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Plan B hoovers up NZ-based cloud outfit ICONZ

The UK’s Hip Hop and soul scene was left bereft today when it appeared that Brit award winning artist Plan B had coughed up an undisclosed sum to take over New Zealand-based ISP and hosting provider ICONZ. Fans of the East London rapper turned actor/director/soundtrack producer have been waiting almost six years for a follow- …
Joe Fay, 2 Feb 2016
Gridstore HCA

Backers fling cash at Gridstore for Hyper-V hyper-converged development

Gridstore, the Hyper-V-focused hyper-converged appliance startup, has snagged a $19m funding C-round. It also has a new chairman of the board and director plus three execs to help it push ahead. The funding comes after an $11m B-round in 2013 and comes from Atlantic Bridge Capital along with current investors: Acero Capital, …
Chris Mellor, 2 Feb 2016

Danish Sith Lord fined in Galactic Republic rumpus

The Vulture Central Star Wars Saddometer maxxed out at 10 today at the news that Danish police rushed to a house in Jutland over the weekend to break up a heated argument between two teenage lads regarding the exact strength of the Galactic Republic. According to The Local, cops rolled up at the premises in Fredericia at 5. …
Lester Haines, 2 Feb 2016

Lawyers cast fishing nets in class-action Seagate seas

Hear that siren? It's an ambulance chaser. Seagate is facing a class-action lawsuit from lawyers representing one pissed-off Barracuda disk drive user – and they want more people to join in. Acting on behalf of one Christopher A. Nelson of South Dakota, the lawyers say the drives failed more often than they should have been …
Chris Mellor, 2 Feb 2016
management cio2

UK govt right to outsource everything 15 years ago – civil service boss

The chief executive of the civil service, John Manzoni, has defended the government's decision to outsource everything 15 years ago, telling MPs it was "what everyone did at the time". Speaking at a Public Accounts Committee hearing yesterday, Manzoni said there was nothing wrong with outsourcing, but the government must now …
Kat Hall, 2 Feb 2016

GCHQ’s Xmas puzzle proves uncrackable

GCHQ’s Christmas puzzle has stumped the nation. The multi-stage cryptographic challenge was released in the GCHQ Christmas card and later published on the agency’s website. The first stage of the challenge involved completing a grid-shading puzzle to unveil a QR (Quick Response) code. This only led onto more and more …
John Leyden, 2 Feb 2016
Happy business people celebrate. Photo by Shutterstock

UK concerned over EU law plans on trade of data for digital content

The UK government has warned that EU proposals to extend consumer protection rules to businesses that supply digital content for free in return for access to consumers' data could "unduly inhibit" that "very innovative business model". In December last year the European Commission published a new draft directive on contracts …
OUT-LAW.COM, 2 Feb 2016

TalkTalk admits losing £60m and 101,000 customers after THAT hack

TalkTalk has reported a loss of £60m related to its major hack in October, attributing the write-off to IT costs and shedding 101,000 customers during its third quarter. The biz said the costs of restoring its online capability and enhancing security are expected to total £40m-£45m. It also took a £15m hit "arising from Q3 …
Kat Hall, 2 Feb 2016

Microsoft vs US.gov, Internet of Stuff, etc: What's up with 2015's legal cloudy issues?

Last year, I highlighted five legal issues for cloud firms and consumers to watch out for in 2015. Here’s a quick recap of how those topics developed during the year. 1. Microsoft and the US government go back to court Microsoft is taking a stand against the ability of US law to reach into its Dublin data centres and, against …
Battleship broadside

Syncer and (flash) shipper feeling chipper: We're going great guns

Private equity-owned file sync 'n' sharer Syncplicity and flash array shipper Kaminario both say they are doing well. Syncplicity was sold off by EMC to Skyview Capital last June, and focuses on enterprises and their mobile device users, paying attention to security needs. CEO Jonathan Huberman says Syncplicity's new bookings …
Chris Mellor, 2 Feb 2016
Boeing 747 lands at dusk. Photo via Shutterstock

Why the Sun is setting on the Boeing 747

Guy Gratton, Brunel University London It’s difficult to imagine now, in the age of mass global travel, that building an aeroplane to carry hundreds of people at a time was once seen as a huge risk. But as the world’s first wide-body airliner, the Boeing 747 went on to change not only aviation but the entire tourism industry. …

Brit boffins get green light to edit human genome

UK scientists have been given the green light to use the CRISPR gene editing technique to experiment on unused human embryos in what is described in a boon to biological research. The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) granted approval to London's Francis Crick Institute to explore the earliest moments of …
Darren Pauli, 2 Feb 2016
The MSI includes an extender for the power connector

Little warning: Deleting the wrong files may brick your Linux PC

Here's a friendly warning from El Reg: don't wipe the wrong directory from your Linux system, or you may end up bricking the computer. This has happened to people, we're told. The directory in question is /sys/firmware/efi/efivars which is a special filesystem that presents the configuration settings for the computer's …
win10_648

Windows 10 overtakes Windows 8.1's market share

Windows 10 overtakes Windows 8.1's market share It looks like Santa stuffed chimneys with new PCs last year Windows 10 has overtaken Windows 8.1's market share, according to all three of data sources we use to monitor such matters. For a couple of years now we've considered monthly desktop operating system market share from …
Boeing 737 Max

Boeing's X-Wing 737 makes first flight

Plane-maker Boeing has conducted the first test flight of the 737 MAX, the next version of the world's best-selling passenger airliner. The new plane offers the usual cocktail of new and lighter materials to keep weight and therefore costs down, along with technologies to keep the plane quiet and therefore less likely to annoy …
Car crash

Euro-security group ENISA notices cars are insecure, plots fixfest

ENISA, the European Union Agency for Network and Information Security, has noticed that computers, cars, and communications can result in insecurity, and is calling for participants in a new CarSEC expert group. With a focus on “Smart Cars and Intelligent Road Systems”, ENISA says it will keep the call for experts open for …

Chip chomped after debug backdoor found in Android phones

Budget smartphones from Lenovo, Huawei, and other largely Chinese brands contain an accidental backdoor that grants intruders root access. The confirmed affected smartphones run Chinese company MediaTek's MT6582 chipset and are exposed to unauthorised root access thanks to a debugging feature left over from development. The …
Darren Pauli, 2 Feb 2016
ExaNeSt Logo

Exascale project wants machine with TEN MEEELLION ARMS

Europe's ExaNeSt project is looking behind the couch for ten million ARM processors, to support its exascale supercomputing project. As well as a bucket of processing, what it's calling its “straw-man prototype” will use liquid cooling, Flash memory in the processor fabric, and will use “innovative, fast interconnects” to …

Google adds lots of cloudy flash, no sign of saviour

Google's a laggard in infrastructure-as-a-service: Amazon Web Services moved first and set agendas, then along came Microsoft with an unusually strong version 1.0 product that's just kept growing and adding features. IBM bought SoftLayer and is building cloud products at speed. The Alphabet subsidiary’s now third or fourth in …
NASA's Mike Krainak with the silicon-photonic chip

NASA preps silicon-photonic modem for space laser internet test

NASA's preparing the next step of its lasers-in-space optical communications strategy, announcing the development of a silicon photonic modem for space applications. The agency's engineering team is getting ready to build the modem, which integrates electrical and optical signalling and processing on a single chip. The news …
android_toys_648

Google plugs Android vulns

Five "critical," four "high" severity and one merely "moderate" bug make up the menu of Android security patches, which are now available for Nexus devices and will flow through to myriad other devices when it rains up instead of down. The critical bugs relate to Broadcom and Qualcomm WiFi drivers, Android's Mediaserver, …

Windows 10 will now automatically download and install on PCs

Microsoft said it would push Windows 10 upgrades onto people's PCs much harder this year – and Redmond has been true to its word. From Monday, Windows Update will start making the upgrade to version 10 of the operating system a recommended update, rather than an optional one, a spokesperson for the software giant confirmed. …
Iain Thomson, 2 Feb 2016

Sure, encrypt your email – while your shiny IoT toothbrush spies on you

Analysis The increasingly noisy debate over encryption is nothing to worry about, eggheads at Harvard have announced today: it's your toothbrush you need to worry about. In a 37-page paper titled Don't Panic: Making Progress on the 'Going Dark' Debate [PDF], a team from the Berkman Center has summarized discussions between themselves, …

Alphabet, cough, Google most valuable biz on Earth as it pours billions into 'other bets'

Alphabet, Google's new parent-holding-company-thing, has reported stellar end-of-year results: revenues in the final quarter of 2015 hit $21.3bn, and profit reached $4.9bn. The figures pushed Alphabet's stock price up eight per cent in after-hours trading, making it, for the moment, the most valuable company on the planet by …
Iain Thomson, 1 Feb 2016
EMC Cork's DSSD D5 unit

We've just stepped out of our time machine, and we can reveal ... EMC's new kit for early 2016

Analysis EMC has new storage products coming in both external shared array form and in its converged and hyper-converged systems lines of products, using new VSAN capabilities. These will be announced over the next two quarters and will change the shape of EMC's product lines. We think we now have an overall view of what the mainstream …
Chris Mellor, 1 Feb 2016
Prison

Secret Service Silk Road scammer in the slammer

Shaun Bridges, the ex-US Secret Service agent who fleeced Silk Road drug dealers during a probe into the cyber-souk, has managed to find a fire hotter than the frying pan he was already inhabiting. Bridges pleaded guilty in a San Francisco court in June, admitting his part in a scam that netted US820,000 in Bitcoins from Silk …

Hackers mirror 250GB of NASA files on the web

Updated Hackers have released online 250GB of data they claim they purloined from NASA systems. "So yeah, we know what you're thinking, hacking NASA? How fucking cliche... If only I had a Dogecoin for every time someone claimed that, amiright?" the group wrote in an online posting. "It's like the boy who cried wolf but with hacking …
Iain Thomson, 1 Feb 2016

US government's $6bn super firewall doesn't even monitor web traffic

The US government's firewall, named Einstein, is not as smart as its name would suggest. A report [PDF] by the General Accounting Office (GAO) into the National Cybersecurity Protection System (NCPS) has concluded that it is only "partially meeting its stated system objectives." Which is a polite way of saying it sucks. Among …
networking plugs

Safe Harbor crunch time: Today's the day to hammer out privacy deal

US and EC (European Commission) officials have until the end of the day today to reach a new Safe Harbor agreement or risk a breakdown of transatlantic e-commerce. Despite furious efforts over three months and, for the past few weeks, daily meetings between officials, the two sides are still reportedly at loggerheads over two …

CFEngine fixes default override irritants in 3.8.1 release

CFEngine has pumped out its latest update, v3.8.1, which should sort out some ongoing irritations with the def.json feature it introduced a couple of versions ago. The config management punter said it had introduced the def.json feature in version 3.7 for overriding the default configuration, mainly to make upgrades easier. " …
Joe Fay, 1 Feb 2016

How Symantec scuppered Veritas sell-off six ways to Sunday

A champagne bottle's crack, a splash, and cheers rang out as the good ship Veritas was launched on the banks of Symantec's river – sent off to steam the data storage seas own with a new owner: the Carlyle Group. It's had an inauspicious launch: Symantec had to cut the price tag for Veritas by $800m due to "uncertainties" and a …
Chris Mellor, 1 Feb 2016
Cell tower, view from below. Image by Shutterstock.com

Network builders: LTE costs will transform the cell tower biz in 2016

Analysis The vast cost of keeping up with demand for mobile data is intensifying the pressure on mobile operators’ capex budgets and accelerating their moves to improve their infrastructure cost base. Major agreements to share passive and active cell site equipment are becoming commonplace as regulators ease up on previous restrictions, …
Prince philip Thames barrier old control room photo Environment Agency

WirelessHART industrial control kit is riddled with security holes

Widely used WirelessHART-type industrial control products are wide open to exploitation, a security tools firm has warned. Applied Risk, an industrial control systems (ICS) security specialist, has discovered several weaknesses in various WirelessHART products. The vulnerabilities create the potential for hackers of various …
John Leyden, 1 Feb 2016
University of Manchester arts faculty building. Pic: Chad Kainz

Uni of Manchester IT director resigns after sacking 68 people

The University of Manchester's director of IT, Gerry Pennell, has resigned after three years in the role – with no explanation as to why. Former employees say that 56-year-old Pennell leaves the British uni with a severely understaffed IT services department: 68 jobs were axed in 2015, with the last of those having finally …

Microsoft: Yes, we are going to kill off Enterprise Agreements

Microsoft has confirmed it is to gradually kill off Enterprise Agreements - volume licensing contracts so complex that a whole profit-making asset management eco-system sprang up off the back of them. As we exclusively revealed, first evidence of this comes on 1 July when new commercial customers with sub-500 seats will no …
Paul Kunert, 1 Feb 2016
Dandelion, image via Shutterstock

Oracle hires cloud 'success' pushers, denies EMEA customers are floating away

Oracle is expanding its platform-as-a-service cloud team in Europe, but denied it is a move to revive renewals. The database giant confirmed it is hiring 150 people across EMEA to join the firm’s Customer "Success" programme under Carmen Romero. Oracle told The Register the move is in response to growing customer demand and …
Gavin Clarke, 1 Feb 2016
Eagle's head

Dutch cops train anti-drone eagle squadron

Dutch cops are mulling the idea of a drone-busting eagle squadron - one of a range of possible methods under consideration to wrest back control of the skies from UAV hordes. Trained eagles are apparently a deadly serious proposal, and police video released over the weekend shows talons can be effective weapons against a …
Lester Haines, 1 Feb 2016

Did water rocket threaten Brum airport Airbus?

The British Airline Pilots Association (BALPA) last week called for action to control the use of drones, citing several examples from the the latest UK Airprox Board report (PDF) of UAVs menacing airliners. The report contains details of seven such incidents, four of which fell into the most serious category A, "where a …
Lester Haines, 1 Feb 2016

Samsung trolls Google, adds adblockers to phones

Samsung has added built-in ad-blocking capabilities to its Android browser in its latest OTA (over-the-air) update to its Lollipop 5.0 devices, which include the Galaxy S6. Samsung’s internet browser now supports third-party ad-blockers such as Adblock Fast. Firefox’s browser supports ad-blocking plug-ins, while to firewall …

Chef reviews internal update plans after 'degradation incident'

Chef fans faced going hungry on Friday afternoon as the automation vendor’s hosted service degraded itself by having a little lie-down in the back pantry. Chef issued a mea culpa explaining the “Hosted Chef Service Degradation Incident”, which saw users presented with 404 errors at the end of “successful” Chef Client runs, or …
Joe Fay, 1 Feb 2016
Sharon White, new head of Ofcom, former Second Perm Sec at the Treasury

Ofcom's head is dead against Three and O2's merger

Ofcom chief exec Sharon White has decided to tell everyone what she really thinks about the possible £10.5bn merger between O2 and Three – and it turns out the regulator-in-chief is not a fan. Hong Kong’s CK Hutchison announced its intention to acquire O2 from Telefónica last year. However, the European Commission has opened …
Kat Hall, 1 Feb 2016
Super-villain Dr Evil puts finger to lip in scheming manner, asks for one million dollars. Pic: New Line Cinema

Lincolnshire council IT ransomware flingers asked for ... £350

Lincolnshire County Council's IT is back up and running after the council shut everything down last week following a ransomware attack in which the attackers turned out to have asked for a mere £350. Despite the BBC reporting that the council had been hit by a £1m ransom, a spokesperson told The Register that it had only been …