Business > More stories

If we can't find a working SCSI cable, the company will close tomorrow

On-Call Welcome again to On-Call, our Friday fumble through memories of jobs on which things didn't go as planned. Or sometimes went in ways it's not possible to plan. This week, meet “Jean” who in the early noughties scored a gig as “a fairly new-to-the-game support engineer for a shifter of overpriced household furniture.” Jean …
Simon Sharwood, 15 Jul 2016

Chinese hacker jailed for shipping aerospace secrets home

Chinese national Su Bin has been sentenced to 46 months jail after admitting his role in stealing information on the Lockheed F-22 and F-35 aircraft, along with Boeing's C-17 cargo plane. The aviation expert worked with two members of China's military to attack networks of Boeing and US and European defence contractors in …
Darren Pauli, 15 Jul 2016
NSW Department Of Justice's Pokemon warning

Pokemon Go Directly To Jail if you hunt here, says Oz Justice Dept

The Department of Justice in the Australian State of New South Wales has warned Pokemon hunters that if they hunt for digital critters inside courthouses they may find their next trip is to an actual jail. The Department took to Facebook to warn Pokemon Go addicts that “GOING TO COURT IS NOT A GAME: POKEMON GO TRAINERS SHOULD …
Simon Sharwood, 15 Jul 2016

It's not our fault we don't hire black people, says Facebook

Facebook has explained away another year of dreadful diversity figures by claiming that there simply aren't enough minorities available for it to hire. Despite having been at the receiving end of years of criticism for its overwhelmingly white male workforce, the social media giant's latest figures show that only 4 per cent of …
Kieren McCarthy, 14 Jul 2016

Ivory tower drops water bombs on dumpster fire

A veritable Who's Who of the tech industry have signed an open letter aggressively criticizing Donald Trump and his proposed presidential policies. "We are inventors, entrepreneurs, engineers, investors, researchers, and business leaders working in the technology sector," the letter begins. "We are proud that American …
Kieren McCarthy, 14 Jul 2016

Server techies 'stiffed on overtime pay' banned from ganging up on HP

Hewlett-Packard has succeeded in breaking up a class-action lawsuit brought by its tech support workers who say the IT giant stiffed them on overtime pay. In an order [PDF] handed down yesterday, Judge Beth Labson Freeman said the enterprise field-support technicians can't band together against the Palo Alto goliath, and must …
Shaun Nichols, 14 Jul 2016

Google quietly takes gag off Mississippi AG after wrecking ads probe

Google has, without fanfare, dropped its legal action that muzzled an investigation into the ad giant's conduct by the State of Mississippi. The state's elected attorney general, Democrat Jim Hood, has taken on Wall Street, the tobacco industry and the KKK, but even he must have been surprised by Google's 44-page restraining …
Andrew Orlowski, 14 Jul 2016

EU eyes flaw in Google’s cash machine

Analysis The European Commission has opened an aggressive new front in its battle with Google, one that Google thought it had secured years ago. And this is one that starts to gnaw away at Google’s core cash generation business. As well as advancing its prosecution of Google over vertical search, the new third area where the Commission …
Andrew Orlowski, 14 Jul 2016
tsa_gloves_648

EU waves antitrust claims in Google's face, snarls 'You want some?'

EU antitrust regulators have accused Google of preventing rivals from competing in online advertising and search, deepening its existing probe into anti-competition allegations against the ad-flinger. The antitrust charges are the latest effort to clamp down on the advertising biz, following existing investigations claiming …
Kat Hall, 14 Jul 2016
whitehall_648

Shocker: Computer science graduate wins a top UK political job

David Davis MP today becomes the highest-achieving computer science graduate in British politics. Strictly speaking, Davis graduate with a BSc in “Molecular Science/Computer Science” in 1971 from the University of Warwick. He is now the Secretary of State for Exiting the EU (or “SSEE-U”), a freshly-minted post. Davis later …
Andrew Orlowski, 14 Jul 2016

UK gov says new Home Sec will have powers to ban end-to-end encryption

IPBill During a committee stage debate in the UK's House of Lords yesterday, the government revealed that the Investigatory Powers Bill will provide any Secretary of State with the ability to force communication service providers (CSPs) to remove or disable end-to-end encryption. Earl Howe, a minister of state for defence and deputy …

Missile bods MBDA win Brit military laser cannon contract

A consortium led by European missile company MBDA has reportedly won the contract to build a laser cannon for the Ministry of Defence, according to unconfirmed reports. The project, awarded under the Laser Directed Energy Weapon (LDEW) demonstrator project announced last year, is for a prototype to demonstrate whether firing a …
Gareth Corfield, 14 Jul 2016
Confused/annoyed looking man looks irritated during outage. Photo via Shutterstock

Lloyds personal banking hit with 'intermittent' outage

Customers of Lloyds personal banking have been furiously hitting refresh this morning due to "intermittent" issues accessing their accounts. According to web-monitoring site Down Detector, the problem first began around 9am. Lloyds told customers on Twitter that it was aware of "an intermittent issue affecting some customers …
Kat Hall, 14 Jul 2016
NBN logo

nbnTM names six shops to re-build Telstra's HFC network

nbnTM, the entity building and operating Australia's National Broadband Network (NBN), has named the six companies it has chosen to turn the hybrid fibre coax (HFC) network it acquired from Telstra into a white-hot broadband delivery beast. Lend Lease, Broadspectrum, Fulton Hogan, Downer, ISGM and BSA are the six firms to have …
Simon Sharwood, 13 Jul 2016

In these troubling times, senators unite to end America's big divide – rural v urban broadband

The US Senate has formally formed its first informal committee to push for better broadband in America's countryside. The bi-partisan Senate Broadband Caucus will be made up of five senators who represent states with large rural populations and will push for laws that help to expand high-speed internet service into those …
Shaun Nichols, 13 Jul 2016
scrooge

Generous Fiat Chrysler offers $1,500 for car security bugs – or two minutes of annual profit

Fiat Chrysler has finally got around to offering a bounty on bugs found in its cars. But the scheme is unlikely to get any takers considering the pitiful amount of money on offer. Last year car-hacking artistes Charlie Miller and Chris Valasek took remote control of the engine, brakes, and minor systems of such Fiat Chrysler …
Iain Thomson, 13 Jul 2016
A person hiding in a box

US govt bank insurer 'covered up China hack to protect top boss'

The US Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation – a government agency tasked with safeguarding citizens' bank accounts – deliberately covered up a cyberattack by China to protect its incoming chairman. This is according to a damning report from Republican members of the US House Committee on Science, Space and Technology, who …
Shaun Nichols, 13 Jul 2016
Defeated-looking young man puts his head against table in front of laptop and pile of papers in conference room. Pic via Shutterstock

Software bug costs Citigroup $7m after legit transactions mistaken for test data for 15 years

A programming blunder in its reporting software has led to Citigroup being fined $7m (£5m). According to the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), that error [PDF] resulted in the financial regulator being sent incomplete "blue sheet" information for a remarkable 15 years – from May 1999 to April 2014. The mistake was …
Kieren McCarthy, 13 Jul 2016
Ben Mezrich, Once Upon a Time in Russia: The Rise of the Oligarchs and the Greatest Wealth in History

Russian gang who exploited hacked bank accounts jailed

Five members of an international money-laundering gang based in London have been jailed after cops unravelled their malware-enabled conspiracy. The gang, composed exclusively of Russian nationals, was led by a pair of men who were both named Aslan. Aslan Abazov, 30, of Cromwell Road, London SW7,was sentenced to seven years …

Google on piracy: We really, really care

Comment Google has returned some punches in the PR war over YouTube, claiming it has handed over $3bn in royalties from artists using its Content ID system, or $1bn since 2014. But Content ID is actually one of musicians’ biggest beefs. Google’s implementation of Content ID, which "identifies user-uploaded [YouTube] videos to help …
Andrew Orlowski, 13 Jul 2016
Crocodile Dundee, 20th Century Fox.

Alleged Aussie plum plucker pleads guilty to motel tissue swipe

An Australian man has pleaded guilty to a string of charges after allegedly performing an "unauthorised" bollock-ectomy on a 52-year-old fellow Aussie in a New South Wales motel. According to reports, 57-year-old Allan George Matthews has copped to charges of “removing tissues from the body of another without consent or …
Joe Fay, 13 Jul 2016
http://www.shutterstock.com/pic-206007979/stock-photo-female-student-using-mobile-phone-in-classroom.html?src=QwV6NI1PxgBasokGhlmPQA-1-27

Student Loans Company burns £50 million in IT project superfail

Exclusive The UK's Student Loans Company has wasted £50m on a canned IT transformation project, designed to provide a “digital by default” system to cope with a major increase in student numbers. The programme was launched in 2013 in conjunction with the Government Digital Service and was intended to be a "robust and agile customer- …
Kat Hall, 13 Jul 2016
DJ at mixing deck. Photo by Shutterstock

IBM puts Global Tech Services staff at risk in 'skills remix'

A second round of UK redundancy consultations are set to kick off for IBMers working in the Global Business Services (GBS) division, company insiders have told us. Big Blue initiated numerous job-cutting programmes this year as it reacted to fewer big ticket outsourcing deals and the rise of cloud computing by sending more …
Paul Kunert, 13 Jul 2016

50 CELEBRITY SECRETS EXPOSED scores year behind bars

The New York man behind a 2014 data dump site exposed.su has been sentenced to a year in prison, plus 12 months for time already served, for doxing high-profile figures including First Lady Michelle Obama, Presidential candidate Donald Trump, and artist Jay Z, and placing dozens of highly-dangerous swatting calls. Mir Islam, …
Darren Pauli, 13 Jul 2016
A woman texting

Smartphones aren't tiny PCs, but that's how we use them in the West

On a recent trip to Shanghai, I saw a person in front of me in a supermarket queue present their mobile phone when asked for payment. The clerk quickly pointed the laser scanner at the phone - blip!- the sale completed. But not thanks to NFC. I’d just seen AliPay, a mobile payments system backed by Alibaba (the world’s largest …
Mark Pesce, 13 Jul 2016
Cell tower, view from below. Image by Shutterstock.com

US drug squads told to get a warrant before tracking mobile phones

A US federal judge in New York State has pushed back against Uncle Sam's Drug Enforcement Agency's use of Stingrays, saying evidence collected by the fake phone masts isn't admissible. A Maryland judge ruled in 2015 that investigators need court-approved warrants to set up pretend cellphone towers that track people by their …
Road Closed sign

VPN provider claims Russia seized its servers

VPN provider Private Internet Access (PIA) says its servers have been seized by the Russian government, so has quit the country in protest at its privacy laws. The company has sent an e-mail to users claiming some of its servers have been seized, even though the enforcement regime – in which all Internet traffic has to be …
dumb_and_dumber_648

NSW vocational education gets re-org to revive its comatose budget

Its budget gutted, in part, by dogged devotion to a failed software project, the Australian State of New South Wales Technical and Further Education (TAFE) institutions are to be reorganised to eliminate its current structure of individual regional institutes. Instead, in a strategy conceived by the same minister as paid …
Angry businesswoman shouting on phone in office. Image via Shutterstock

Using Comcast biz phones? Hope you liked your afternoon off

Comcast says it is still investigating the cause of outages that killed its business phone service in the US on Tuesday. Reports of problems with the phone service began around midday, and the American telecom giant said that as of approximately 2:30pm Pacific time it was still trying to figure out why those on its small …
Shaun Nichols, 12 Jul 2016

No, Google you still can't have dotless, one-word domains

A surreptitious effort to introduce so-called "dotless domains" – where you type a single word into your browser to reach a website – has been noticed and shot down. Despite an explicit ban on the Google-pushed idea – which would, for example, let you simply type the word "search" and be taken to the internet address https:// …
Kieren McCarthy, 12 Jul 2016
Street musician busks for coins. Photo by Shutterstock

Spotify, YouTube pay musicians with ever-shrinking buttons

Digital music is a loss leader for tech giants, driving traffic to other parts of the plantation as they harvest personal data. But it’s creators who are carrying the loss. “Leaked” Spotify numbers suggest its maintaining an audience lead over Apple in the digital streaming business - but only by giving the music away for …
Andrew Orlowski, 12 Jul 2016
Hiring

Hewlett Packard Enterprise names acting big nob for UK biz

Hewlett Packard Enterprise has made Marc Waters acting managing director of the UK and Ireland as the process to recruit a permanent head begins. Former local chief Andy Isherwood was yesterday confirmed as the new EMEA overlord, replacing Peter Ryan, who is himself taking on a global role running sales for the Enterprise …
Paul Kunert, 12 Jul 2016
Man in helmet looks uncertain, holds up shield. Photo by Shutterstock

European Commission straps on Privacy Shield

The European Commission has this morning adopted the EU-US Privacy Shield agreement, which will enter into force as soon as all member states are notified of the adequacy decision (PDF). Privacy Shield, which has been adopted after months of negotiations, is an agreement between the EU and the US which ostensibly ensures that …
Robots2, image via Shutterstock

A journey down the UK's '3D Tongue' into its mini industrial revolution

One of the few "horizon" technologies that is really making a difference right now is 3D printing. While other "big hope" concepts such as genetic engineering, nanotech and quantum physics have yet to make much of an impact, 3D has been making immediate inroads into traditional, sometimes ancient manufacturing techniques. …
Marcus Gibson, 12 Jul 2016

Don't doubt it, Privacy Shield is going to be challenged in court

Analysis The European Union's attempts to make data transfers to the United States compliant with privacy laws are an opaque exercise, so much is obvious, but will they work? It's clear that it is necessary to retain the Transatlantic data trade – in economic terms, but also as a means of preventing the Balkanization of the internet. …

UK.gov flings £30m at driverless car R'n'D, wants plebs to speek their branes

The government is paving the way for driverless cars by launching an open consultation online – and a £30m competition to win funds for research and development into autonomous vehicle technologies. It is estimated that cars with driver assistance features will reach the market in “two to four years”, whilst driverless …
Katyanna Quach, 12 Jul 2016
 People photographing bollywood actor Vivek Oberoi with smartphones

Google aims to train two million Indian Android devs by 2018

Google will train two million Android developers across India over the next three years. Mountain View will provide complete training in its Android operating system under a new program that is paired with the Modi Government's "Skill India" program. The course kicks off with Android Developer Fundamentals available in …
Darren Pauli, 12 Jul 2016

YouTube stars shilled for Warner Bros, screwed up, and now the FTC has written an angry letter

Warner Bros has settled a complaint that YouTube celebs it paid to promote its video game online didn't declare that they were taking the entertainment giant's coin. YouTubers who agreed to publicize 2014's Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor were given cash on condition they produce a favorable review of the game, not show any …
Shaun Nichols, 12 Jul 2016

Facebook deleted my post and made me confirm pics of my kids weren't sexually explicit

Usually when you read about Facebook blocking accounts or taking down videos it's because something serious has happened: like a woman filming her boyfriend dying at the hands of traffic cops; or someone going on a racist rant. But this morning it happened to me. Facebook informed this lowly reporter that it has removed one …
Kieren McCarthy, 11 Jul 2016
A large hand flicks an icon of a little red man. Image via shutterstock (Lasse Kristensen)

Seagate defrags 14% of workforce: 6,500 axed

Seagate is cutting 6,500 staff, or 14 per cent of its 46,000-strong workforce, across Asia, Europe, the Middle East and the Americas. Those losing their jobs will shown the door over the next 12 months; the redundancies will cost the hard drive maker US$164m. These layoffs are on top of the 1,600 heads put at risk at the end …
Chris Williams, 11 Jul 2016

Google slammed over its 'free' school service

Two Swedish researchers have torn into Google's free school service, accusing the online giant of purposefully misleading users in order to continue profiting from the sale of children's data. Maria Lindh and Jan Nolin from the University of Borås have published a research paper [note: paid access] that digs into the policies …
Kieren McCarthy, 11 Jul 2016

Omni-shambles! Card-stealing malware checks into US hotel chain

Yet another US hotel chain has admitted malware infected its computer systems and stole guests' bank card information. Omni Hotels said today [PDF] an attacker managed to infiltrate its IT network and inject a software nasty into its payment terminals that siphoned off copies of people's credit and debit cards. The malware …
Shaun Nichols, 11 Jul 2016