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Effort to fire Euro Patent Office president beaten back – again

A determined effort to take action against the president of the European Patent Office, Benoit Battistelli, has faltered again thanks to some strategic maneuvering by his defenders. In the lead-up to a two-day meeting of the organization's Administrative Council in Munich this week, a number of European countries made a …
Kieren McCarthy, 20 Mar 2017
Chinese revolutionary panda

IBM finds Wanda-ful new way to add China to its cloudy Bluemix

IBM”s found a new way to get its cloud into China – a new deal with the Wanda Internet Technology Group. Wanda what? Wanda Internet Technology Group is a limb of Wanda Group, aka Dalian Wanda, a Chinese conglomerate that brings in about US$40bn a year with property development, luxury hotels, cinemas and other businesses. The …
Simon Sharwood, 20 Mar 2017
Quick fix - worker running while carrying a wrench

Atlassian admins, your Struts 2 patch has landed

Atlassian has joined the growing list of vendors to patch its products against the Apache Struts 2 vulnerability. Atlassian is one of many downstream vendors to need a patch, and the company has announced its Bamboo, Crowd, and HipChat Server products now have fixes available. In Atlassian Bamboo, the bug affects versions 5.1 …
Cloud desktop

Citrix launches Windows 10 VDI from Azure

Citrix has taken the wraps off the “XenDesktop Essentials Service for Microsoft Azure”, a product that lets you run virtual Windows 10 desktops from Microsoft's cloud. But the XenApp Express product it and Microsoft said would replace Azure remoteapp remains hidden from view. XenDesktop Essentials is a cloud service that uses …
Simon Sharwood, 20 Mar 2017

Git sprints carefully towards SHA-1 deprecation

Following the February controversy over whether or not Google's SHA-1 collision broke Git, its community has taken the first small steps towards replacing the ancient hash function. For context: the Chocolate Factory last month produced the first reproduceable SHA-1 collision needing relatively* low computing power – something …
Cisco ASR 920 with mountains

A router with a fear of heights? Yup. It's a thing

Cisco's let users of its ASR 920 Series Aggregation Services Routers know they've got a fear of heights. In one of the odder field notices The Register can recall, Switchzilla has revealed that “AC Power Supplies (A920-PWR400-A) shipped between September 2015 and May 2016 are only compliant for usage in elevations up to 2000 …
Simon Sharwood, 20 Mar 2017

Cisco reports bug disclosed in WikiLeaks' Vault 7 CIA dump

It looks like Cisco won't be chasing up a partnership with WikiLeaks: it's combing the "Vault7" documents itself, and has turned up an IOS / IOS XE bug in more than 300 of its switch models. The vulnerability is in the Cisco Cluster Management Protocol (CMP) in IOS and IOS XE. The protocol passes around information about …

McDonalds India's delivery app was a golden honeypot

McDonald's India has 'fessed up that its app spaffed personal data to all and sundry and has urged users to install an update. Over the weekend, a post at Medium said the company's McDelivery app in India was leaking user data through a misconfigured server. The leaks, disclosed by payment security company, “ …

Intel reveals Optane SSDs: 375GB to start, at surprising speed

Intel has finally revealed an Optane product and told us how fast it will go. The TL;DR version is that the “Optane SSD DC P4800X” will ship by year-end, starting with a 375GB product that has amazing computed random read IOPS numbers, and can work as memory or as storage. Intel says the SSD is built with 3D Xpoint media, …

Shine on, you crazy Eind minds: Boffins fire out 43Gbps infrared 'Wi-Fi'

In five years or so, Wi-Fi access points could carry data at rates 100 times faster than today using infrared light rather than other portions of the electromagnetic spectrum. Researchers at Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e) in the Netherlands have developed a way to use fiber optic cables, mounted with networking …
Thomas Claburn, 18 Mar 2017
Secret Service

Friday security roundup: Secret Service laptop bungle, hackers win prizes, websites leak

Updated Friday is usually a good day to bury bad news and there are a number of stories bubbling under before we all head out for the weekend. US Secret Service lost a laptop The US Secret Service has admitted that one of its agents' cars had been broken into by persons unknown, and a laptop was stolen, along with other items. The …
Iain Thomson, 18 Mar 2017

Bloke cuffed after 'You deserve a seizure' GIF tweet gave epileptic a fit

A man suspected of maliciously tweeting a GIF to a magazine writer that induced an epileptic attack has been collared by the FBI. In December, Kurt Eichenwald, a Newsweek journalist who has written about living with epilepsy, appeared on the US Fox News show Tucker Carlson Tonight to discuss his claims that the then-President- …
Iain Thomson, 17 Mar 2017
A Lyft car

Lyft drops $27m on the table to make annoying driver lawsuit go away

A federal judge has accepted a proposed $27m settlement to resolve a dispute between ride-sharing service Lyft and more than 200,000 current and former drivers in California. The drivers sued Lyft in 2013 arguing that they should be classified as employees rather than independent contractors – the same issue that has dogged …
Thomas Claburn, 17 Mar 2017
laser truck

US military's latest toy set: Record-breaking laser death star, er, truck

Vid Lockheed Martin says it is ready to deliver its most powerful laser weapon yet to the US military. This Death-Star-on-wheels can shoot down drones, missiles, and similar stuff, we're told. The American weapons conglomerate self-funded the building of a 30kW test system and then scaled the design up. The 60kW version is mounted …
Iain Thomson, 17 Mar 2017

Europe will fine Twitter, Facebook, Google etc unless they rip up T&Cs

The European Commission is threatening to fine Facebook, Twitter, Google and other social networks unless they overhaul their terms and conditions to pull out legal escape clauses. An official from the EC's consumer protection authorities confirmed it intends to "take action to make sure social media companies comply with EU …
Kieren McCarthy, 17 Mar 2017
priest prison

The priest, the coder, the Bitcoin drug deals – and today's guilty verdicts

A New Jersey pastor and a Florida software engineer were today found guilty of bribery, wire fraud, bank fraud, and fraud conspiracy. Their trial, which unfolded in a US district court in New York, exposed the murky world of illegal Bitcoin exchanges. Pastor Trevon Gross and Florida coder Yuri Lebedev helped launder Bitcoins …
Iain Thomson, 17 Mar 2017
Shutterstock - Giant bug destroys ciy

SVN commit this: Subversion to fix file renaming after 15 years

Next month, if all goes well, developers working on the open-source Subversion version control system will resolve a "critical bug" that has gone unaddressed for 15 years. Issue 898, created on September 11, 2002, proposes a change in the way Subversion handles file renaming. Presently, as has been the case for more than a …
Thomas Claburn, 17 Mar 2017

Block-stacker Datera cuddles up to cloudy pal, preps for sales push

Block storage startup Datera is partnering with Accelerite, and has hired Flavio Santoni as a senior exec in a president's role. Accelerite is in the enterprise infrastructure game, selling endpoint management and cloud software products. Datera provides block (SAN) storage on a public cloud, EBS-like basis, and its product …
Chris Mellor, 17 Mar 2017

An under-appreciated threat to your privacy: Security software

Interview The very software that is supposed to protect your security is an under-appreciated threat to privacy because of the massive amount of data many products secretly gather on customers, according to F-Secure's Jarno Niemelä. Niemelä also told told The Register that despite the dismissive claim in the recent WikiLeaks' release of …
EU flag photo via Shutterstock

Brit firm lands £58m EU spy drone 'copter contract

A British firm has won a contract with the EU to supply border control surveillance helicopter drones. Martek Marine boasts that the £58m EU Maritime Safety Agency contract will see its products being used for “border control activities, search & rescue operations and monitoring of pollution, as well as the detection of …
Gareth Corfield, 17 Mar 2017
Screengrab of a control room in new Royal Navy aircraft carrier. One of the screens sports unmistakable Windows XP desktop

National Audit Office: Brit aircraft carrier project is fine and dandy... for now

The National Audit Office has confirmed that F-35 fighter jets should be flying from new British aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth by the year 2020, if all goes to plan. The Delivering Carrier Strike report from the UK watchdog said: “The current target of accepting the carrier from the Aircraft Carrier Alliance by the end …
Gareth Corfield, 17 Mar 2017

New disk drive maker? No such luck

The cloud and Big Data and Hadoop feature strongly in this week’s round-up of storage news, along with channel news. And, just for a moment, we thought we’d found a new disk drive manufacturer. But no, it was all tosh. Barracuda is offering a Web Security Service using Zscaler’s cloud security service. Zscaler can use …
Chris Mellor, 17 Mar 2017
Star Trek Motion Picture Spock

Shameless crooks fling Star Trek-themed ransomware at world

Audacious cybercriminals have created an Star Trek-themed strain of ransomware. Hat-tip to Bleeping Computer, which broke the story on the "Kirk" malware, discovered yesterday by Avast malware researcher Jakub Kroustek. The software disguises itself as the notorious Low Orbit Ion Cannon (LOIC) denial of service tool, a …
John Leyden, 17 Mar 2017

Gov.UK pulls plug on its YouTube ads amid extremism concerns

The British government has suspended its ads from YouTube amid concerns the content is appearing against "inappropriate" material. A Cabinet Office spokeswoman said: “We have placed a temporary restriction on our YouTube advertising pending reassurances from Google that government messages can be delivered in a safe and …
Kat Hall, 17 Mar 2017
Image by Dr Flash

Japan mulls semi-nationalising Tosh (memory biz) – report

The Japanese government is considering providing state-backed aid to Toshiba’s memory business, amounting to near partial nationalisation, to prevent it falling into Chinese or South Korean hands, according to a report. The article in Nikkei Asian Review goes on to say that the Development Bank of Japan is considering a …
Chris Mellor, 17 Mar 2017

GCHQ dismisses Trump wiretap rumours as tosh

UK intelligence agency GCHQ has dismissed US reports - cited by the White House press secretary - that it was involved in running a surveillance operation on Donald Trump before last year's US election as "utterly ridiculous". During a press conference on Thursday, White House press Secretary Sean Spicer cited a Fox News story …
John Leyden, 17 Mar 2017
It's beer o clock for sysadmins. Photo by SHutterstock

BOFH: Don't back up in anger

Episode 3 Backups. Backups Backups Backups. Backups Backups Backups Backups Backups. What more can I say? "So do you have a backup of that?" the Boss asks. "No." "We don't back up your laptop." "But you told me you back up everything?" "Everything on the server, yes." "YOU SAID you backed up everything but desktop machines …
Simon Travaglia, 17 Mar 2017

Face down in a Shoreditch gutter: Attack of the kickstarting hipster

Something for the Weekend, Sir? I have taken it all off. Would you like to join me? Loosen those straps and let it all slip onto the floor. You might feel naked and not a little bit exposed but no one is watching, I assure you. No really, now that you have removed your wearable tech, this will be the first time for ages that your every move is not being …
Alistair Dabbs, 17 Mar 2017
Einstein photo via Shutterstock

Do the numbers, Einstein: AI is more than maths as some know it

Microsoft arrived on the graph-database scene last month. Three years in the making, Microsoft released Trinity under a typical-by-now-of-Microsoft-boring-trade name of Graph Engine. Already on that scene are Neo4J, MarkLogic, Oracle, SAP and Teradata - among others. Driving Microsoft, like those before, is the desire to …
Mark Whitehorn, 17 Mar 2017
Chap in suit in slingshot

Big-in-Russia's Yandex launches itself at a Google world

First Look The Google-Facebook duopoly has created a Silicon Valley empire that stretches from sea to shining sea. With two exceptions: Russia and China. While we think of Russian and Chinese internet companies as exclusively focused on their home territories, this isn’t totally the case. NASDAQ-listed Yandex operates mainly in the …
Andrew Orlowski, 17 Mar 2017

Hell freezes over: We wrote an El Reg chatbot using Microsoft's AI

Hands on Microsoft has invested big in its Cognitive Services for programmable artificial intelligence, along with a Bot Framework for using them via a conversational user interface. How easy is it to get started? Cognitive Services, the AI piece, was announced at the company’s Build developer conference in April 2015. The initial …
Tim Anderson, 17 Mar 2017
Steve Martin dentist Little Shop of Horrors

Open wide, Node.js! NodeSource will certify you now

NodeSource has offered to clean up Node.JS with a program certifying modules as “safe.” The three-year-old company Thursday announced the release of NodeSource Certified Modules, which it promised would deliver “rigorous analysis” of 400,000 modules using a certification algorithm from proprietary code. Certified Modules will …
Gavin Clarke, 17 Mar 2017
Blackberry jam on toast. Photo by shutterstock

User jams up PC. Literally. No, we don't know which flavour

On-Call Welcome again to On-Call, The Register's weekly trawl through readers' memories of dealing with dim users or dangerous bosses, often at ridiculous times. This week, a pair of sticky situations starting with one sent to us by “Tim”. Tim's tale comes from his first job when he was “fresh faced out of University and on the first …
Simon Sharwood, 17 Mar 2017

Are you undermining your web security by checking on it with the wrong tools?

Your antivirus and network protection efforts may actually be undermining network security, a new paper and subsequent US-CERT advisory have warned. The issue comes with the use of HTTPS interception middleboxes and network monitoring products. They are extremely common and are used to check that nothing untoward is going on …
Kieren McCarthy, 17 Mar 2017
The Italian town of Brindisi and surrounds shot by ESA Sentinel B

A big day for the ESA: Sentinel snaps and ExoMars brakes

If you're trying to sell something to the European Space Agency, today could be the day to move in and close the deal because there should be smiles all round after two missions achieved important milestones. The most visible achievement is depicted above (here for mobile readers): the Italian port city of Brindisi, as …
Simon Sharwood, 17 Mar 2017

Be our Guetzli, says Google, to make beastly JPEGs beautifully small

Google's revealed details of a new JPEG encoder it calls “Guetzli” and which it says can shrink images by between 29 and 45 per cent without making them appreciably less pretty. Google bothers with this stuff because it wants web pages to load faster, so that people use the web more and see more of its ads. To that end, the …
Simon Sharwood, 17 Mar 2017

60 slow-mo A-bomb test videos explode onto YouTube

The Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) has released a recently-declassified collection of films depicting atmospheric nuclear weapons tests conducted between 1945 and 1962. The United States conducted extensive atmospheric testing during those years, and the Laboratory says they were all captured on film by multiple …
Simon Sharwood, 17 Mar 2017
Marum Crater, Vanuatu, as depicted on Google Maps' Street View

Google Maps' Street View can now lead you into a bubbling lava lake

Google Maps' Street View can now show you the interior of an active volcano, complete with bubbling lava lake. This one's a feature, not a bug like Apple Maps' mistake that put a town of 30,000 people in the middle of a desert or Bing Maps' use of bad data from Wikipedia that led it to put a city of four million souls in the …
Simon Sharwood, 17 Mar 2017
Broken light bulb

Azure storage browns out for eight hours, nobody notices

Users of Microsoft's Azure storage service “may have experienced difficulties provisioning new resources or accessing their existing resources “ for over eight hours on Wednesday and Thursday. Azure storage was also tough to provision for a short time on Wednesday night. The first brownout hit the service's East US region, and …
Simon Sharwood, 17 Mar 2017

Microsoft kills Windows Vista on April 11: No security patches, no hot fixes, no support, nada

One of Microsoft's most hated operating systems (Windows ME is difficult to beat on that front) is destined to die in less than a month. Windows Vista, launched to a less-than-stellar reception on January 30, 2007, saw most of its support stopped back in 2012. On April 11 this year the hammer finally falls. Microsoft warned …
Iain Thomson, 17 Mar 2017

NASA swerves serious cash cuts – but Earth climate probes, asteroid snatcher face axe

While some government departments are facing swinging cuts in President Trump's "America First" proposed budget, NASA appears to have escaped lightly – so far. Funding was cut by $200m, and the total going to America's space agency is $19.1bn per year. Even so, NASA has had to cancel some popular programs. The mission to catch …
Iain Thomson, 16 Mar 2017
Android hanging

Google borks Nexus 6 with screwy over-the-air Android 7.0 downgrade

Google’s bad week continues with an emborkened Android update pushed to some Nexus 6 users. A serious cockup at the Chocolate Factory caused an over-the-air (OTA) downgrade to people who had side-loaded Android 7.1.1, dropping them back to Android 7.0 and sending their phones into meltdown. “It makes no sense," complained …

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