windows XP upgrade, and longer still since we updated readers on our plan to improve the internet connection in the town's adult learning centre.
As foreshadowed last week, Australia's dominant telco, Telstra, will acquire Pacnet.
Frustration with Frontier Developments' less-than-pleasing response to fans miffed that Elite:Dangerous doesn't feature a single-player mode has sparked a new game titled “Refund Quest”.
Microsoft's December patching palaver keeps getting worse, with news that one of this month's brood is breaking Excel macros.
Sony is seeking a steely-willed vulnerability management director in the wake of its thorough hosing by unknown attackers.
Russian political dissidents voiced their displeasure with Facebook on Monday after the social network blocked an event page promoting a demonstration on behalf of jailed opposition leader Aleksei Navalny.
The Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope Array (NuSTAR) was designed to probe the distant galaxy looking for black holes, but NASA has recently been aiming the orbiting instrument at the Sun to get a close-up view of our star's atmosphere.
Apple has slipped out an update to address the Network Time Protocol (NTP) vulnerability in its OS X operating system. And it seems the patch will be applied automatically and silently to vulnerable machines.
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has once again put a hold on Comcast's controversial proposed acquisition of Time Warner Cable (TWC), saying it needs more time to review documents in the case.
Last week's hearing of Australia's Legal and Constitutional Affairs Legislation Committee, which convened in part to discuss Australia's planned communications metadata retention laws, produced high farce.
Hope springs eternal for Samsung and its Linux-based Tizen OS, which reportedly will find its way onto a smartphone early next year, despite repeated delays.
If the North Koreans really do have an elite hacking squad, it'll be twiddling its thumbs at the moment, as all internet activity in the country has gone dark in an outage that bears the hallmarks of a distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack.
The US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is warning parents after the discovery of possible user-tracking activity by educational software for children.
The controversial NetMundial Initiative (NMI) may be heading back to the drawing board following a meeting of the internet's big cheeses in Washington last week.
The engineering wizards in Google's workshops have unveiled the Chocolate Factory's first attempt at a completely control-free robot car, where passengers entrust themselves entirely to the machine.
The NCC Group has revealed how much it expects to sell new .trust domains for: $150,000. And that's just the wholesale price.
Symantec has been announced as the newest Gold member of OpenStack, a status the open source effort says means it “pledge[s] strategic alignment to the OpenStack mission.”
The firm running South Korea's nuclear plants has decided to run cyber-war drills following the leak of sensitive data and threats from unidentified hackers.
Civil rights groups are claiming the EU Commission has already broken its promises on lobby and reporting transparency, with a framework for lobbyists containing no legally binding elements now set to be implemented.
Former Bitcoin Foundation exec Charlie Shrem has been jailed for two years for his part in helping people illegally swap cash for bitcoins on black market site Silk Road.
NAND used to be the sole prerogative of a two-dimensional flat earth society obsessed with shrinkage, but that approach is running into a technological dead end.
Product Roundup The arrival of Bluetooth 4, with its reduced hunger for power and support for audio codecs like aptX and A2DP means that there has been an explosion in the availability of Bluetooth speakers which connect to computers, tablets and smartphones, and are often small enough to be chucked in a bag and taken to the park or beach.
Millions of dollars, credit cards and intellectual property have been stolen by a newly discovered group of cyber criminals.
The Brixton Pound (B£), the private currency for denizens of the slightly more affordable bit of earth next to Clapham, is to adopt near field communications, or NFC, payments.
Patient concerns over the delayed NHS Care.data scheme must be addressed if the controversial plan to share GP records is to proceed, an independent watchdog has warned.
Volvos will soon be capable of squawking their presence to cyclists wearing a helmet from cycling brand POC, letting the Lycra louts get out of the way of the four-wheeled Scandinavian middle lane hoggers.
Wikipedia co-founder Jimmy Wales says he'll "start a foundation" to process a large amount of money he has received from the United Arab Emirates' regime.
Christmas has come early for Ireland’s data protection watchdog as the country’s Data Protection Minister, Dara Murphy, announced that the office will get a budget of €3.65m for 2015 - just under twice the allocation of €1.89m for 2014.
IBM's TSM backup product goes super-fast when backing up to the Elastic Storage parallel file system, according to company trials. TSM stands for Tivoli Storage Manager, with Elastic Storage being the re-branded GPFS.
It's nearly impossible to sum up an entire year of developments in something as large and nebulous as the world of desktop Linux, especially in a year like this one which has seen some the best releases that projects like Mint, Fedora and openSUSE have put out to date.
Talented hackers have caused "serious damage" after breaching a German steel mill and wrecking one of its blast furnaces.
Elite: Dangerous, the re-boot of the hit eighties space combat and trading game Elite, launched last week, but the biggest buzz in the wake of its arrival is from disgruntled fans who want a refund.
The government’s tech procurement arm is asking suppliers to burn candles brightly over the festive season by filling in a 700-question Network Services tender after redrafting it.
As foreshadowed last week, Tor network exit nodes have gone down after what appear to be raids by law enforcement authorities.
Microsoft is terminating its SharePoint Online Public Website service, effective January 2015.
Critical holes have been reported in the implementation of the network time protocol (NTP) that could allow unsophisticated attackers root access on servers.
Torrent site ISOhunt has created a roll-your-own, open source, version of infamous file-sharing site The Pirate Bay.
Analyst firm IDC reckons that cloud operations – private and public - now account for “almost a third” of the world's spending on servers, storage and ethernet switches.
Where your kit gets made On November 20th, I visited the Indonesian island of Batam. And about an hour after I left, a protest by local workers over the minimum wage just about turned into a riot.
Ever since VMware launched the virtual storage appliance back in 2011, observers have wondered if the company’s storage efforts hurt its parent EMC’s business.
US president Barak Obama has looked to an unlikely source of help to stop further alleged cyber attacks from North Korea: his administration has reportedly asked China to take action against the perpetrators.
Vid NASA has released video images of its Orion spaceship as it re-entered Earth's atmosphere earlier this month.
British actor Kate Winslet has reportedly entered talks with Universal to play the lead female role in the biopic of Apple supremo Steve Jobs, who died in 2011.
Poll With December 25th bearing down upon us, we're mere days away from anointing a festive chart-topper as Christmas Number One.
QuoTW The Sony Pictures hack dragged on and on this week, as the studio was forced to pull the release of North Korea comedy The Interview following hacker threats against the film while cyber attackers continued to dump files stolen from Sony online.
Feature Missed out on a date at the Christmas party? So did we ... but as the joke in the cracker said, "Why is a smartphone like a milkshake? Because it brings all the boys to the yard."
+Diagrams Several people were kind enough to comment favourably on this article and asked for more information, pictures and video. We are delighted to oblige. Technically no one asked for poorly drawn diagrams, but I’ve included some of these as well.
Worstall @ the Weekend The economy's not growing as fast as it used to when we had big government and big unions, so we'd better bring them back, right? Or maybe we just don't have enough economic data to tell?
Product Roundup There’s nothing cooler than board games at the moment, whether they are being referenced by the Marsh family in South Park, or popularised by one of the pop-up gaming bars in East London. Board games are now selling in droves. Often produced by independent companies, they can be intellectually rigorous and visually stunning.
THE EXPAT FILES In this week's eXpat File, we meet Irishman Russell Clark, who's settled in Qatar.
A US district judge has thrown out a proposed settlement deal of a sueball lobbed at HP by some of the company's shareholders, after it bought Blighty software outfit Autonomy for $10.7bn in 2011.
"Grave consequences" have been threatened by North Korea, after the FBI alleged on Friday that Norks were behind the savage hack of struggling film studio Sony Pictures.
Hundreds of protesters took to the streets of Brussels on Friday to express anger about secret trade talks between the EU, US and others that they believe would damage the 28-member-state bloc's data protection rights.
A sad day as Vulture News Central loses its lead anchor, Regina Eggbert, in a horrific misunderstanding ... no, I can't go on. I simply can't describe it. You'll have to see for yourself! ®
Comment We've had another instalment in the campaign to blame Apple for all that goes wrong in poor countries, and this time it was the BBC's Panorama that scolded the iFruit for buying tin in Indonesia.
Interview Folks in the scientific know like to pick apart movies about science and science fiction, pointing out all the ways in which they don’t embrace real facts and theories. They also love to complain about how nerds are so often portrayed on film the same way, as socially inept weirdos, sweet maybe, but not really taken seriously. And yet, the most likely criticism to be levelled at the two Oscar-worthy movies about scientists this year, The Imitation Game and The Theory of Everything, is that they’re not scientific enough.
Vulture at the Wheel The Alfa Romeo Giulietta is a car with far too much power. The 240hp from the 1750cc turbocharged four-cylinder petrol engine overwhelms the fat tyres, so it struggles for grip and torque steers.
Film review The ingredients are all there for an Oscar-winning film in Big Eyes. Multiple Academy Award nominee Amy Adams and one-time winner Christoph Waltz play Walter and Margaret Keane in a flick based on a true story about pop culture and high art in the 1960s.
Page File El Reg bookworm Mark Diston is joined by Andrew Orlowski to review the pick of publishing this week. A compilation of works from mysterious Stark Houghton tells tall tales of the wild west. Mac users can brush up their skills or get a break from hapless relatives with the latest from Bob LeVitus. And music lovers get a down to earth view of the indie scene from The Fall's bass player Steve Hanley.
Something for the Weekend, Sir? Old Man by Neil Young
The European Commission has signed a contract to create a system that will gather up the world's policies on governing the internet, and put 'em all under one roof. That way, people can look over them and work out how to best run the 'net.
The Kepler space telescope might be damaged goods, but the clever hacks created by NASA's boffins have kept it running and it has spotted a new – if distant – planet that could harbor water, just like Earth.
The Tor Project is warning that its network – used by netizens to mask their identities on the internet – may be knocked offline in the coming days.
Amazon hasn't learned its lesson from the thundering belly flop of its Fire Phone, and according to some accounts it's apparently beavering away at a second version.
Google is taking legal action against the Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood, alleging he exceeded his authority in suing the ad giant over piracy – and taking his cues from the Motion Picture Ass. of America.