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The components of the Deep Flight Challenger. Image: Deep Flight

Branson sinks sub dream: Plan to explore Earth's bottom scrapped

Virgin boss Sir Richard Branson has halted plans to build submarines for deep-sea tourism. The Telegraph confirmed what Branson himself hinted at months ago: that the beardy Brit billionaire will has put on hold the Virgin Oceanic project. Branson had planned to construct a craft that would undertake a series of five dives to …
Shaun Nichols, 16 Dec 2014
Babel Fish

Microsoft whips out real-time translator for Skype calls

Microsoft has rolled out a public preview of Skype Translator, its long-ballyhooed service that provides Star Trek–style real-time translation for voice calls and online chats. "We've invested in speech recognition, automatic translation and machine learning technologies for more than a decade, and now they're emerging as …
Neil McAllister, 15 Dec 2014

Roll up, come see the BOOMING HACKER BAZAAR!

Underground hacker markets are booming with counterfeit documents, premiere credit cards, hacker tutorials, and "complete satisfaction guarantees", according to a new report from Dell SecureWorks. The means to create a false identity are easily purchased through the cracker bazaars. A fake social security card can be obtain for …
John Leyden, 15 Dec 2014

Microsoft, rivals together fight US govt's cloud data snatch

Microsoft has drummed up an impressive amount of support in its fight against the American government – which is demanding access to the US giant's servers in Ireland. Stateside prosecutors are trying to extract emails from systems on non-US soil using a search warrant obtained in a US court, and Microsoft is having none of it. …
Iain Thomson, 15 Dec 2014
A sinking ship

Pirate Bay admins 'couldn't care less' about police raid

Copyright infringement clearinghouse site The Pirate Bay may or may not return, but its admins aren't the slightest bit concerned about the police raid that downed it or the ensuing extended hiatus, according to one anonymous spokesperson. "We couldn't care less really," a Pirate Bay affiliate identified only as "Mr 10100100000 …
Neil McAllister, 15 Dec 2014

Senator: Backdoor for the Feds is a backdoor for hackers

A US Senator is urging Congress to pass laws forbidding Uncle Sam's spies from forcing software and hardware makers to build backdoors. In an op-ed posted in the LA Times, Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) said that there was no safe way to build backdoors into phones, tablets, computers and software without exposing them to hackers to …
Shaun Nichols, 15 Dec 2014
LHC cooling

Cool Large Hadron Collider to fire into doubly powerful ring

CERN boffins have started powering up their improved Large Hadron Collider – and say the particle accelerator will fire with twice the energy of its previous run by March. "With this new energy level, the LHC will open new horizons for physics and for future discoveries," said CERN Director-General Rolf Heuer. "I'm looking …
Iain Thomson, 15 Dec 2014
Tintri

Tintri adds Hyper-V to its virtualised server support

Hybrid flash/disk array upstart Tintri has added Hyper-V to its virtualised server support, to sit alongside its existing VMware and Red Hat Enterprise Virtualisation services. Tintri's schtick, apart from a ground-up design for its hybrid array VMstore hardware and Tintri OS software, is its presentation of storage as just …
Chris Mellor, 15 Dec 2014
EE 4G banner

BT to gobble EE for £12.5bn – BTEE phone home

+Comment BT is in talks to acquire EE for £12.5bn. BT had been eying up taking O2 from Telefonica. The former national telco said on Monday that it expects "significant synergies" from absorbing EE, mainly through cuts "network and IT rationalisation, back-office consolidation and savings on procurement, marketing and sales costs". BT …
Kat Hall, 15 Dec 2014
spiders crawl through tunnel of binary numbers

Google must free us from 'invisible web of our personal data' – DPA

Dutch data protection watchdogs have warned Google it will face fines of up to €15m if it doesn’t alter its privacy policy. In 2012, the search giant “consolidated” the privacy policies for 60 of its services including Google Search, YouTube, Gmail, Picasa, Google Drive, Google Docs and Google Maps, thereby combining personal …
Jennifer Baker, 15 Dec 2014
TalkTalk YouView set top box launch

TalkTalk customers demand opt-out fix for telco's DNS ad-jacking tactics

Budget ISP TalkTalk has been accused of forcing customers to remain opted into a so-called Error Replacement Service that swaps NXDomain DNS results with an IP address. The option to turn off the system has been busted for months now, but subscribers are still waiting for TalkTalk to fix the error with the Error Replacement …
Kelly Fiveash, 15 Dec 2014

We are never getting back to... Samsung's baking Apple's 14nm 'A9' chips?

A new generation of smaller, faster Apple processors is now under production by Samsung, including at Sammy's Texan facility, according to reports. While Apple and Samsung have a rather fraught relationship (mainly conducted through lawyers) Samsung’s components division is a major supplier to Cupertino. It’s not known what …
Simon Rockman, 15 Dec 2014
money notes lifted up

Private equity downs WAN furtler Riverbed in $3.6bn gulp

+Comment WAN optimiser and app speeder Riverbed is being bought by private equity house Thoma Bravo for $3.6bn. Riverbed failed to grow sufficiently and its business foundered somewhat, opening it up to the attentions of activist investor Elliott Management. That's the same investor that is pushing EMC for a VMware sell-off. In October …
Chris Mellor, 15 Dec 2014

Drive-making kingpin WD gobbles Skyera... to give to HGST

Rumour had it last month that WD was going to buy Skyera and rumour was right. WD subsidiary HGST is getting an early Christmas present with WD buying the all-flash array packing density king and assigning it to HGST. Skyera changed its CEO in August, with COO Frankie Roohparvar taking over from flash tech genius and co-founder …
Chris Mellor, 15 Dec 2014
Blackmail image

Next gen ransomware: Elliptic cryptic, talks on Tor, demands Bitcoin

Cybercrooks have brewed a strain of ransomware that uses elliptic curve cryptography for file encryption, and Tor for communication. The malware, dubbed OphionLocker, is spreading using a malicious advertising (malvertising) campaign featuring the RIG exploit kit. The ransomware encrypts files of particular types on infected …
John Leyden, 15 Dec 2014
Vittorio Colao (CEO)

Vodafone poised to ink chumship pact with T-Mobile and get back into US enterprise

Vodafone is poised to piggyback on T-Mobile US's network to get back into the American business market. The MVNO deal is aimed at offering US enterprises global coverage from Voda: the mobile telco has about 400 America-based multinationals as customers, and 500 companies headquartered outside the States but which have a large …
Simon Rockman, 15 Dec 2014

Heyyy, you seem to be trying to post a DRUNK PICTURE. You know your boss looks at this?

Facebook engineers have apparently began building a virtual assistant that might one day warn inebriated netizens against uploading embarrassing photos on the free-content ads platform. The company's one-year-old Artificial Intelligence research lab has been working on the project, according to WiReD magazine. Facebook's Yann …
Team Register, 15 Dec 2014
IT Crowd. Source: Channel 4 / 2entertain

'Shadow IT' gradually sapping power and budget from CIOs

The CIO's power over IT budgets is being slowly eroded, with spend now increasingly dispersed throughout organisations, according to a survey of 1,000 IT "decision-makers". The research from BT said CIOs now face a "Darwinian moment", with 76 per cent reporting unauthorized "shadow IT" within their businesses - an element that …
Kat Hall, 15 Dec 2014
Transporter

Imation rolls out the Barrall

Imation has recruited BlueArc and Drobo founder Dr. Geoff Barrall to its board. Barrall has an impressive storage, having founded BlueArc, a hardware-accelerated filer startup which was bought by HDS. Subsequently he was the founder and CEO of Data Robotics, the startup which produced the Drobo (Data Storage Robot), a CTO and …
Chris Mellor, 15 Dec 2014
Monty Python Wafer Thin Mints

Secretive Chinese smartmobe colossus Xiaomi is on WAFER thin margins

Chinese smartphone giant Xiaomi is operating on the thinnest of margins to keep its handset prices low, according to a filing with the Shenzhen Stock Exchange. The Chinese phone-maker, that’s creeping up on Western manufacturers, made a profit of $56.2m on $4.3bn in revenue last year. That gives the firm operating margins of …
Ryanair

Independent inquiry into British air-traffic-control IT nightmare

The UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) and the National Air Traffic Services (NATS) have today opened a joint independent enquiry into the IT cock-up which grounded hundreds of flights last week. On Friday London airspace was effectively shut down due to an IT failure at NATS. Sources told El Reg this was due to an IBM S/390 …
Kat Hall, 15 Dec 2014
Samsung_850_EVO

Samsung brings out new longer-lived 1TB Flash podule for PCs, notebooks

Just in time for Christmas, Samsung has taken its 3D enterprise SSD, added a bit per cell, and come out with a longer-lived 1TB SSD for PCs and notebooks. The triple-level cell (TLC), 3D V-NAND, 850 EVO SSD follows on from the planar (2D) TLC 840 EVO which also topped out at 1TB. This drive used 19nm NAND, whereas the 850 EVO is …
Chris Mellor, 15 Dec 2014

UK banks ill-prepared for return of the rabid POODLE

The latest evolution of a high-profile security flaw potentially exposes UK banks' web site traffic to eavesdropping. The POODLE (Padding Oracle On Downgraded Legacy Encryption) security flaw first surfaced in October and was thought to affect only the obsolete - but still widely used - Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) 3.0 crypto …
John Leyden, 15 Dec 2014
Our Playmonaut on the runway at Spaceport America

LOHAN's Plucky Playmonaut touches down at Spaceport America

Our plucky Playmonaut sensationally landed at Spaceport America in New Mexico last Thursday, although sadly not this time at the controls of the Register's soaraway Vulture 2 rocket ship. The diminutive Low Orbit Helium Assisted Navigator (LOHAN) pilot walked the tarmac of the fabled gateway to the heavens as myself and David …
Spam

Plusnet could face DATA BREACH probe over SPAM HELL gripes

Exclusive BT-owned Plusnet faces a possible data breach investigation by Britain's Information Commissioner's Office, after complaints from the ISP's customers about their email accounts being swamped by spam were dismissed. As The Register reported last week, an unknown number of subscribers expressed concern that their email accounts …
Kelly Fiveash, 15 Dec 2014
EE TV Freeview PVR

Four tuner frenzy: The all-you-can-EEat TV Freeview PVR

Review Television's a lot smarter than it used to be, and there's an ever-increasing number of ways that the basic experience can be enhanced, whether it's by providing extra Over-The-Top (OTT) content with services such as Netflix, or convenient features, such as the ability to set recordings when you're out and about, using text …
Nigel Whitfield, 15 Dec 2014

Win Server 2003 custom support: That's NOT going to be fun

Microsoft could make a mint from charging businesses for custom support once Windows Server 2003 goes end of life next summer - but it may not make financial sense or be that easy to do so. There are millions of servers globally still running the 13 year-old OS with one in five customers forecast to miss the 14 July deadline …
Paul Kunert, 15 Dec 2014
Parallel universe wormhole

Is there ANOTHER UNIVERSE headed BACKWARDS IN TIME?

Cosmologists reckon we could be sitting opposite an alternative universe where time is moving backwards, thanks to the Big Bang. Dr Julian Barbour of College Farm, Dr Tim Koslowski of the University of New Brunswick and Dr Flavio Mercati of the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics have tried to figure out the age-long …
Lindsay Dodgson, 15 Dec 2014
Candor Colles map

MARSQUAKES shook up range of hills in ancient lake bed

NASA and the US Geological Survey (USGS) reckon they've found evidence of ancient earthquakes on Mars. Or should that be Marsquakes? The evidence was spotted in the west Candor Chasma, one of the canyons in the Valles Marineris canyon system. The Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter's High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) …
Simon Sharwood, 15 Dec 2014
Containers

Parallels to adopt Docker as native app format in Cloud Server

The little virtualizer that can, Parallels, has been doing containerisation for ages: the company's Virtuozzo software has been running applications in silos that share an underlying operating system since at least 2007, when its predecessor company SWsoft decided to rename itself Parallels. SWsoft got its start in 2001. …
Simon Sharwood, 15 Dec 2014

Swiss McDonalds serves up no-holes-barred cheesy action to punters

Customers at a McDonald’s got to see an entirely different type of muffin from the ones on the menu, after staff mistakenly broadcast a blue movie on LCD screens at a fast food outlet. The filth-flick flesh fest occurred on Saturday night in the sleepy town of Zuckwil, north Switzerland and was first spotted - unsurprisingly - …
Paul Kunert, 15 Dec 2014
The Pirate Bay's new IsoHunt logo

Pirate Bay towed to oldpiratebay.org

Torrent site IsoHunt.to claims to have copied The Pirate Bay's database and has recreated a version of the site at oldpiratebay.org/. Isohunt's operators claim they've “copied the base of the PirateBay in order to save it to the generations of users.” Here's the rest of their proclamation. Isohunt's Pirate Bay manifesto …
Simon Sharwood, 15 Dec 2014
Uber logo

Uber surge pricing kicks in during Sydney siege

Update The central business district of Australia's largest city, Sydney, is today in lockdown after a man shut himself and around 40 people in a cafe. The man reportedly has a gun and has insisted his captives display a flag bearing Arabic script in the cafe's window. Authorities have asked locals not to visit the city. Several city …
Simon Sharwood, 15 Dec 2014
Free Realms

Sony to media: stop publishing our stolen stuff or we'll get nasty

Sony Pictures Entertainment has reportedly written a tersely-worded letter to lots of media outlets that have run stories based on material supposedly liberated from its servers. Any stroll through mainstream media today will encounter all manner of salacious celebrity gossip, much of it attributed to emails accessed during the …
Simon Sharwood, 15 Dec 2014
Smartphone user on Tube

BYOD: How to keep your data safe on their mobile devices

This article was produced in association with JAMF Software Bring your own device (BYOD) is a novel concept that perturbs cynics. And in some ways I can't really blame them. You appear to be saying to your users: “We are not going to give you a computer to work with. Instead we expect you to bring your own, and we will give you …
Dave Cartwright, 14 Dec 2014
Google Loon balloon envelope

French space agency teams with Google for broadband balloons

France's space agency, the Centre National d'Etudes Spatiales (CNES), will team with Google to advance the Project Loon broadband balloons project. As CNES points out, France has been messing around with balloons since the 1960s. Today the CNES has 60 staff working with balloons, the world's second-largest such program after the …
Simon Sharwood, 14 Dec 2014
Credit: Sony/Eon/MGM

Sony hackers PINCH early version of James Bond Spectre script

An early screenplay of the upcoming James Bond movie Spectre was stolen by hackers who ransacked Sony Pictures Entertainment's computer system, the film's producers confirmed on Saturday. Eon productions said in a statement on the official 007 website that a script had been leaked, after Sony's network suffered a massive …
Kelly Fiveash, 14 Dec 2014

Hold the front page: Spain's anti-Google lobbyists lobby for Google News return

Anti-Google lobby group the AEDE, which represents publishers in Spain, has asked the country's government to prevent the ad giant from shuttering its news-scraping service. The volte-face comes after Mountain View threatened on Thursday to kill Google News in Spain, because it argued that a clumsy, new intellectual property law …
Kelly Fiveash, 14 Dec 2014
Santa Claus on his laptop

HORRIFIED Amazon retailers fear GOING BUST after 1p pricing cockup

UK businesses that rely on a third party pricing system on Amazon were hit by an hour-long software glitch on Friday night, with items being sold for just 1p. Some retailers complained that RepricerExpress's technical cockup, which happened between 7pm and 8pm on 12 December, could leave them bankrupt. A number of small …
Team Register, 14 Dec 2014

Rosetta beams back colour pics: 67P shades of grey are SO HOT right now

Pic Astro boffins working on the European Space Agency's lauded Rosetta mission, which spectacularly landed a probot on a speeding space rock last month, have revealed that Comet 67P is, well, very grey. The ESA's OSIRIS team meticulously produced a colour image of 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko by superimposing photos "taken …
Kelly Fiveash, 14 Dec 2014

Iranian CLEAVER hackers may DRAIN energy and defence firms, warn Feds

Iranian hackers may be sniffing out education, defence and energy targets as part of a well-planned operation, the US Federal Bureau of Investigation has reportedly warned. A secret FBI document dubbed "Flash, seen by Reuters, offered advice to businesses on how to foil any such attacks. It comes after Cylance researchers …
Kelly Fiveash, 14 Dec 2014

Deprivation Britain: 1930s all over again? Codswallop!

Worstall @ the Weekend When cruising The Guardian for a fix of poverty porn, as I tend to do from time to time, I'm frequently amused by what some people will believe about the subject. This time I have to admit to having been amazed. For we've the flat-out assertion that we're about to be back in the 1930s. In some ways this might even be true: there …
Tim Worstall, 14 Dec 2014