Remember how in Command & Conquer: Red Alert 2 you could produce anti-ship dolphin units with some sort of sonic cannon strapped to their backs? How we laughed. But more than a decade later, Register headlines like "US Navy dolphins, sea lions hunt rogue robo-subs" and "Dolphins inspire ultrasonic attacks that pwn smartphones, cars and digital assistants" became so commonplace that it was clear the real-time strategy game wasn't joking. World militaries actually train dolphins for all sorts of naval niftiness. Now Military.com, a news website centred on the US Armed Forces, has spilled the beans on something that feels like it should be highly classified. "Militarized Dolphins Protect Almost a Quarter of the US Nuclear Stockpile," the headline shrugs. Uncle Sam has 9,962 nuclear warheads at his disposal if he wished to make life on Earth considerably worse than it already is. Military.com says "roughly 25 per cent" of this stockpile is housed at Naval Base Kitsap in Washington state, some 20 miles (32km) from Seattle. That's around 2,500 (give or take) doses of deterrent sitting in Puget Sound – and the single largest collection of nuclear weapons in the world. Robot vacuum cleaner employed by Brit budget hotel chain Travelodge flees Dog forgets all about risk of drowning in a marsh as soon as drone dangles a sausage Weed dispensary software company's ambitions pruned after Spotify trademark clash Yule goat's five-year flame-free streak ends ignominiously So you'd expect security to be tight. But who did they shove on the front line? These guys (NSFW). OK, that rather lewd example of the breed appears to be some sort of river dolphin (aka nightmare fuel). And the use of... "tools" is a major sign of intelligence among animals. So yes, dolphins are highly trainable, but what do they actually do at Kitsap? Per Miltary.com: 'Find any enemy divers?' 'No mate, I just attach buoys to kelp fronds and watch the chaos unfold. They still give me fish.' Fascinating stuff. But we'd be interested to know how often a Kitsap dolphin finds mines or enemy divers within a reasonable distance of the stockpile, and surprised if a threat were
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Review Visual Studio goes back a long way. Microsoft always had its own programming languages and tools, beginning with Microsoft Basic in 1975 and Microsoft C 1.0 in 1983. The Visual Studio idea came from two main sources. In the early days, Windows applications were coded and compiled using MS-DOS, and there was a MS-DOS IDE called Programmer's Workbench (PWB, first released 1989). The company also came up Visual Basic (VB, first released 1991), which unlike Microsoft C++ had a Windows IDE. Perhaps inspired by VB, Microsoft delivered Visual C++ 1.0 in 1993, replacing the little-used PWB. Visual Studio itself was introduced in 1997, though it was more of a bundle of different Windows development tools initially. The first Visual Studio to integrate C++ and Visual Basic (in .NET guise) development into the same IDE was Visual Studio .NET in 2002, 20 years ago, and this perhaps is the true ancestor of today's IDE. A big change in VS 2022, released November, is that it is the first vers
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To evoke support for growing things, not the 1990s vendor of web-pages-made-easy-ware LogoWatch Newly combined security outfits McAfee and FireEye have revealed a new name: "Trellix". Readers may find the name familiar, as another tech company used the same name in the 1990s and early 2000s when it offered intranet and web published tools such as Trellix Web. In 2001, this press release announced that Trellix had licensed tech from a company called Pyra Labs, which operated a service called "Blogger". Yes, that Blogger – the platform Google acquired in 2003 and which was quickly found to have serious security problems. A year after the Pyra Labs news, we reported that Trellix was acquired by Interland, which rated it as possessing "the best technology in terms of novice users creating professional quality websites". If your hair isn't already gray, 2022's security threats will get it there, warn infosec duo UK competition watchdog unveils principles to make a kinder antivirus business FireEye sold to McAfee's new owners for $1.2bn as Mandiant split into standalone firm again McAfee to offload enterprise business for $4bn, focus on consumer security Symphony Technology Group (STG), which owns McAfee and FireEye, doesn't want you to remember that incarnation of Trellix. Instead it wants you to ponder "the structure of a trellis, a strong and safe framework used to support structured growth of climbing plants and trees". The x-factor is Trellix's plan to offer extended detection and response tech (XDR) that uses AI to enable "living security" that changes as needed … and of course is desperately needed given the hordes of threats hiding in the weeds of the internet. Left unsaid is that trellises are often overwhelmed by the plants they support. Your correspondent has experience of watching woodwork endure slow strangulation and deformation by a large wisteria, and a rampant bougainvillea that sent a loved one to hospital … But we digress. Trellix has sown its website with many references to the need for security to be a living, growing, thing, and suggested its products are just the fertiliser you need to harvest a rich crop of safety and compliance. Trellix's logo speaks for itself – which is sad because The Register loves it when Brandologists attempt to explain their typographical choices. Trellix's logo. Click to enlarge We may have another chance for that sort of thing soon, as STG has promised that later this quarter it will spin out a new company that will offer McAfee's Enterprise Secure Service Edge (SSE) Cloud Access Security Broker (CASB), Secure Web Gateway (SWG) and Zero Trust Network Access (ZTNA). ® Other stories you might like Red Cross forced to shutter family reunion service following cyberattack and data leak Director-general pleads with cyber-scum: leave this data alone, because the people involved have suffered enough Humanitarian organization the International Red Cross disclosed this week that it has fallen foul of a cyberattack that saw the data of over 515,000 "highly vulnerable people" exposed to an unknown entity.The target of the attack was the organisation's Restoring Family Links operation, which strives to find missing persons and reunite those separated from their families due to armed conflict, migration, disaster, detention and other catastrophic events. The service is free, but is currently offline.Among the stolen data were names, locations, and contact information. The org said the data originated from at least 60 Red Cross and Red Crescent National Societies around the world. Continue reading Singapore gives banks two-week deadline to fix SMS security Edict follows widespread bank phishing scam claiming well over $6.3 million A widespread phishing operation targeting Southeast Asia's second-largest bank – Oversea-Chinese Banking Corporation (OCBC) – has prompted the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) to introduce regulations for internet banking that include use of an SMS Sender ID registry.Singapore banks have two weeks to remove clickable links in text messages or e-mails sent to retail customers. Furthermore, activation of a soft token on a mobile device will require a 12-hour cooling off period, customers must be notified of any request to change their contact details, and fund transfer threshold will by default be set to SG$100 ($74) or lower.MAS has also offered a vague directive requiring banks to issue more scam education alerts, and to do so more often. Continue reading APNIC: Big Tech's use of carrier-grade NAT is holding back internet innovation IPv4 limits apps to simple interactions, and in 2021 IPv6 adoption growth was just three per cent Carriers and Big Tech are happily continuing to use network address translation (NAT) and IPv4 to protect their investments, with the result that transition to IPv6 is glacial while the entire internet is shaped in the image of incumbent players.That's the opinion of Geoff Huston, chief scientist at regional internet registry the Asia Pacific Network Information Centre (APNIC).Huston's opinion was published in the conclusion to a lengthy post titled "IP addressing in 2021" that reports on IPv4 and IPv6 usage across last year. Continue reading Google sours on legacy G Suite freeloaders, demands fee or flee Free incarnation of online app package, which became Workplace, is going away Google has served eviction notices to its legacy G Suite squatters: the free service will no longer be available in four months and existing users can either pay for a Google Workspace subscription or export their data and take their not particularly valuable businesses elsewhere."If you have the G Suite legacy free edition, you need to upgrade to a paid Google Workspace subscription to keep your services," the company said in a recently revised support document. "The G Suite legacy free edition will no longer be available starting May 1, 2022." Continue reading SpaceX Starlink sat streaks now present in nearly a fifth of all astronomical images snapped by Caltech telescope Annoying, maybe – but totally ruining this science, maybe not SpaceX’s Starlink satellites appear in about a fifth of all images snapped by the Zwicky Transient Facility (ZTF), a camera attached to the Samuel Oschin Telescope in California, which is used by astronomers to study supernovae, gamma ray bursts, asteroids, and suchlike.A study led by Przemek Mróz, a former postdoc
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A group of former Oracle executives with roles across its software compliance teams have described the close links between Big Red's auditing process and its drive to increase revenue. Speaking during a webinar broadcast last week, Adi Ahaja, senior director of Palisade Compliance and former Oracle licence management services (LMS) manager, said that Oracle's audit has become "a sales enablement tool." [S]ales has far more power within Oracle than the audit team. If sales want something done, they get their way Oracle's website says Oracle LMS "operates independently from any ongoing commercial discussions. Our services are delivered by a global team of highly experienced and knowledgeable consultants who collectively offer unrivaled knowledge on all aspects of Oracle's licensing policy." However, in practice there was a close relationship between sales and licence audits, Ahaja said. "There are sales goals that are based on audit numbers and how much revenue comes from auditing customers. It's not like they're just doing it in a vacuum. Typically, [auditors] get permission or approval from the [sales] team, so they're aware; and sales has far more power within Oracle than the audit team. If sales want something done, they get their way. A lot of the time what the audit has become is a sales enablement tool. The auditor goes in, finds some leverages and hand that to the sales team and you negotiate with them." Ahaja was speaking at a webinar by Palisade Compliance, a company that advises and represents Oracle customers in issues and disputes around licensing Big Red's software. Speaking on the call, Craig Guarente, Palisade CEO and former Oracle veep in the LMS team, said the participants represented 50 years of experience in dealing with Oracle licensing practices. He noted that there was nothing illegal about Oracle, or any company, using auditing to drive revenue. However, Ryan Bendana, Palisade Compliance director of delivery, said Oracle's LMS were there to help sales teams facilitate conversations. "Oracle has a lot of sales reps and they're all very hungry and they're all chomping at the bit to try to sell somet
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Veteran Microsoft vice president, Brad Silverberg, has paid tribute to former Microsoft boss Bill Gates for saving Windows 95 from the clutches of the Redmond Axe-swinger. Silverberg posted his comment in a Twitter exchange started by Fast co-founder Allison Barr Allen regarding somebody who'd changed your life. Silverberg responded "Bill Gates" and, in response to a question from senior cybersecurity professional and director at Microsoft, Ashanka Iddya, explained Gates' role in Windows 95's survival. Bill saved Win 95 from being killed internally. He was our patron and I am forever gratefu
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Digital transformation projects are being held back by a lack of skills, according to a new survey, which finds that while many employers believe they are doing well at training up existing staff to meet the requirements, their employees beg to differ. Skills shortages are nothing new, but the Talent Transformation Global Impact report from research firm Ipsos on behalf of online learning provider Udacity indicates that although digital transformation initiatives are stalling due to a lack of digital talent, enterprises are becoming increasingly out of touch with what their employees need to
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Frustrated at lack of activity from the "standard setting" UK Cyber Security Council, the government wants to pass new laws making it into the statutory regulator of the UK infosec trade. Government plans, quietly announced in a consultation document issued last week, include a formal register of infosec practitioners – meaning security specialists could be struck off or barred from working if they don't meet "competence and ethical requirements." The proposed setup sounds very similar to the General Medical Council and its register of doctors allowed to practice medicine in the UK. Officials in the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) even linked their new professional regulation plans with future Computer Misuse Act amendments, floating the idea that people who aren't UKCSC-registered professionals might not be able to claim any new legal defences. Part of the new National Cyber Strategy launched late last year is for there to be a government-controlled body "at the top of the profession" in the UK. At the moment everyone's running with a hotchpotch of industry-created certifications for staff, with companies passing NCSC-backed audits for access to sensitive government contracts. UKCSC is intended to impose a single UK-specific structure on all of that. Yet over the past year it appears UKCSC hasn't achieved very much, with official disapproval of this being all but buried in a very long public consultation document titled "embedding standards and pathways across the cyber profession by 2025." UK mulls making MSPs subject to mandatory security standards where they provide critical infrastructure NortonLifeLock and Avast tie-up falls under UK competition regulator's spotlight Volunteer Dutch flaw finders bag $100k to forward national bug bounty goal Info-saturated techie builds bug alert service that phones you to warn of new vulns "We have heard through engagement that providing recognition of the UK Cyber Security Council through legislative underpinning would further support its role as the standard setting body for the profession," said the consultation, adding that UKCSC has received "grant funding for the first four years of operation to allow it to develop a business model." A suspicious person might think industry appears to be ignoring the self-declared "voice of the cyber securit
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The James Webb Space Telescope, the largest and most complex space observatory built by NASA, has reached its final destination: L2, the second Sun-Earth Lagrange point, an orbit located about a million miles away. Mission control sent instructions to fire the telescope's thrusters at 1400 EST (1900 UTC) on Monday. The small boost increased its speed by about 3.6 miles per hour to send it to L2, where it will orbit the Sun in line with Earth for the foreseeable future. It takes about 180 days to complete an L2 orbit, Amber Straughn, deputy project scientist for Webb Science Communications at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, said during a live briefing. "Webb, welcome home!" blurted NASA's Administrator Bill Nelson. "Congratulations to the team for all of their hard work ensuring Webb's safe arrival at L2 today. We're one step closer to uncovering the mysteries of the universe. And I can't wait to see Webb's first new views of the universe this summer." Astronomers have waited a quarter of a century for the JWST to come into fruition since development began in 1996. NASA collaborated with ESA and Canada's space agency for years to plan, design, and build the spacecraft, figure out its mission, and blow through a whopping $10bn in funding. Although the JWST has finally reached L2 after it was launched on December 25, it still needs to complete a number of tasks before it can begin observing some of the most distant objects in the universe. NASA is waiting for its instruments to cool down to a low enough temperature before they can operate most efficiently. The primary mirror and secondary was unfurled this month, as well as the telescope's 21.197 m x 14.162 m (69.5 ft x 46.5 ft) sun shield. Almost there: James Webb Space Telescope frees its mirrors and prepares for insertion The James Webb Space Telescope has only gone and deployed its primary mirror A moment of tension as the James Webb Space Telescope stretches sunshield on way to L2 destination Confirmed: James Webb Space Telescope team plans launch for this Xmas Eve after data cable fix "During the past month, JWST has achieved amazing success and is a tribute to all the folks who spent many years and even decades to ensure mission success," Bill Ochs, Webb project manager at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, said in a statement. "We are now on the verge of aligning the mirrors, instrument activation and commissioning, and the start of wondrous and astonishing discoveries." The alignment and calibration to get all 18 mirror panels to fit perfectly together with no gaps is a painstaking process that will take months to complete, Scarlin Hernandez, a Webb Flight Systems Engineer at the Space Telescope Science Institute, explained in the briefing. Hundreds of motors have to nudge the hefty mirrors by distances as small as a few nanometres to create the best possible surface to reflect infrared light into the telescope's cameras. The JWST is expected to operate for about 20 years, NASA said. It will give astronomers the deepest and widest view of the observable universe yet, allowing them to study the first stars and galaxies that formed just
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IBM has confirmed that a new model of its Z Series mainframes will arrive “late in the first half” of 2022 and emphasised the new device’s debut as a source of improved revenue for the company’s infrastructure business. CFO James Kavanaugh put the release on the roadmap during Big Blue’s Q4 2021 earnings call on Monday. The CFO suggested the new release will make a positive impact on IBM’s revenue, which came in at $16.7 billion for the quarter and $57.35bn for the year. The Q4 number was up 6.5 per cent year on year, the annual number was a $2.2bn jump. Kavanaugh mentioned the mainframe because revenue from the big iron was down four points in the quarter, a dip that Big Blue attributed to the fact that its last mainframe – the Z15 – emerged in 2019 and the sales cycle has naturally ebbed after eleven quarters of sales. But what a sales cycle it was: IBM says the Z15 has done better than its predecessor and seen shipments that can power more MIPS (Millions of Instructions Per Second) than in any previous program in the company’s history*. A new mainframe always brings a surge of revenue to IBM because plenty of clients are wedded to the systems and upgrades are therefore natural. As our sibling publication The Next Platform has reported, the next Big Blue mainframe seems set to run silicon called “Telum” packs as 22.5 billion transistors, is built on a 7-nanometre process, and will be especially adept at handling AI inference workloads. IBM uses that kind of power to lure new customers into its mainframe ecosystem. Big Blue also advances mainframes as excellent components of a hybrid cloud environment – the paradigm new-ish CEO Arvind Krishna said is IBM’s new focus on his first day in the job. After four bans, TikTok finally passes the Pakistan challenge IBM forges entanglement to double quantum simulations by 'cutting up a larger circuit into smaller circuits' How's 2022 going for you so far? Hopefully better than it is for IBM Cloud IBM bosses wrongly sacked channel salesman after Tech Data joint venture failed, tribunal rules On the earnings call, Krishna said IBM clients are “eager to leverage hybrid cloud and artificial intelligence to move their business forward.” The new mainframe looks like it will tick both of those boxes. While IBM investors wait for the new machine and its impact on Big Blue’s bottom line they can contemplate that Q4 saw software revenue rise eight per cent, consulting revenue climb 13 points, but infrastructure stay flat and hybrid cloud infrastructure revenue fall 12 per cent. But overall hybrid cloud revenue jumped 16 per cent for the quarter and 20 per cent for the year, to top $20bn in sales. Execs suggested robust storage revenue means IBM’s infrastructure portfolio is in fine shape, while Red Hat’s 21 per cent revenue rise shows the company has in-demand tools for buyers seeking IT automation, security, hybrid cloud, and cloud-native development tools. Krishna suggested automation could be especially important to IBM, as he sees clients turn to it more often as the COVID-19 pandemic has seen many leave the IT workforce. He p
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As the right to repair movement gathers pace, Korea’s LG has decided to make sure that its whitegoods can be upgraded. The company today announced a scheme called “Evolving Appliances For You.” The plan is sketchy: LG has outlined a scenario in which a customer who moves to a locale with climate markedly different to their previous home could use LG’s ThingQ app to upgrade their clothes dryer with new software that makes the appliance better suited to prevailing conditions and to the kind of fabrics you’d wear in a hotter or colder climes. The drier could also get new hardware to handle its new location. An image distributed by LG shows off the ability to change the tune a dryer p
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Bork!Bork!Bork! Back by unexpectedly popular demand, Bork takes a vacation to Vegas for an Elvis Presley tribute act. Register reader Roger was in the audience for one of the final shows in a run of
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6.6-rated rumble joins fire, snow, plague, and trade war as source of recent semiconductor supply chain SNAFUs A 6.6 magnitude earthquake that hit southwestern Japan around 1:00 AM last Saturday has led to the closing of Toshiba’s Oita semiconductor plant. The Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA) said the 'quake may have caused significant shaking, making it difficult to walk unassisted and causing items on shelves to fall. The agency also warned that more tremors and earthquakes could occur in the immediate days following the seismic activity. Reports soon surf
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US scientists have discovered that black holes can create as well as destroy, as the observed hot gas emitted from such a void in a dwarf galaxy could have contributed to the birth of stars. A paper
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Could clean up dispute over who collects tax and when, but unlikely to worry outsourcing rivals Pakistan’s minister for IT and Telecom, Syed Aminul Haque, has floated the idea of a ten-year tax holiday for freelancers, suggesting the move could improve the nation’s services exports. The idea was mentioned in Pakistan's 2021 Draft Freelancing Policy [PDF] and the minister minister raised the idea again last week at a meeting of Pakistan’s Committee on IT Exports Growth, a forum whose name says a lot about what the nation hopes to achieve with the policy. In 2020 Pakistan revealed a plan to grow tech services exports from $1.25bn to $5bn within three years. Yesterday, the Ministry for IT and Telecom revealed good progress towards that goal. The net #exports for the period July-December FY2021-22 are US$ 972 million which is 74.65% of US$ 1.302 billion in exports. Last year, for the same period the net exports were US$ 681 million which was 71.01% of US$ 959 million in exports.#MOITT #DigitalPakistan — Ministry of IT & Telecom (@MoitOfficial) January 23, 2022 Those posts generated responses pointing out that Pakistan’s tech exports are less than one percent of neighbouring India’s. Pakistan also has a poor track record of creating companies to match the likes of Indian tech services giants Wipro, HCl, TCS or Infosys – all of which have substantial head starts in building global presences, methodologies, and alliances. After four bans, TikTok finally passes the Pakistan challenge Pakistan's tax office denies pirated software caused outage – admits it sometimes runs unsupported software Indian government committee slams 'gross misuse' of internet shutdowns – even in Kashmir Huawei stole our tech and created a 'backdoor' to spy on Pakistan, claims IT biz Pakistan has therefore focused on freelancers as its route to winning tech exports, suggesting that locals can use freelance platforms to start micro-businesses. The draft policy suggested Pakistan could even provide subsidized broadband and health insurance to r
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Arm has made available for testing prototypes of its Morello architecture, aimed at bringing features into the design of CPUs that provide greater robustness and make them resistant to certain attack vectors. If it performs as expected, it will likely become a fundamental part of future processor designs. The Morello programme involves Arm collaborating with the University of Cambridge and others in tech to develop a processor architecture that is intended to be fundamentally more secure. Morello prototype boards are now being released for testing by developers and security specialists, based on a prototype system-on-chip (SoC) that Arm has built. Arm said that the limited-edition evaluation boards are based on the Morello prototype architecture embedded into an Armv8.2-A processor. This is an adaptation of the architecture in the Arm Neoverse N1 design aimed at data centre workloads. The boards are being handed for evaluation to major stakeholders in the programme such as Google and Microsoft, but also to other interested partners in both the industry and academia via the UK Research and Innovation Digital Security by Design (DSbD) initiative, Arm disclosed. How does £36m sound, mon CHERI? UK.gov pumps cash into Arm security research READ MORE Security capabilities in t
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Facebook owner Meta is building the world's largest AI supercomputer to power machine-learning research that will bring the metaverse to life in the future, it claimed on Monday. The new super – dubbed the Research Super Computer, or RSC – will contain 16,000 Nvidia A100 GPUs and 4,000 AMD Epyc Rome 7742 processors. Each compute node is an Nvidia DGX-A100 system, containing eight GPU chips and two Epyc microprocessors, totaling 2,000 nodes. It's expected to hit a peak performance of 5 exaFLOPS at mixed precision – FP16 and FP32 – and use a data-caching system that can feed in 16 terabytes per second of training information from 1EB of storage, we're told. RSC is being built with the help of Penguin Computing, a HPC supplier based in California, who will provide the infrastructure and managed security. "Meta has developed what we believe is the world's fastest AI supercomputer," CEO Mark Zuckerberg said in a statement to The Register. "We're calling it RSC for AI Research SuperCluster and it'll be complete later this year. The experiences we're building for the metaverse require enormous compute power (quintillions of operations / second) and RSC will enable new AI models that can learn from trillions of examples, understand hundreds of languages, and more." Nvidia confirmed the cluster is expected to be the largest customer installation of DGX A100 systems once it's fully built and up-and-running by mid-2022. "RSC took just 18 months to go from an idea on paper to a working AI supercomputer," Nvidia said. At the moment, however, RSC is less flashy, delivering 1,895 PFLOPS of TF32 performance. It's right now made up of 760 Nvidia DGX-A100 systems containing a total 1,520 AMD Rome 7742 processors and 6,080 GPUs. Each GPU is connected via Nvidia's Quantum InfiniBand, which is capable of shuttling data back and forth at 200 gigabytes per second. Also right now it can store 175 petabytes in Pure Storage FlashArray hardware, 46 petabytes in a cache storage, and 10 petabytes in Pure's FlashBlade equipment. RSC is estimated to be 9X faster than Meta's previous research cluster, made up of 22,000 of Nvidia's older genera
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In brief Twitter's head of security and CISO both ejected from the social media biz this month. Infosec guru Mudge, aka Peiter Zatko, joined Twitter in 2020 in the aftermath of 130 high-profile accounts, including those of Elon Musk, Bill Gates, Barack Obama, and Joe Biden, being hijacked by miscreants. You may remember Mudge as an original member of The Cult of the Dead Cow and L0pht. He's now out of the micro-blogging site, as is CISO Rinki Sethi, who was also recruited in 2020 to fix up Twitter's security. According to an internal memo seen by the New York Times, both are the latest victims of new CEO Parag Agrawal's move to remake the business under his management after Jack Dorsey's resignation. Presumably both got golden parachutes, and they won't have problems finding new employment. Mudge's exploits are legendary, and Sethi is one of the most highly regarded security folk in Silicon Valley, with stints at eBay, IBM, and Palo Alto Networks. She confirmed the move on Friday. The move raised eyebrows in the security community, along with speculation as to why they left: it doesn't quite appear voluntary. New CEOs like to put their own stamps on a company, and some have suggested the new direction might be down to personal differences on certain technologies – such as cryptocurrencies and blockchains, which Twitter is showing a sudden interest in. i genuinely hope this happened because mudge told the CEO that the crypto stuff is dumb as hell and the CEO was like “yeah well you are fired, who’s the dumb one now?!” https://t.co/8lrlLgQspK — can "it's my real name" duruk (@can) January 21, 2022 Certainly the response so far hasn't been good. US government agencies are using a 35-year-old surveillance law to quietly get meta-data – such as IP addresses and numbers contacted – from WhatsApp for targets of investigations – Forbes Malicious bootkit code dubbed MoonBounce has been discovered in some UEFI firmware, is designed to inject user-mode malware into the running environment, and is linked to Chinese-speaking APT41 – Kaspersky Hacktivists in Belarus claim they have infected the network of the country's rai
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Two lawsuits have been filed in the past two weeks against farm equipment maker Deere & Company for allegedly violating antitrust laws by unlawfully monopolizing the tractor repair market. The first [PDF] was filed on January 12 in Illinois on behalf of Forest River Farms, a farming business based in North Dakota; the second, was filed in Alabama last week on behalf of farmer Trinity Dale Wells [PDF]. The lawsuits each claim what right-to-repair advocates have been saying for years: that Deere & Co., maker of John Deere brand farming equipment, denies customers the ability to repair and maintain their own agricultural machinery. "Farmers have traditionally had the ability to repair and maintain their own tractors as needed, or else have had the option to bring their tractors to an
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The Attorneys General of Indiana, Texas, and Washington DC on Monday each filed lawsuits against Google alleging that the search giant uses deceptive user interface designs known as "dark patterns" to obtain customer location data without adequate consent. "We're leading a bipartisan group of AGs from Texas, Indiana, [and] Washington, each suing in state court to hold Google accountable," said Karl Racine, Attorney General of Washington DC, in a statement via Twitter. "We're seeking to stop Google’s illegal use of 'dark patterns' [and] claw back profits made from location data." Dark patterns is a term for describing user interface design that is intended to produce a specific response, such as making the button to consent to data sharing more visually appealing than the button to rejec
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Julian Assange has won a technical victory in his ongoing battle against extradition from the UK to the United States, buying him a few more months in the relative safety of Her Majesty's Prison Belmarsh. Today at London's High Court, the Lord Chief Justice of England and Wales Lord Burnett approved a question on a technical point of law, having refused Assange immediate permission to appeal to the UK Supreme Court. The WikiLeaker's lawyers had asked for formal permission to pose this legal conundrum about Assange's likely treatment in US prisons to the Supreme Court: The Lord Chief Justice, presiding, refused – saying Assange's lawyers would have to ask the Supreme Court directly within 14 days. A densely procedural step that in practical terms, assuming Assange's team takes the question to the Supreme Court, will halt the extradition proceedings for a few months while the legal system comes to a decision, if it decides to consider the point of law. In December Lord Burnett formally accepted previous US assurances that Assange would be treated humanely, rejecting his legal team's claims that incarcerating him in an American prison would breach Britain's human rights laws. Pris
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MLM firm Herbalife, which sells diet-linked products but styles itself as a "nutrition company", has accused one of its former execs of cutting a "fraudulent" $20m deal with a Dell reseller. Herbalife's headquarters in Los Angeles The company details its accusations in a breach of contract complaint [PDF] it filed in California federal court on Monday 17 January, which also alleges that reseller Eastern Computer Exchange breached both a non-disclosure agreement (NDA) and a master services agreement (MSA) it signed with Herbalife. Herbalife's main claims are that the Connecticut-based Eastern and Pennsylvania local Gerry Berg, who was Herbalife's vice president of Infrastructure & Operations, conspired to provide the reseller with "an unfair advantage to the detriment of Herbalife." It also details claims that Berg had worked with Eastern during previous employment. The company said in the complaint that it had "robust procurement policies and procedures" that all employees must follow, detailing Project Authorization Requests, approved purchase requisitions and – ultimately – a purchase order through an Oracle database, with multiple stages at which written permission had to be entered by management. It also claims Berg gave Eastern "confidential information" regarding its Business continuity and disaster recovery (BCDR) strategy that the company pitched for, but which Herbalife says was never approved. Eastern had pitched a pair of on-prem solutions to the firm, it says in the legal doc: The complaint goes on to allege that Berg organized a meeting with Eastern's bigwigs without the knowledge of Herbalife's board, agreeing to the alleg
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Most distros haven't got to 5.15 yet, but openSUSE's downstream project GeckoLinux boasts 5.16 of the Linux kernel and the latest Cinnamon desktop environment. Some of the big-name distros have lots of downstream projects. Debian has been around for decades so has umpteen, including Ubuntu, which has dozens of its own, including Linux Mint, which is arguably more popular a desktop than its parent. Some have only a few, such as Fedora. As far as we know, openSUSE has just the one – GeckoLinux. The SUSE-sponsored community distro has two main editions, the stable Leap, which has a slow-moving release cycle synched with the commercial SUSE Linux Enterprise; and Tumbleweed, its rolling-release distro, which gets substantial updates pretty much every day. GeckoLinux does its own editions of both: its remix of Leap is called "GeckoLinux Static", and its remix of Tumbleweed is called "GeckoLinux Rolling". In some ways, GeckoLinux is to openSUSE as Mint is to Ubuntu. They take the upstream distro and change a few things around to give what they feel is a better desktop experience. So, while openSUSE has a unified installation disk image, which lets you pick which desktop you want, GeckoLinux uses a more Ubuntu-like model. Each disk image is a Live image, so you boot right into the desktop, give it a try, and only then install if you like what you see. That means that GeckoLinux offers multiple different disk images, one per desktop. It uses the Calamares cross-distro instal
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It's coming. Microsoft is preparing to start shoveling the latest version of Windows 10 down the throats of refuseniks still clinging to older incarnations. The Windows Update team gave the heads-up through its Twitter orifice last week. Windows 10 2004 was already on its last gasp, have had support terminated in December. 20H2, on the other hand, should be good to go until May this year. We started the first phase in the Windows 10, version 21H2 rollout for machine learning (ML) t
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The latest version of an old friend of the jobbing support bod has delivered a new kernel to help with fixing Microsoft's finest. It used to be called the System Rescue CD, but who uses CDs any more? Enter SystemRescue, an ISO image that you can burn, or just drop onto your Ventoy USB key, and which may help you to fix a borked Windows box. Or a borked Linux box, come to that. SystemRescue 9 includes Linux kernel 5.15 and a minimal Xfce 4.16 desktop (which isn't loaded by default). There is a modest selection of GUI tools: Firefox, VNC and RDP clients and servers, and various connectivity too
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MediaTek claims to have given the world's first live demo of Wi-Fi 7, and said that the upcoming wireless technology will be able to challenge wired Ethernet for high-bandwidth applications, once available. The fabless Taiwanese chip firm said it is currently showcasing two Wi-Fi 7 demos to key customers and industry collaborators, in order to demonstrate the technology's super-fast speeds and low latency transmission. Based on the IEEE 802.11be standard, the draft version of which was published last year, Wi-Fi 7 is expected to provide speeds several times faster than Wi-Fi 6 kit, offering c
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UK aerospace and engineering giant Rolls-Royce is on the hunt for sites for its much-touted small nuclear reactors, which received a £210m grant from the UK government last year. A consortium of BNF Resources UK Ltd, Exelon Generation Ltd, and Roll-Royce Group is set to invest £195m roughly over three years, qualifying it for a £210m grant from government, specifically UK Research and Innovation Funding. The group has now written to sites across the country to find a prospective home for a factory to build the new reactors. Writing to Local Enterprise Partnerships – non-profit bodies which aim to bring councils and commerce together – the group is seeking bids for the location of its "factory" set to make the new approach to nuclear-powered electricity generation, according to the
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Customers of Centrica-owned Hive are reporting problems with their cameras, with many complaining the devices have packed up, some after a few years of operation and others after mere days. The company's forums are filled with complaints from customers finding their cameras have unexpectedly headed towards the light (or flashing white light in this case) while the vendor appears unable to rectify the issue. Although complaints have been rumbling for a while now, things appear to have picked up steam from last month. Customers have reported (assuming they were able to get through to support) being advised to reset or delete and reinstall the devices without a tremendous amount of success. In a few instances, Hive has replaced the units only for those units to also fail. One user tol
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IBM says it has found a way to solve problems using fewer qubits than before, effectively doubling the capability of a quantum system by combining both quantum and classical resources. These claims come in a recently published research paper, in which an IBM team demonstrated what it calls "entanglement forging" to simulate the ground state energy of a water molecule, representing 10 spin-orbitals using just five qubits of a quantum processor rather than 10. A spin-orbital is a wave function that covers both the position and spin angular momentum of a single particle. Entanglement forging, it turns out, involves the use of a classical computer to capture quantum correlations and effectively split the problem in half, making it possible to separate the 10 spin-orbitals of the into two grou
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Unit dragged back to work after being found under hedge a day later Other stories you might like A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away... a massive black hole spewed out gases that probably helped make stars As it destroys so it creates US scientists have discovered that black holes can create as well as destroy, as the observed hot gas emitted from such a void in a dwarf galaxy could have contributed to the birth of stars.A paper in the science journal Nature reveals how observations made with the Space Telesc
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Problems with Surrey County Council's £30m projects to replace an ageing SAP R/3 system with a Unit4 SaaS application were known in June, but not discussed with key council committees until after September. In April and June last year, new requirements from the HR department continued to arrive after the main software build was complete. The application supplier assured the council these changes could be accommodated within the original project timeline, but by September it became clear it wasn't going to make that December 2021 launch date, a council meeting heard late last week. Earlier this month it was revealed the council had incurred £3.2m additional costs on the project as the go-live date was reset for April 2022. Veterans of large-scale IT projects might also be concerne
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Opinion In the World of Tomorrow that's always 10 years away, Linux dominates the desktop, quantum computers control the fusion reactors, and all Android phones receive regular system updates. And the internet runs on IPv6. This sort of talk irks IPv6 stans, mostly because it's true. They are serious-minded, far-seeing, sober engineering types who are both baffled and angry that IPv4 still rules the world in 2022. This is not how it was supposed to be. IPv4 was designed by expert prophetic dreamers more than 40 years ago to be future-proof, but the future it actually created outstripped their dreams. IPv6 was the engineers' answer, born from a decade and a half of experience, and solving IPv4's undeniable routing, addressing, security and performance problems at the unprecedented scale it
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Who, Me? Welcome to another entry in The Register's Who, Me? archives. Today, a reader goes full Hollywood to save the day (and fix some IP addressing). Our story comes from Dave and takes us back to the Australia of the 1990s. It was the era of Paul Keating and John Howard and, significantly, a time of advancement in telecommunications technology. Riding that wave was our reader, "Dave" (no, not his real name) who was working in software and infrastructure for a government agency. His team had developed an imaging system ("back when that was hard," he said modestly) that could display trademark registrations on the new-fangled Windows desktops that were popping up all over the place. "The application worked a treat," explained Dave, "and saved everybody heaps of time in their day
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If you're looking for a sign that the COVID-19 pandemic has eased and life is approaching normal, Apple has a bad omen: the fruity company has again extended viral relief to developers. Apple has offered a smidgen of help since early 2020 by waiving App Store Review Guideline 3.1.1, which requires apps offering paid online group services to do so via in-app purchases. By dropping that requirement, Apple reckoned it helped some businesses. The waiver has was since been extended, and on Saturday Apple extended it again. “Given the recent resurgence of COVID and its continued impact on in-person services, we’ve extended the most recent deadline to June 30, 2022,” said Apple in a canned statement. The post reminds developers that one-to-one services like tut
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Myanmar's military junta has floated a cyber security law that would ban the use of virtual private networks, under penalty of imprisonment and/or fines, leaving digital rights organisations concerned about the effects of further closing the country off digitally to the outside world. The draft bill, dated January 13 is signed by Soe Thein, permanent secretary of the military's transport and communications ministry and is undergoing request for comments until January 28. Upon adoption, it will subject VPN users to between one and three years inside, and fines of up to five million Myanmar Kyats ($2,800). The bill also bans the use of digital currency, under penalty of imprisonment for six months to a year, and the same fine used to deter VPN use. Furthermore, it obligates service p
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Beijing blamed for change from campaign outreach to … a guide for expats? Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison's WeChat account has been taken over by entities that have rebranded it "Australian Chinese new life" and used the account to offer advice on living in Australia for the nation's Chinese community. Morrison, leader of the right-of-centre Liberal Party of Australia, has used Tencent-owned WeChat as a campaigning tool to reach Australia's sizable Chinese community – many of whom are concentrated in particular seats and are therefore considered a sought-after voting bloc. Other members of the government have concluded the takeover of the account must b
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Seeks salespeople focused on expansion – and casinos – and adds a trio of senior managers Cloudflare has signalled significant expansion into the Asia-Pacific, Japan, and China, using Singapore as a beachhead. The Register has spotted a raft of job ads from the net-grooming company, among them a "Head of Expansion, APJC" whose job will be to manage a clutch of expansion-oriented salespeople in pursuit of new business. Another role, titled "Regional Major Account Executive – Gaming and Online Casino" gets the job of working with "iGaming and Online Casino related companies across APAC" to bring more bucks through Cloudflare's door. Three of Cloudflare's new roles require spoken Mandarin or C
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In-brief IBM has offloaded healthcare data and analytics assets from its Watson Health business, with private equity firm Francisco Partners hand over around $1bn for the privilege. The takeover “is a clear next step as IBM becomes even more focused on our platform-based hybrid cloud and AI strategy,” Tom Rosamilia, senior vice president, IBM Software, told newswire Bloomberg. “IBM remains committed to Watson, our broader AI business, and to the clients and partners we support in healthcare IT.” Launched in 2015, IBM Watson Health hasn’t been able to turn a profit despite the company spending $4bn in acquisitions to grow the business and its capabilities. IBM has tried to whittle down its Watson Health division for a while, after struggling to sign hospitals as clients.
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A milestone was reached this week by the Joint European Torus (JET): the 100,000th pulse of the fusion energy experiment. JET, which is located at the Culham Centre for Fusion Energy in the English county of Oxfordshire, has a history going back to 1975. The Culham site was chosen in 1977 and the doughnut-shaped tokamak achieved its first plasma in 1983 (the Queen did the official switching on duties the following year.) In 1991 JET performed the world's first deuterium-tritium experiment and by 1997 it achieved 22.5 megajoules of fusion energy (and 16 megawatts of fusion power) in a dedicated deuterium-tritium run of experiments. In 2021 it completed a second full-power run using deuterium and tritium. And now here we are, at 100,000 pulses. It is quite the achievement for the experiment as it approaches the 40th anniversary of activation. JET was recently shut down in order to refit it with concepts from the ITER design, including a new inner wall made of deuterium and tritium installed in 2011. The results of JET's experiment runs will therefore inform plans for ITER, which is due to start operation in the mid-2020s. Hotter than the Sun: JET – Earth’s biggest fusion reactor, in Culham READ MORE However, the clock is ticking for JET. Milestone notwithstanding, it will be succeeded by the much larger ITER Tokamak, currently under construction in southern France and due to generate its first plasma at the end of 2025. The involvement of British boffins in the endeavor has been a little uncertain, despite the groundwork being done at JET for ITER. After all, the UK left the European Atomic Energy Community (Euratom) on 31 January 2020. How
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Something for the Weekend, Sir? Stop that uterus! It stole my wallet! What do you mean, "Can you identify the uterus in question?" It looked like a uterus! Or, as we've been singing it all through Christmas, a wooooom*. Talk about getting the new year off to a bad start – I've just been robbed by a delinquent reproductive organ. Yet the all signs were there: I knew 2022 would be doomed back in early December when I read that the Salzburg Schokolade company, inventors of the mighty last-minute-airport-gift-shop chocolate ball Mozartkugel, had gone bust. No, an oversize Toblerone will not suffice. M&Ms? In the bin, pal. Mr Ambassador, you can stick your Ferrero Rochers up your arse. Mozartkugeln were my faux-posh-but-actually-quite-cheap traveller chocs of choice. And now they're gone forever! First Bowie, then this. The world is falling apart. A kindly officer of the law tries to bring me back to my senses following my unexpected mugging. Yes, thank you, I would like a drink. I'll have an Adios Motherfucker*, please. Without batting an eyelid, the policewoman strides down the corridor to the drinks machine, taps a few buttons on the display and returns after just 30 seconds with my glass of blue liquid revival. That was quick. The drinks machine must be a Mixo Two: an ingenious local invention that claims to be able to mix any of 300 cocktails in half a minute. I glug it down, spit out the lemon slice and cherry, and hand back the little umbrella. I decide I'm feeling particularly agitated and may well need more calming down. 299 to go. Now that my thoughts are clearing, I admit it's possible my assailant might not have been a ute
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Life on the road increases reliance on cloudy tools instead of Emperor Penguin's preferred local tests The first release candidate for version 5.17 of the Linux kernel has rolled off the production line – despite fears that working from a laptop might complicate matters. Emperor Penguin Linus Torvalds is currently on the road and, when announcing the release of Linux 5.16 predicted that the version 5.17 release merge window would be “somewhat painful” due to his travels, and use of a laptop – something Torvalds said “I generally try to avoid.” Torvalds’ laptop aversion comes from the fact that he likes to do lots of local testing on his beastly workstation powered by a 32-core AMD Ryzen Threadripper. Linus’ lappie appears not to match his desktop, so he ends up using more automated build testing in the cloud. “And so [i] really hope that everything has been properly cooking in linux-next so that there are no unnecessary issues that pop up when things hit my tree,” he wrote. Torvalds’ fears appear not to have materialised, as his announcement of version 5.17 rc1’s debut states “Everything seems to have gone fairly smoothly.” The maintainer in chief opines that version 5.17 “doesn't seem to be slated to be a huge release, and everything looks fairly normal.” Torvalds noted “a bit more activity than usual in a couple of corners of the kernel (random number generator and the fscache rewrite stand out)”, but there’s nothing else he flagged as significant. Test this new Linux kernel – but don’t forget Christmas or that you have a family, says Linus Torvalds But why that VPN? How WireGuard made it into Linux It's that time of the year again when GitHub does its show'n'tell of features – some new and others kinda new Compromise reached as Linux kernel community protests about treating compiler warnings as errors Others may beg to differ: The Register reckons changes that let RISC-V silicon address 64TB of physical memory sets the stage for interesting future server dev
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The European Commission will introduce legislation next month designed to turn the continent into a center of chip expertise and manufacturing. The EC will propose the European Chips Act in early February, which will boost Europe's infrastructure for the production and supply chain of chip manufacturing, said Ursula von der Leyen, president of the commission, in an address to the World Economic Forum on Thursday. The goal is to raise Europe's market share of global chip production to 20 per cent by 2030, which would mean quadrupling the EU's current output, she said, and would involve state aid to build "first of a kind" production facilities. EC president Ursula von der Leyen "Today, most of our supplies come from a handful of producers outside Europe. And this is a dependency and uncertainty we simply cannot afford," von der Leyen said. "We will create more balanced interdependencies and we will build supply chains we can trust by avoiding single points of failure." Europe today relies heavily on factories in Asia for its chip supplies, with shipping and fuel adding to the cost of semiconductors. The top three foundries in the world, Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co., Samsung, and China-based UMC, have no presence in Europe, with most of their manufacturing based
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Analysis The European Parliament has adopted a set of amendments to the Digital Services Act (DSA) that makes the pending legislation even more protective of personal privacy and requires businesses to give greater consideration to advertising technology, respecting user choice, and web design. The DSA, advanced by the European Commission in late 2020, aims to police online services and platforms by creating "a safer digital space where the fundamental rights of users are protected and to establish a level playing field for businesses." It's a set of rules for limiting illegal content and misinformation online and for making digital advertising more accountable and transparent. It complements the Digital Markets Act (DMA), which focuses on regulating large technology "gatekeepers" like Amazon, Apple, Google, Meta (Facebook), and Microsoft. Both of these packages of rules – the DSA and the DMA – are expected to take effect in 2023 or thereafter, subject to final approval from the European Parliament and Council. On Tuesday, Members of Parliament (MEPs) voted 530 to 78, with 80 abstentions, to approve the text of the DSA, which will now be subject to negotiation with member states. "Online platforms have become increasingly important in our daily life, bringing new opportunities, but also new risks," said Christel Schaldemose, an MEP from Denmark, in a statement. "It is our duty to make sure that what is illegal offline is illegal online. We need to ensure that we put in place digital rules to the benefit of consumers and citizens." The revised DSA rules [PDF] are even more strict in some cases than they were initially, Dr Lukasz Olejnik, privacy researcher and consultant, told The Register in an email. As examples, he pointed to limitations on targeted advertisements and a requirement that deepfakes be labeled. Recital 52 disallows targeted advertising to minors and prohibits the use of sensitive data (e.g. religion) for targeting adults. The rules also now require the ad repositories maintained by very large platforms to include with archived ads both data on the advertiser "and, if different, the natural or legal per
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Comment Intel puts on a show for its biggest manufacturing announcements, with episodes every few years using a rotating cast of CEOs and US presidents. Intel boss Pat Gelsinger and President Joe Biden were the latest to join the series, on Friday jointly announcing the chip maker's investment of $20bn in plants near Columbus, Ohio. The fabs could be operational by 2025 and make chips down to 2nm and beyond. "This is our first major site announcement in 40 years," Gelsinger said on on-stage later in the day with Ohio Governor Mike DeWine (R). "Intel's announcement today is a signal to China and to the rest of the world that from now on our essential manufactured products in this country will be made in the United States of America," DeWine said. Intel's announcement today is a signal to China and to the rest of the world that from now on our essential manufactured products in this country will be made in the United States of America Intel has previously wheeled out chief executives and commanders-in-chief to announce the plowing of billions into factories, with the presidents using the events to highlight the bump in manufacturing and jobs for the United States. But the aftermath has been littered with unfulfilled promises and failed goals, partially due to Intel's sometimes incoherent manufacturing and product strategies. This time around, Gelsinger has identified manufacturing as a major growth driver, as part of his Integrated Device Manufacturing 2.0 strategy. Intel has promised to expand its contract manufacturing in a meaningful way, fabricating components that use the non-x86 Arm and RISC-V architectures, and signed on Qualcomm, a semiconductor rival, as a foundry customer. Intel's latest $20bn commitment will be used to build two plants on a 1,000-acre site that could be expanded to up to 2,000 acres and eight fabs. The site will employ 3,000 folks with an average salary of $135,000, and also bring 7,000 construction jobs to Ohio, DeWine said. You can't fault Gelsinger for announcing the factories: his shareholders and the world, amid a chip supply crunch, expect it. But not only should the news be seen in an historical c
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Soaring electricity prices have derailed manufacturing involving silicon and non-ferrous metals in Europe, politicians were warned this week. Eurometaux, a European metals association, urged action [PDF] from the EU, fearing the region could experience spikes in electricity prices for the next decade if nothing is done to control the situation. The power crisis has already curtailed production and shut down facilities in silicon and metals industries across EU nations. "After a quadrupling of electricity prices, over half of the EU’s aluminium and zinc smelters are today operating at reduce
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Analysis The European Parliament has adopted a set of amendments to the Digital Services Act (DSA) that makes the pending legislation even more protective of personal privacy and requires businesses to give greater consideration to advertising technology, respecting user choice, and web design. The DSA, advanced by the European Commission in late 2020, aims to police online services and platforms by creating "a safer digital space where the fundamental rights of users are protected and to establish a level playing field for businesses." It's a set of rules for limiting illegal content and mis
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Researchers at Facebook parent's Meta have trained a single AI model capable of processing speech, images, and text in the hope that these so-called multi-modal systems will power the company’s augmented reality and metaverse products. The model, known as data2vec, can perform different tasks. Given an audio snippet, it can recognize speech. If it’s fed an image, it can classify objects. And when faced with text, it can check the grammar or analyse the writing’s tone and emotions. AI algorithms are typically trained on one type of data, though data2vec is trained on three different modalities. It still, however, processes each form, whether its speech, images, and text, separately. Meta believes these multi-modal models will help computers be more adaptable to blend physical and digital environments into one. “People experience the world through a combination of sight, sound and words, and systems like this could one day understand the world the way we do,” Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg said in a statement to El Reg. “This will all eventually get built into AR glasses with an AI assistant so, for example, it could help you cook dinner, noticing if you miss an ingredient, prompting you to turn down the heat, or more complex tasks.” Data2vec is a transformer-based neural network and uses self-supervised learning to learn common patterns in audio, computer vision, and natural language processing. The model learns to operate with different types of data by learning how to predict how the representation of data it’s given; it knows it has to guess the next group of pixels when given an image, or the next speech utterance in audio, or fill in the words in a sentence. The researchers used a mix of 16 Nvidia V100 and A100 GPUs to train data2vec on 960 hours of speech audio, millions of words from books and Wikipedia pages, and images from ImageNet-1K. Zuckerberg wants to create a make-believe world US watchdog pokes Facebook a second time: Meta faces fresh monopoly lawsuit Google and Facebook's top execs allegedly approved dividing ad market among themselves Specs appeal: Qualcomm and Meta insist headgear to plug you into the metaverse will 'supersede mobile' "We train separate models for each modality but the process through which the models learn is identical," Alexei Baevski, a research engineer at Meta AI
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Space Entertainment Enterprise (SEE), a UK-based media company, has commissioned Axiom Space in Texas to build an inflatable space station module for orbital media production. On Thursday, the media firm, which claims to be working on "the first ever Hollywood motion picture filmed in outer space," reportedly involving Tom Cruise, said it has hired Axiom Space to create SEE-1. SEE-1 is envisioned as a media production module that will "allow artists, producers, and creatives to develop, produce, record, and live stream content which maximizes the Space Station’s low-orbit microgravity environment, including films, television, music and sports events." In illustrations, it looks like a giant ping-pong ball affixed to the International Space Station. Its expected diameter, according to Axiom Space, will be about six metres or 20 feet. The space station add-on is scheduled to be launched into orbit in late 2024 where it will dock with Axiom Station, a commercial space module that should be connected to the International Space Station's Harmony node as soon as two years from now. What the SEE-1 may look like attached to the ISS ... Source: SEE. Click to enlarge "Scheduled" may be an optimistic way of putting it as funding efforts remain ongoing – SEE, co-founded by Elena and Dmitry Lesnevsky, says it's still working with investors and commercial partners on the project. Among its partners, consultants, and advisors, the firm cites former execs from HBO, Endemol Shine UK, and Viacom, as well as New York investment back GH Partners. And quite a bit of funding will be needed to haul actors into space and house them there. Even at the 2019 estim
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Nvidia has rolled out the latest version of its AI Enterprise suite for GPU-accelerated workloads, adding integration for VMware's vSphere with Tanzu to enable organisations to run workloads in both containers and inside virtual machines. Available now, Nvidia AI Enterprise 1.1 is an updated release of the suite that GPUzilla delivered last year in collaboration with VMware. It is essentially a collection of enterprise-grade AI tools and frameworks certified and supported by Nvidia to help organisations develop and operate a range of AI applications. That's so long as those organisations are running VMware, of course, which a great many enterprises still use in order to manage virtual machines across their environment, but many also do not. However, as noted by Gary Chen, research director for Software Defined Compute at IDC, deploying AI workloads is a complex task requiring orchestration across many layers of infrastructure. Anything that can ease that task is likely to appeal to resource-constrained IT departments. "Turnkey, full-stack AI solutions can greatly simplify deployment and make AI more accessible within the enterprise," Chen said. The headline feature in the new release is production support for running on VMware vSphere with Tanzu, which Nvidia claims was one of the most requested capabilities among users. With this, developers are able to run AI workloads on both containers and virtual machines within their vSphere environments. A
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Apple is preparing to repair a bug in its WebKit browser engineer that has been leaking data from its Safari 15 browser at least since the problem was reported last November. Updates made available on Thursday to Apple developers – iOS 15.3 RC and macOS 12.2 RC – reportedly fix the flaw, an improper implementation of IndexedDB API that allows websites to track users and potentially identify them. The bug affects Apple's Safari 15 browser on macOS, and all browsers on iOS and iPadOS 15 – because Apple requires all browsers on iOS to be based upon its WebKit engine, instead of alternatives like Chromium's Blink or Mozilla's Gecko. Fingerprint.js, a maker of fraud and bot detection libraries, disclosed the privacy issue to Apple on November 28 last year and then posted publicly about the problem on January 14 because Apple failed to respond in a timely manner. The bug is that Apple's WebKit has implemented IndexedDB in a way that violates the Same-origin policy (SOP), which forms the basis of browser security. When a website interacts with an IndexedDB database, explains Fingerprint.js engineer Martin Bajanik in a blog post, the browser creates a new empty database with the same name in other active frames, tabs, and windows that are part of the same browser session. Because these frames, tabs, and windows may be associated with different origins – e.g. websites – the availability of the database name to these sites violates the SOP. "The fact that database names leak across different origins is an obvious privacy violation," said Bajanik. "It lets arbitrary websites learn what websites the user visits in different tabs or windows." That would be bad enough but the privacy problem is compounded by the fact that many websites use unique identifiers within their IndexedDB names. Google, for example, appends its Google User ID to IndexedDB database names at websites like YouTube.com. This identifier can be used to query Google's People API, for example, to fetch the user's picture and possibly other information, depending on permissions. "This is a huge bug," observed Chrome developer advocate Jake Archibald, via Twitter when the issue first emerged. "On OSX, Safari users can (temporarily) switch to another browser to avoid their data leaking across origins. iOS users have no such choice, because Apple imposes a ban on other browser engines." Bug in WebKit's IndexedDB implementation makes Safari 15 leak Google account info... and more Mobile networks really hate Apple's Private Relay: Some folks find iOS privacy feature blocked on their iPhones 'Now' would be the right time to patch Ubuntu container hosts and ditch 21.04 thanks to heap buffer overflow bug Apple's Safari browser runs the risk of becoming the new Internet Explorer – holding the web back for everyone Apple's obdurate refusal to allow other browser engines in iOS has been a sore spot for competing browser makers for years. It has led people to argue that Safari is the new Internet Explorer – a browser holding everyone else back – and that Apple's platform rules are anticompetitive, a claim UK regulators, if not o
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Friday FOSS Fest In this week's edition of our column on free and open-source software, El Reg takes a look at Calibre, which converts almost any file type into almost any other file type, so you can read whatever you want, wherever you want, no matter what format it's in. It's free and runs on Windows, Linux and Mac. There's more to ebooks than the Kindle, of course, with devices such as the Kobo, Nook, and Onyx Boox. The author's own Sony Reader still worked fine when I gave it to a friend a year ago. Buying consumable content online for immediate consumption is wonderfully convenient, but the trouble is that you can lose it again just as easily, or the company can shut down its store. It's worth learning how to download your digital content – and once you have it on a computer, what you can do with it suddenly expands. This doesn't apply just to print books, either: although Comixology is being subsumed into the Bezos behemoth, don't despair. There are other ways to get stuff out of the cloud and onto e-paper. If you're an Amazon buyer, for instance, hover over the "Account & Lists" button and you should see "Manage your Content and Devices." (This may not work for other countries' Amazon pages, but for the UK, it's here.) For each one, under "More actions" you should find a link to download it to your computer. Once you have local copies of your ebooks, you can load them into Calibre. The most charitable thing to say about the app's user interface is that it is quirkily distinctive, but it works and it's pretty easy. The first button in the toolbar lets you add new books, either individually, by the folder, or direct from compressed archives. Once they are in Calibre, you can convert between formats and save them. If you connect your ebook reader by USB, Calibre will detect most models and a new toolbar button should let you send them straight to the device in a format it can display. If your reader has expandable memory, you can choose where it should go. Never mind the Panic button – there's a key to Compose yourself Fans of original gangster editors, look away now: It's Tilde, a text editor that doesn't work like it's 1976 What if we said you could turn any disk into a multi-boot OS installer for free without touching a single config file? 'Now' would be the right time to patch Ubuntu container hosts and ditch 21.04 thanks to heap buffer overflow bug Calibre is extensible with plugins, and a popular option is DRM removal. DeDRM is one such plugin, available from Github, as are comprehensive instructions. There are others, such as the commercial Epubor. We tried it on a protected Comixology title, and for now, it didn't work – but the option to download Comixology titles from Amazon is quite new. We suspect support may be added in time. Currently, Calibre can import and convert between several different unprotected comics formats such as CBR and CBZ. Obviously, you shouldn't share this stuff, but this functionality has perfectly legal uses. For instance, it allows easy extraction of the text from ebooks, make it easier to read them using a screen-reader for people with visual impairme
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Man's best friend, though far from the dumbest animal, isn't that smart either. And if there's one sure-fire way to get a dog moving, it's the promise of a snack. In another fine example of drones being used as a force for good, this week a dog was rescued from mudflats in Hampshire on the south coast of England because it realised that chasing a sausage dangling from a UAV would be a preferable outcome to drowning as the tide rose. Or rather the tantalising treat overrode any instinct the pet had to avoid the incoming water. Millie, a Jack Russell-whippet, was spotted in the perilous landscape near the town of Havant after escaping her owners while out on a walk, The Guardian report
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GigaIO and MemVerge are developing a joint solution to enable memory to be composable across a cluster of servers, addressing one of the thorny issues in high performance computing (HPC) where some n
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NASA scientists have deployed mirrors on the James Webb Space Telescope ahead of a critical thruster firing on Monday. With less than 50,000km to go until the spacecraft reaches its L2 orbit, the segments that make up the primary mirror of the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) are ready for alignment. The team carefully moved all 132 actuators lurking on the back of the primary mirror segments and secondary mirror, driving the former 12.5mm away from the telescope structure. — NASA Webb Telescope (@NASAWebb) January 19, 2022 Now clear of their launch restraints, each segment has enough space to be adjusted during the upcoming alignment process. In addition, 18 radius of curvature (ROC)
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Windows' murderous Task Manager looks set to get a makeover in Windows 11 after a work-in-progress turned up in the latest Insider Dev Channel build. Remembering the good times The build, 22538, is
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Sir Tim Berners-Lee said today he believes many current global challenges can be solved if people can be convinced to share data – but on their own terms. Tim Berners-Lee He also said that the internet faces a number of challenges such as getting everyone online and data being used against people, perhaps brought into focus by disinformation campaigns. The creator of the world wide web was speaking at Fujitsu's ActivateNow: Technology Summit, a virtual event focused on the part technology can play in shaping a better future, and covered his vision for the internet. Ensure that code you write works with these open standards. That's the way to build new levels. Be respectful of end users Asked about the current problems facing the web today, Berners-Lee said it had already produced a lot of benefits for the world, such as employees being able to work remotely during the pandemic. However, he noted that many are now concerned about cybercrime and the web being used to manipulate them, citing targeted advertising campaigns ahead of key US and UK votes in 2016. "If you ask anyone in the street, they will now say they are aware of disinformation as an issue, so there are lots of things we need to do to fix the web," he said. Another facet of this is the privacy issue, where people's data is being used for inappropriate purposes by corporations to target and manipulate them. Meanwhile, data stored by the social networks, such as photographs, is stuck inside those social networks, creating silos that prevent people from using that data how they might wish to. Sir Tim has already been working on ways to address this, such as the Solid technology developed by his Inrupt organisation, which allows individuals to store their personal information in "pods" – which the individual whose data it is controls access to. He describes these as "places where you have control over who gets to see your data. For health data, test results will go into your Solid pod, bank transactions go to your Solid pod." Inevitably, this means that Solid pods will contain a huge amount of information about individuals, but they can decide how it gets used, Berners-Lee claimed, while the Solid protocol allows users to run apps that give insights about their life. But Berners-Lee said having this level of control will build trust that will lead to greater sharing of data to drive innovation and address some of the problems that the world now faces. "We find that people are coming to Inrupt saying that they want to introduce Solid technology between themselves and customers or employees, because they do trust them. They find when they do that, give the user control, the user will share more powerfully, share data not only with doctors, but also with researchers looking to cure cancer, for example." The Solid vision is that people should use Solid pods for everything in order to enable the technology to deliver all these full benefits. "Large companies want to partner with us, and governments are coming to us because they realise that if people have Solid pods with their data, like with their CVs for example, the country would just be
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Fancy buying an almost-original and flyable Second World War Supermarine Spitfire? If you've got £4.5m gathering dust in the bank, today might be your lucky day. Spitfire LF Mk.IXB MH415 is up for sale, with various news outlets reporting its sale price as around £4.5m. Built in 1943, the veteran of two wars and several decades of airshow flying was fully refurbished over the last few years and has just six flying hours on its newly reset clock. Its pristine Rolls-Royce Merlin 66 engine has just 11 hours, meaning the Spitfire can fly for months or years before needing another total overhaul
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Brit MPs have told the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) it should factor in the cost of not upgrading a 34-year-old legacy system when reviewing tech investments after it contributed to a £1bn pension shortfall. The department should consider whether there are "cost-effective ways to upgrade its IT systems and enhance its administrative processes to ensure the quality and timeliness of management information and reduce the risk of repeated errors," a report from the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) said. This follows a report by the National Audit Office (NAO) which found that a legacy
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Intel is scheduled to announce on Friday that it is committing $20bn to build semiconductor plants outside Columbus, Ohio, thereby strengthening domestic supply chains, according to reports from the White House. The US government's canned statement on Thursday said the effort would create 7,000 construction jobs and 3,000 permanent jobs. Intel told Time the money will build at least two semiconductor plants on a 1,000-acre site that could expand up to 2,000 acres and eight fabs. The site will be used for research and development, as well as manufacturing, and its operations are slated to begin by 2025, said the news outlet. "Our expectation is that this becomes the largest silicon manufacturing location on the planet,” Intel CEO Pat Gelsinger said in the interview. It is also Ohio's largest private-sector investment to date. The Midwestern American state, with its overall low cost of living and tax incentives, was chosen over 38 different sites. Governor Mike DeWine was told of the selection on Christmas Day. As for those tax incentives, Ohio will fork out $1bn in infrastructure improvements and Intel will be eligible for job creation tax credits for up to 30 years. COVID-19 was a generational opportunity for change at work – and corporate blew it Privacy is for paedophiles, UK government seems to be saying while spending £500k demonising online chat encryption I own that $4.5bn of digi-dosh so rewrite your blockchain and give it to me, Craig Wright tells Bitcoin SV devs APNIC: Big Tech's use of carrier-grade NAT is holding back internet innovation First they came for Notepad. Now they're coming for Task Manager The Semiconductor Industry Association has continually angled for such tax incentives in order to "reverse the decades-long trajectory of declining chip production in America." "The United States used to lead the world in global semiconductor manufacturing. But in recent decades, the U.S. lost its edge — our share of global semiconductor production has fallen from 37 percent to just 12 percent over the last 30 years," said the White House in Thursday's canned statement. Much of the world's chip manufacturing ended up in Asia due to low cost of labor, although there is some hope for the US that the ever-increasing adoption of automation can change that, alongside government programs. Many countries worldwide have sought to increase their domestic chip production, as the multi-year semiconductor shortage rages on. The US has passed the CHIPS Act to support the country's domestic production, which invests $52bn in semiconductor research and manufacturing. The money is currently stalled, waiting for legislation from the House. Other semiconductor manufacturers are also currently building foundries in the US. Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co Ltd (TSMC) has planned facilities in Arizona while Samsung has announced $17bn worth of semiconductor plants outside Austin, Texas. There's no official info out yet from Intel on its Ohio plans or which products will be made there. The Reg has contacted the company and will update accordingly. CEO Pat Gelsinger is scheduled to meet
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Private investors led by current chairman Jeff Thomas have bought loss-making public sector service provider UKCloud for an unspecified sum, ending the months-long pursuit for potentially life-or-death funding. Hadston 2 Limited, set up by Thomas, is joined by BGF Group plc and Digital Alpha, buying a company that has three brands selling multi-cloud services to clients including central and local government, police, defence and the NHS. "The funding provides a strong foundation on which to assemble a portfolio of innovative businesses promoting the ethical and sustainable use of data to drive positive change in our communities and economy," said Thomas in a statement. "Organisations and governments increasingly share a belief in these crucial outcomes and I am deeply excited to unveil more information about our growth plans and new direction in the very near future." The sum paid was not revealed, but according to sources and judging by the last set of company accounts, filed late by UKCloud in September, Hadstone was itself trying to raise £30m. The business was not exactly in rude health, and external funding was essential. In the year to 31 March 2020, UKCloud reported a revenue increase to £38.2m from £37.1m in the prior year, however it swung to a loss of £17.4m from a loss of £2.3m. UKCloud said this was due to "reduction in usage by a small number of customers, as well as increasing investment in sales, marketing, development and the expansion of the platform." UKCloud stated in the P&L accounts that it needed "approximately £30m of financing for investment in order to generate sufficient cash from trading to offset its capital expenditure and debt service cost, in addition to more immediate working capital." It also stated in the document, filed in September 2021, that its "current cash resources, together with facilities available for drawdown allow for approximately three months until the first tranche of additional financing would be required..." "[S]ince the Directors' assessment is dependent on the Group raising further funding that is not yet secured, the directors have concluded that there exists a material uncertainty that may cast significant doubt on the Group's ability to continue to operate as a going concern." The board appointed advisors in September to help with monitoring and controlling working capital requirements, getting a £2m financing inflow from an existing agreement and "negotiating a partial payment holiday on the repayments of principal due under this facility," the accounts confirm. These advisors were also to negotiate a deferred payment plan for various PAYE and VAT liabilities with HMRC. A month earlier, in August, UKCloud had made 25 staff redundant, according to sources. One told us a lender had imposed terms to reduce headcount as UKCloud was unable to pay certain debts. Another had said at the time that UKCloud was "awaiting a new investor to keep the company afloat". Uncertainty then spread and in September it was alleged by public sector sources that the Cabinet Office had put UKCloud clients in government on high alert amid industry talk o
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Exclusive The UK's Cabinet Office has launched a new approach designed to assess the IT resource needs of central government departments and measure their performance: emailing a spreadsheet and asking for multiple replies. In a letter seen by The Register, Joanna Davinson, executive director at the Central Digital and Data Office (CDDO), said her team had created a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) Digital Dashboard which in December was presented to the Functional Leadership Group. That MVP has now been sent to Whitehall's chief digital and information officers (CDIOs). "We kindly [request] that your department shares data with our team by completing the attached workbook; please download the workbook in Microsoft Excel for the best user experience," she said. CCIOs were told to send completed returns, presumably via an attachment, by 21 January. According to Davinson's letter, the information from departments would be used to assess if departments required additional funding, track performance, and enable departmental benchmarking. "This dashboard will be shared internally within the CDDO to support discussions and internal analysis. The update dashboard will also be shared with CDIO colleagues across government; the dashboard or underlying data will not be shared outside government," the letter read. According to the workbook seen by The Register, the CDDO asks about the percentage of "legacy technology that the department is currently running and maintaining" and the percentage currently running "without up to date vendor support." The workbook says: Central government is responsible for billions of pounds in IT spending. In Her Majesty's Revenue & Customs alone a £7bn IT procurement exercise is in full swing, and appears to be slipping. Observers might wonder why the team, supposedly the leaders of Whitehall's thrust towards digital modernisation, is using spreadsheets to share data, as well as preferring a method (download) whereby multiple copies of data may be created – making them inconsistent and insecure if shared via email. A Cabinet Office spokesperson said the Digital Dashboard was designed to track digital performance and capability across government using a range of measures. "The current Excel-based data commission is being used to develop an early pilot of the Dashboard, ahead of moving to a more performant solution over time, in line with agile delivery best practice," he said. "The Dashboard metrics have been developed in collaboration with the cross-government Digital, Data and Technology (DDaT) community." UK data watchdog slaps Ministry of Justice with Enforcement Notice for breaking GDPR law UK government backs away from proposals to remove individuals' rights to challenge AI decision making UK police lack framework for adopting new tech like AI and face recognition, Lords told Key pillar in the UK's border control upgrade programme 'lacks a systems integrator' In a separate project, Davinson is also hoping to launch a "tool" to track legacy applications in detail. In September last year, she revealed to MPs that the government had no dynamic list of risks assoc
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Enhanced 'Cyber and Critical Technology Partnership' will transport crime to harsh penal regime on the other side of the world The United Kingdom and Australia have signed a Cyber and Critical Technology Partnership that will, among other things, transport criminals to a harsh penal regime on the other side of the world. Australian foreign minister Marise Payne and UK foreign secretary Liz Truss yesterday inked the document in Sydney but haven't revealed the text of the pact. What we do know is that the two nations have pledged to "Increase deterrence by raising the c
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Organizations looking to minimize exposure to exploitable software should scan Twitter for mentions of security bugs as well as use the Common Vulnerability Scoring System or CVSS, Kenna Security arg
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On Call Friday is here. We'd suggest an adult beverage or two to celebrate, but only if you BYOB. While you fill your suitcase, may we present an episode of On Call in which a reader saves his boss from a dunking. Our tale comes from a reader Regomised as "Ed" and is set earlier this century. Ed was working as a developer in a biotech lab. He rarely spoke to the director, but did speak to the director's personal assistant a lot. This PA was very much a jack of all trades (and master of... well, you get the drift). HR? He was in charge of that. Ops? That too. Anything technical? Of course. Heck, even though the firm had its very own bean counter, one had to go through the PA to get anything
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ASML – the outfit that oufits the chipmakers with chipmakers – believes the recent fire at its Berlin factory on 2 January will not have a "significant impact" on its output in 2022. The Berlin f
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A man found guilty of using the Coinhive cryptojacking script to mine Monero on users' PCs while they browsed the web has been cleared by Japan's Supreme Court on the grounds that crypto mining software is not malware. Tokyo High Court ruled against the defendant, 34-year-old Seiya Moroi, on charges of keeping electromagnetic records of an unjust program. That unjust program was Coinhive, a "cryptojacking" script that mines for Monero by pinching some CPU cycles when users visit a web page that includes the code. Moroi ran the code on his website. Coinhive has been blocked by malware and antivirus vendors as it slows down other processes, increases utility bills, and creates wear and tear on your device. But in many ways Coinhive's Javascript code acts no differently to advertisements. Moroi posted to a site promoting his UX and UI design business to offer his side of the story, including reference to Chapter XIX-2 of the Japanese Penal Code: His interpretation of the Chapter disputes that he ran Coinhive on other people's equipment "against the user's intention" (which he takes to be equivalent to "without their permission"), because if running JavaScript is an unwelcome intrusion then myriad services such as Google Analytics must also be illegal. He's kind of side-stepping the "legitimate grounds" part there. He also argued that he revealed the presence of Coinhive, so was not acting deceptively. Nor did Moroi intend to profit from his efforts – he just wanted to keep up with tech trends. He also argued that his efforts didn't really make any money; the script yielded less than ¥1,000 ($8.79) – a sum so paltry it was hard to cash out of Monero. That experience was typical. In 2018, researchers found that cryptojacking paid on average just $5.80 a day. Moroi's post, which is quite a screed, reveals that he could have paid a fine of ¥100,000 ($880) in February 2020, but instead chose to fight on this hill, as a matter of principle. COVID-19 was a generational opportunity for change at work – and corporate blew it I own that $4.5bn of digi-dosh so rewrite your blockchain and give it to me, Craig Wright tells Bi
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Self-proclaimed visionaries of our times like to explode myths about what can and cannot be done. Inhabiting mars? Let's get on it, electric car maker Elon Musk says. Heavy industry in space? It's on the to-do list, says online shop owner Jeff Bezos. Supersonic underground hyperloop connecting Los Angeles to San Francisco in 35 minutes? No problem, they both chime in. Vaccinating the world to help slow the development of another deadly covid variant? Well, hold on there, know your limits, eh? Except it could be done using only the increase in Bezos' fortune over the pandemic period, according to international poverty charity and campaign group Oxfam. Research from the charity and campaign group has found that the world's 10 richest people more than doubled their fortunes from $700bn to $1.5tn during the first (almost) two years of the pandemic. During that time, the incomes of 99 per cent of humanity fell and over 160 million more people were forced into poverty, it said. It will surprise no one that the list of the world's top richest men (and it is all men in the top 10 billionaires list) includes eight tech founders. Joining Musk (who made his first fortune with PayPal) and Bezos, are Microsoft founders Bill Gates and Steve Ballmer, Oracle founder and CTO Larry Elli
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Russia has floated the prospect of Putin a ban on cryptocurrencies. The Bank of Russia, the nation's central bank, yesterday published a Consultation Paper [PDF] titled "Cryptocurrencies: Trends, Risks, and Regulation" that ponders the impact of unbacked cryptocurrencies and stablecoins on Russia's economy. The document opens by noting that Russian citizens have not missed the crypto investment boom, and transact an estimated $5 billion a year with the digi-dollars, while the nation has become a major centre for crypto-mining. But the paper doesn't see that as a good thing. It notes that cryptocurrencies are volatile and therefore create risks for investors. The Bank also worries that widespread use of cryptocurrencies reduces governments' ability to operate the levers of their economies. "The spread of cryptocurrencies could make people withdraw their savings from the Russian financial sector and, subsequently, decrease its capability to finance the real sector and potential economic growth reducing the number of jobs and potential for household income increase," the document states. Without irony or mention of Russia's busy ransomware scene, the paper also informs readers that cryptocurrency transactions are hard to detect – which means they are "extensively used in illegal activities (money laundering, drug trafficking, terrorist financing, etc.)" Crypto.com now says someone tried to drain $34m from hundreds of accounts I own that $4.5bn of digi-dosh so rewrite your blockchain and give it to me, Craig Wright tells Bitcoin SV devs EthereumMax, a Kardashian and Floyd Mayweather Jr sued over alleged 'pump and dump' cryptocurrency scam Avira also mines imaginary internet money on customers' PCs What to do? The Bank of Russia favours bans. Crypto mining should be stopped, the document says, because it's a wasteful use of resources. The Bank also wants to prohibit the operation of crypto exchanges and the issue of cryptocurrencies on Russian soil. Local financial institutions should be prevented from investing in crypto, too, the paper argues. The document is not opposed to all forms of block-bucks, foreseeing a role
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730 million 5G subscriptions have been ordered in China, according to operational statistics published this week by the nation's big three carriers: China Telecom, China Unicom, and China Mobile. That total means 396.5 million new 5G packages were activated during 2021, more than doubling the 333.5 million services in operation as of January last year. The actual market could be even larger, as the three report subscriptions which could cover multiple devices or people. Demand for other communications services continued to grow in China across 2021. Even as they migrated millions of customers from 4G to 5G, the three carriers added another 100 million 4G subscribers. Not everyone wants the leading edge, it seems. Wired broadband services rose by around 50 million, to a collective 505 million services across the big three. China's statistical yearbook reports that the nation had 494 million households and 250 million "corporate enterprises" in 2020. Plenty are clearly making do without wired connections. The surge is no surprise, as China has made 5G adoption an important element of its ongoing digitalization drive. The sheer scale is still stunning because no nation other than India and China even has a population of over 396.5 million – never mind a 5G market for 700 million services. Japan solves 5G airliner conundrum: Keep mobe masts 200m from airport approach paths. That's it 5G frequencies won't interfere with airliners here, UK and EU aviation regulators say 50 US airports to be surrounded by 5G C-band-free zones China passes half a billion 5G subscriptions and adds at least 190k new 5G base stations in six months Readers may, at this point, recall the many predictions that 5G will be most widely used for machine-to-machine communications, making carrier data about subscriptions a less useful indicator. Such networks are, at present, hard to find. China will therefore likely own the world's biggest identifiable 5G user base for some time, as 5G rollouts in other nations with large populations – such as India and Indonesia – have scarcely commenced. China's also showing no signs that it's worried about 5G
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NASA has put its orbiting Neil Gehrels Swift Observatory into safe mode due to a suspected faulty reaction wheel, the first time this type of failure has occurred in its 17 years of operation. NASA this week confirmed Swift was powered down on January 18. A team of scientists and engineers from Pennsylvania State University working at the Mission Operations Center (MOC) for Swift asked astronomers to hold off from requesting observation time as all science operations have temporarily halted. “The mission team is investigating a possible failure of one of the spacecraft's reaction wheels as the cause,” NASA said in a statement. “The team has powered off the suspected wheel. The observatory and all its instruments are otherwise healthy and operating as anticipated. The observatory wil
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PCs coming out this year with Microsoft's integrated Pluton security chip won't be locked down to Windows 11, and users will have the option to turn off the feature completely as well as install, say, Linux as normal, we understand. The first Windows 11 PCs with Pluton built-in were shown at CES earlier this month. Major PC chip houses – think Intel, AMD, and Qualcomm – are said to be embedding Pluton inside their just-launched or upcoming microprocessors. Pluton can act as a Trusted Platform Module (TPM) or as a non-TPM security coprocessor. It's a way for Microsoft to specify exactly how it wants a TPM component to be present in microprocessors so that Windows 11 can use the hardware as a root-of-trust and secure its stuff. Windows 11 officially requires TPM 2.0 support in PC chipse
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Crypto.com on Thursday said in a roundabout way that an unidentified person stole or attempted to steal as much as $34m in cryptocurrency from customer accounts. In an update on the cyberattack reported earlier this week, the Singapore-based firm said it "learned that a small number of users had unauthorized crypto withdrawals on their accounts." That small number, the biz revealed, amounted to 483 Crypto.com customers. Normally, such actions are attributed to some entity – an attacker, a threat actor, thief, malicious insider, hackers, miscreants, or such – even if that term is only a placeholder for the responsible party because attribution isn't certain. Crypto.com however made no mention of any person or persons known, suspected, or presumed to be behind the attack described in its incident report, as if the funds absconded on their own. The amount taken through these unauthorized withdrawals turns out to have been more than twice initial estimates: $34m in US dollars or 4,836.26 ETH, 443.93 BTC and approximately US$66,200 in other currencies. Yet Crypto.com insists, "No customers experienced a loss of funds." That's because the company claims
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After last week's website defacements, Ukraine is now being targeted by boot record-wiping malware that looks like ransomware but with one crucial difference: there's no recovery method. Officials have pointed the finger at Belarus. Fountain at Independence Square in Minsk, Belarus Targets of this new malware wave "span multiple government, non-profit, and information technology organizations," according to a Microsoft warning issued over the weekend. The malware itself wipes the target Windows system's master boot record, rendering it inoperable, and its main executable is "often" named stage1.exe, executed by Impacket. The wiper's second stage, stage2.exe, then rampages through the rest of your system, overwriting everything from Word files to web pages (.HTML and .PHP files), images and databases. It searches for a large list of file extensions and overwrites the file's contents "with a fixed number of 0xCC bytes" totalling 1MB. Redmond's Threat Intelligence Centre (MSTIC), part of its wider infosec operation, said the wiper was designed to look like ransomware and even drops a ransom note with a Bitcoin wallet address, urging victims to send $10k to it. On top of that, the ransom note also lists a Tox instant messaging address. Deployed by a group named by Microsoft as DEV-0586, the wiper doesn't have a ransom recovery mechanism despite the above features. MSTIC added that it is "intended to be destructive and designed to render targeted devices inoperable." So far the wiper is said to have infected "dozens" of systems. The malware comes after a high-profile website defacement on Friday 14 January that affected a number of Ukrainian gove
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PCs coming this year with Microsoft's integrated Pluton security chip won't be locked down to Windows 11, and users will have the option to install Linux and turn off the feature completely. The first Windows 11 PCs with Pluton built-in were shown at CES earlier this month. Major PC chip makers, including Intel, AMD, and Qualcomm are embedding Pluton inside their microprocessors as a secure hardware layer. But Microsoft's invasion at the hardware level has some users – especially in the open-source community – on high alert. The concern relates to the chip being a proprietary backdoor for Microsoft to take control of PCs and tying the hardware closely to Windows 11. AMD integrated Microsoft's Pluton in Ryzen 6000 chips, which were introduced at CES earlier this month. AMD's goal is to bring better security to PCs, but users can disable Pluton. "AMD respects user choice and, as is typical with many other security technologies, we provide the ability for a user to enable or disable Pluton based on their preferences in our reference BIOS," an AMD spokeswoman told The Register. Pluton is a Windows security technology, but it does not restrict Linux installation, the spokeswoman said. "AMD Ryzen 6000 Series processors support Linux. AMD has closely collaborated with Canonical (Ubuntu) and Red Hat to certify and optimize OEM designs with their operating systems," the spokeswoman said. Microsoft poaches Apple chip expert for custom sili
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Small and medium-sized managed service providers (MSPs) could find themselves subject to the Network and Information Systems Regulations under government plans to tighten cybersecurity laws – and have got three months to object to the tax hikes that will follow. Plans to amend the EU-derived Network and Information Systems Regulations (NIS) are more likely than ever to see SMEs brought into scope, as The Register reported last year when these plans were first floated. NIS is the main law controlling security practices in the UK today. Currently a straight copy of the EU NIS Directive, one o
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Working too hard? Is that overtime making you feel like you're caught in the vice-like jaws of burnout? Well, keep on carrying on because far from negatively impacting your well-being, it might actually be good for you if you love your job. Or so says research from the ESCP Business School by Argyro Avgoustaki, an associate professor of Management and Almudena Cañibano, an associate professor in Human Resources Management. The crucial distinction comes from the motivation behind why individuals put in those extra hours: whether it is due to an inner desire or external pressures from the high
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Opinion The British government's PR campaign to destroy popular support for end-to-end encryption on messaging platforms has kicked off, under the handle "No Place To Hide", and it's as broad as any previous attack on the safety-guaranteeing technology. Reported by us well in advance last year, the £500k campaign aims to destroy public support for end-to-end encryption (E2EE) as part of a wider strategy. That intends to make it easy for police workers and other public-sector snoopers to read the public's online conversations without having to get prior permission or defeat privacy protection
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The CVE-2022-0185 vulnerability in Ubuntu is severe enough that Red Hat is also advising immediate patching. The flaw allows a process inside a Linux user namespace to escape, which means it potentially affects any machine running containers. If you're not running any containers, you can just disable the user-namespace functionality – both companies' vulnerability descriptions describe how to do that on their respective distros. It affects RHEL (and derivatives) as well as Ubuntu 20.04, 21.04 and 21.10 – and presumably other distros, too. So it's possibly a good thing that "Hirsute Hippo", as Ubuntu 21.04 is nicknamed, just went end of life today (20 January 2022). If
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Fujitsu wants to make the world a better place and thinks technology is the way to do it. Fujitsu technology, naturally. The Japanese multinational laid out its vision – outlining an automated, converged world, with AI to support decision making – for the next decade or so during its ActivateNow: Technology Summit online. Fujitsu also explained how it believes technology will help to address various global challenges, including climate change, biodiversity, inequality, and (in developed countries) an ageing population. Kicking off the keynote address, CTO Vivek Mahajan said Fujitsu believes it has a responsibility as a tech company to address global issues, and saw technology as key to solving these challenges. "The potential for innovation to make a positive impact is enormous," he
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Across Europe, 12 million jobs will be lost by 2040 through automation technologies, according to analyst firm Forrester Research. With the pandemic increasing the adoption of digital technologies in business, the region is forecast to embrace automation to address its demographic challenges, the analyst said in a new report. By 2050, the five leading economies in Europe – France, Germany, Italy, Spain, and the UK – are expected to have 30 million fewer people of working age. The report also mentioned that investments in automation will become key to how European governments look at their competitiveness. Forrester points out healthcare and pensions will still need to be paid at a higher rate. Infrastructure and other services would need continued funding too, with potentially
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The UK's Competition and Markets Authority has invited comments from industry and interested parties about NortonLifeLock's proposed $8bn purchase of fellow infosec outfit Avast. The merger inquiry will run until the 16 March when the comments will be collated and assessed to determine if there is sufficient concern to warrant a deeper investigation. "The CMA is considering whether it is or may be the case that this transaction, if carried into effect, will result in the creation of a relevant merger situation under the merger provisions of the Enterprise Act 2002," it said. If that is the case, the watchdog will try to ascertain "whether the creation of that situation may be expected to result in a substantial lessening of competition within any market or markets" in the UK for go
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Another contender in the productivity stakes, ONLYOFFICE Docs, has hit version 7, introducing fillable forms as well as multiple tweaks for its web and desktop applications. ONLYOFFICE is yet another option for users seeking an alternative to the tech giants, and currently comes in a self-hosted or desktop guise. A cloud version will, according to the team, "be available a bit later." The first major release of 2022, version 7 is a handy update. While the word processor, spreadsheet, and presentation modules have useful modifications, most eye-catching is the ability to create fillable forms online. The forms can be created from scratch or built from DOCX documents and are compatible with Microsoft Office content controls and Adobe forms, the team said. The su
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Official details remain scant, but SUSE Liberty Linux is a new member of the growing tribe of CentOS Linux replacements. The new distro is a SUSE rebuild of CentOS 8, aimed at near-perfect RHEL 8 compatibility. Since Red Hat killed off CentOS Linux and replaced it with CentOS Stream, there's been renewed activity in the world of drop-in RHEL replacements. Now a new entrant has joined AlmaLinux and Rocky Linux, as SUSE enters the fray with its own rebuild of Red Hat's freely-available source code. As it has only appeared on SUSE's website over night, we don't have a demo version at time of writing, so here is what we know so far. At launch, Liberty Linux should be equivalent to the current Red Hat release – RHEL 8.5 – and compatible with packages from Red Hat's own EPEL repos.
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A widespread phishing operation targeting Southeast Asia's second-largest bank – Oversea-Chinese Banking Corporation (OCBC) – has prompted the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) to introduce regulations for internet banking that include use of an SMS Sender ID registry. Singapore banks have two weeks to remove clickable links in text messages or e-mails sent to retail customers. Furthermore, activation of a soft token on a mobile device will require a 12-hour cooling off period, customers must be notified of any request to change their contact details, and fund transfer threshold will by default be set to SG$100 ($74) or lower. MAS has also offered a vague directive requiring banks to issue more scam education alerts, and to do so more often. Singapore-based banks will also
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Humanitarian organization the International Red Cross disclosed this week that it has fallen foul of a cyberattack that saw the data of over 515,000 "highly vulnerable people" exposed to an unknown entity. The target of the attack was the organisation's Restoring Family Links operation, which strives to find missing persons and reunite those separated from their families due to armed conflict, migration, disaster, detention and other catastrophic events. The service is free, but is currently offline. Among the stolen data were names, locations, and contact information. The org said the data originated from at least 60 Red Cross and Red Crescent National Societies around the world. The threat actor is currently unidentified. However, it is understood that they executed the attack on
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Carriers and Big Tech are happily continuing to use network address translation (NAT) and IPv4 to protect their investments, with the result that transition to IPv6 is glacial while the entire internet is shaped in the image of incumbent players. That's the opinion of Geoff Huston, chief scientist at regional internet registry the Asia Pacific Network Information Centre (APNIC). Huston's opinion was published in the conclusion to a lengthy post titled "IP addressing in 2021" that reports on IPv4 and IPv6 usage across last year. The post offers very deep detail on adoption of both protocols during 2021. The headline news is that the small pool of available IPv4 addresses continued to dwindle, even as trading in addresses increased. IPv6 adoption, meanwhile, grew by just three per ce
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Google has served eviction notices to its legacy G Suite squatters: the free service will no longer be available in four months and existing users can either pay for a Google Workspace subscription or export their data and take their not particularly valuable businesses elsewhere. "If you have the G Suite legacy free edition, you need to upgrade to a paid Google Workspace subscription to keep your services," the company said in a recently revised support document. "The G Suite legacy free edition will no longer be available starting May 1, 2022." The G Suite legacy free edition will no longer be available starting May 1, 2022 Workspace subscriptions start at $6 per month for the most basic membership. Google will begin automatically upgrading legacy accounts to Workspace come May but w
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SpaceX’s Starlink satellites appear in about a fifth of all images snapped by the Zwicky Transient Facility (ZTF), a camera attached to the Samuel Oschin Telescope in California, which is used by astronomers to study supernovae, gamma ray bursts, asteroids, and suchlike. A study led by Przemek Mróz, a former postdoctoral scholar at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) and now a researcher at the University of Warsaw in Poland, analysed the current and future effects of Starlink satellites on the ZTF. The telescope and camera are housed at the Palomar Observatory, which is operated by Caltech. The team of astronomers found 5,301 streaks leftover from the moving satellites in images taken by the instrument between November 2019 and September 2021, according to their paper on
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A machine-learning algorithm has helped scientists find 690 human genes associated with a higher risk of developing motor neuron disease, according to research published in Cell this week. Neuronal cells in the central nervous system and brain break down and die in people with motor neuron disease, like amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) more commonly known as Lou Gehrig's disease, named after the baseball player who developed it. They lose control over their bodies, and as the disease progresses patients become completely paralyzed. There is no currently no verified cure for ALS. Motor neuron disease typically affects people in old age and its causes are unknown. Johnathan Cooper-Knock, a clinical lecturer at the University of Sheffield in England and leader of Project MinE, an ambitiou
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Feeling old yet? Let the Reg ruin your day for you. We are now substantially closer to the 2038 problem (5,849 days) than it has been since the Year 2000 problem (yep, 8,049 days since Y2K). Thanks to keen-eyed Reg reader Calum Morrison, we've seen a hint of what lies beneath the Beeb's digital presence, with a snapshot that implies Old Auntie might be using a 32-bit Linux in iPlayer, and something with a kernel older than Linux 5.10, too. That 2020 kernel release was the first able to serve as a base for a 32-bit system designed to run beyond 03:14:07 UTC on 19 January 2038. The cutoff date for some iPlayer programs is 18th January 2038 Way back when, the iPlayer service had a troubled start – initially requiring Windows XP, Windows Media Player 10+ and Internet Explorer to run – and chunks of it ended up being replaced with off-the-shelf tech in order to work for those annoying, smug Mac and Linux users. Spot the expiry date. That date is as conspicuous to Unix beardies as 2000 was to DOS merchants. We reckon it's not just when Mr Palin's programme expires, but rather a whispered plea from the 32-bit Linux box held hostage somewhere behind it. That fateful date pops up in lots of places: for fans of DOTA2, it's when an allegedly permanent ban expires. And if Atlassian JIRA users haven't suffered enough, a (now fixed) bug got to them, too. Y2K was caused by programmers saving space by storing years as two digits – entirely justified just a few decades ago when saving two characters was an economy worth a measurable amount of money. The 2038 issue runs deeper, and it's not just a Linux problem. Linux clockpocalypse in 2038 is looming and there's no 'serio
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5G mobile phone emissions won't harm airliners, Britain's Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has said, dampening down excitement in the US about mobile masts interfering with airliners' altimeters. In December the US Federal Aviation Authority (FAA) issued warnings about the 5G C-band frequencies used for mobile phones, saying the 3.7-3.98GHz band used by phone masts clashed with airliner radio altimeters. Warnings duly went out telling airlines to watch out for problems, followed by two prominent US mobile network operators delaying the rollout of the C-band. Radio altimeters (radalts for short) calculate the height of an aeroplane above whatever's directly underneath it. Conventional pressure altimeters give a reading relative to a pilot-selected pressure setting, typically one relating to height above mean sea level. Radalts feed into all kinds of systems, including the Ground Proximity Warning System (GPWS; it's the one that shouts "pull up!" when airliners get too low) and similar safety systems, including autoland in bad weather. Yet a couple of weeks prior to that delay, the CAA said there was nothing to worry about. In a safety bulletin issued on 23 December, the regulator told pilots: "Conversations with other [national aviation authorities] has established that there have been no confirmed instances where 5G interference has resulted in aircraft system malfunction or unexpected behaviour," while cautiously adding: "Past performance is not a guarantee for future applications." As we previously reported, the US concerns focus on an October 2020 report from the Radio Technical Committee for Aeronautics. Its analysts carried out a simulatio
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US companies should be on the lookout for security nasties from Ukrainian partners following the digital graffiti and malware attack launched against Ukraine by Belarus, the CISA has warned. In a statement issued on Tuesday, the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency said it "strongly urges leaders and network defenders to be on alert for malicious cyber activity," having issued a checklist [PDF] of recommended actions to take. "If working with Ukrainian organizations, take extra care to monitor, inspect, and isolate traffic from those organizations; closely review access controls for that traffic," added CISA, which also advised reviewing backups and disaster recovery drills. On Monday Ukraine attributed a headline-grabbing mass defacement of government websites to Belarus, the attacks having taken place late last week. The CISA warning came after Microsoft published details of wiper ransomware deployed by a hitherto unknown criminal crew, later named as UNC1151 (aka Ghostwriter). Made to look like the most common threat facing businesses today, the malware merely deleted Windows boot records and encrypted files with common extensions such as .docx and .pdf; sending the equivalent of $10,000 in fake internet money to the address in the malware's ransom note wouldn't result in a helpful extortionist telling you how to recover your files. Ukraine shrugs off mass govt website defacement as world turns to stare at Russia Ukraine blames Belarus for PC-wiping 'ransomware' that has no recovery method and nukes target boxen Everything you need to know about the Petya, er, NotPetya nasty trashing PCs worldwide Largest advertising company in the world still wincing after NotPetya punch Threat intel firm Prevailion published research into UNC1151 last year, speculating in September that it was "likely a state-backed threat actor," explaining: "Their operations typically display messaging in general alignment with the security interests of the Russian Federation; their hallmarks include anti-NATO messaging, intimate knowledge of regional culture and politics, and strategic influence operations (such as hack-and-leak operations
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Interview Supply chain woes continue to batter the tech industry but that didn't deter the makers of the diminutive Microlino from introducing a new electric vehicle amid a pandemic and chip shortage. We last looked at the Microlino in 2021, when the bubble-like electric car was shown off at the Goodwood Festival of Speed. Not that the two-passenger (and three beer-crate) Isetta-inspired vehicle would have won any prizes for velocity, thanks to a maximum speed of 90kph. Still, in a market awash with concepts and dreams that are far from production, the Microlino looked to us to be an intriguingly practical proposition for urban transport. Sure, with a maximum range of 230km (143 miles) from the biggest battery, it wouldn't be undertaking any lengthy trips to the country. But for getting about town after four hours spent charging, the little thing has a certain appeal. Microlino v2 Pic: Microlino AG As production nears, and the first units look set to roll up outside customer houses in April or May, The Register caught up with company co-founder and CMO Merlin Ouboter about the ups and downs of bringing the vehicle to market. With the production line taking shape, the biggest problem is all too familiar – getting the parts required. "Apart from the general components su
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Version 7 of the WINE compatibility tool for running Windows programs on various *nix operating systems is here, bringing notably improved 64-bit support. WINE has come a long way. It took 18 years to get to version 1.0 and another nine years to get to version 2, but since version 3 in 2018, it's averaged roughly one major release per year. The project is now mature, stable, and quite functional. A lot of Windows programs work fine that formerly didn't. It's not limited to Linux – it also supports macOS and FreeBSD, and Linux relatives ChromeOS and Android. This may in part be due to its corporate backing. The project has had several business sponsors over the decades, including Corel, which invested substantial effort to help port WordPerfect Office, and later Google, which did the same so that the now-cancelled Picasa would work better on Linux. These days, its primary sponsor is Codeweavers, which sells a commercial version called CrossOver Office for Linux, macOS and ChromeOS, as well as tools and services to help with porting Windows apps. Those lists of platforms are significant. Back in the 20th century, when the WINE project started, GUIs were quite harmonious things, bringing – nay, enforcing – peace and harmony to the chaotic world of DOS apps. All Windows apps (and Mac ones too) tended to look and work quite similarly; this was a selling point of the platforms. Not any more. These days, loads of apps do their own thing, especially games, and UI standardisation has gone out the window. Bad for the users, but good for software vendors – because as long as you can make sure it runs stably, users can no longer spot a non-native app. So you can port a Windows game, for example, to macOS or to Linux without rewriting it, and so long as it works well enough, the users won't be any the wiser. So nowadays you can get Steam on both macOS and Linux, full of premium games – many of which were brought across from Windows. Valve's Proton will help those not officially available to run, as will the freeware PlayOnLinux... And it's all thanks to WINE. Progress report: Asahi Linux brings forth a usable basic desktop
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Toronto-based Citizen Lab has warned that an app required by Beijing law to attend the 2022 Olympics contains vulnerabilities that can leak calls and data to malicious users, as well as the potential to subject the user to scanning for censored keywords. "To support the successful delivery of the Games and the safety of all Games participants, Beijing 2022 has developed the 'My 2022' application, which includes information provided by the Organising Committee, the City of Beijing and also general information," reads the International Olympic Committee's Beijing 2022 playbooks. The playbooks [PDF], which are documents that serve as info guides for Olympics-goers, instruct international visitors to download the app and use it to monitor health for 14 days prior to their departure for China. The attendees are also instructed to upload their vaccination certificate and COVID test results to the app and of course it stores personal identifying information like passport number. The app's functions include real-time chat, voice audio chat, file transfers, language translating services, and bits and bobs of useful information like weather updates and GPS navigation. While the app may be useful for many reasons, it is required of all attendees ostensibly as a method of keeping coronavirus out of the Olympics in support of China's goal of zero COVID. These types of apps are used commonly by governments to stop the spread of COVID, but they are also commonly breached and exploited. And while the playbook states that "My 2022 app is in accordance with international standards and Chinese law," Citizen Lab has pointed out that internet platforms in China must control content communicated via their technology or face penalties. And definitions of illegal in China are often conveniently vague. For foreigners and foreign companies, the policies can be nerve-racking. LinkedIn jumped ship last October when it decided navigating China's censorship laws just wasn't worth it. Big shock: Guy who fled political violence and became rich in tech now struggles to care about political violence US-China chip cold war? It's only helping the Middle
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Semiconductor giants enjoyed soaring revenues in 2021 as global sales topped the half-trillion-dollar mark for the first time against a backdrop of squeezed supply chains. Preliminary numbers by tech analyst Gartner put revenues at $583.5bn for 2021, a jump of 25.1 per cent on the previous year with demand and raw material costs pushing up average selling prices (ASPs). There was also change at the top as Intel's crown was snatched back by Samsung. The US chipmaker's revenues were almost static, growing by a mere half a per cent (the lowest among the top 25 vendors) to $73.1bn. Sammy, on the
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American aviation regulators have banned the use of autoland at some of their country's airports as the local debate about 5G phone mast emissions and airliners continues – while Japan claims to have solved the problem a year ago. This morning Emirates, the UAE state airline, declared it was suspending flights to nine US airports as mobile network operators in the States said they were suspending their planned switch-on of 5G services. It follows Japan's All Nippon Airways (ANA), Japan Airlines and Air India, according to the Daily Mail. Yet in Japan itself the solution was straightforward,
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The UK's data watchdog has issued the Ministry of Justice with an Enforcement Order [PDF] after the government department broke data protection laws by failing to process thousands of subject access requests (SARs) without undue delay. The Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) said it was made aware of the backlog by the MoJ – the data controller – in January 2019 and spoke to the ministry over the course of the year, mulling potential action. Then the pandemic hit, leading to a change in the ICO's approach to regulatory action, and it paused the probe. By October 2020, the ICO asked for an update on the number of outstanding SARs, but the MoJ said it too was struggling under the COVID-19 outbreak and had sought to prioritise requests that were "urgent" due to legal proceedings like immigration hearings or police investigations. Between March and mid-April last year, the MoJ told the ICO it had 5,956 SARs that it had only partially responded to, including 372 that were made in 2018. In a further update in May 2021, the number of SARs only partially responded to had climbed to 6,398. The MoJ informed the ICO that full service for SARs would resume in October notwithstanding any further unforeseen restrictions. The number of overdue SARs had risen yet again by August to 7,752, with 25 requests that received no response and 7,728 which received a partial response. The MoJ told the ICO that 960 SARs considered "out of time" prior to the pandemic would be responded to in full by the close of May this year. The MoJ told the ICO, as quoted in the Enforcement Notice, that there were other routes for people to find out information held on them, and of course "they could submit a further SAR after the pandemic passed." Despite the backlog, the MoJ told the data regulator it received 34 complaints from folk that had requested data held on them but only got a partial or no response. The MoJ told the ICO it was reliant on the provision of manual and electronic information but operational capacity was limited by COVID-19 restrictions, something the ICO acknowledged, saying the MoJ had tried to comply with its statutory duties with regard to SARs. "However," the ICO said in its Enforcement Notice, "the substantial number of subject access requests which remain outstanding and which are out of time for compliance is a cause of
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UK tabletop wargames specialist Games Workshop has published the latest chapter in the long-running saga of how mighty IT warriors valiantly battled the intransigent forces of ERP. Players battle over the Blood Bowl tabletop game (a Games Workshop product set in an alternate version of the Warhammer fantasy setting – but with gameplay based on a mashup of rugby/American football) The Nottingham-based company behind the Warhammer figures has been locking horns with its gigantean adversary since at least 2017, according to reports at the time [PDF]. But in its latest half-year results [PDF] for the six months to 28 November 2021, the retailer and manufacturer admitted it spent another £500,000 on the project, with no end in sight. "We have made some good progress on implementing our European ERP system and we are working hard to help achieve the completion of this long and complex project with £0.5m incurred in the period," the report said. According to the company's annual report for 2018-19 [PDF], a move to a "more agile methodology" was intended to ensure the project would go live in 2020. Not only must the IT team take on the monstrous ERP project, but it must also do so with a sword hanging over its head. The latest results said: "With a number of significant business projects in play, all of which are dependent on IT support, there is a requirement for a robust IT strategy which enables us to deliver key strategic projects as well as supporting day to day activities. We are keeping the structure of our global IT team under review to ensure the IT support needs of the business can be delivered." The board has signed off on the first p
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Microsoft has bragged about how its HoloLens 2 is being used by doctors to assess care home residents in a COVID-safe way. One might wonder if the elderly haven't suffered enough during the pandemic without throwing Microsoft's Augmented Reality technology into the mix. However, with rules and guidance making in-person appointments a little tricky, having a staffer don the goggles while a doctor looks on remotely is not a terrible option. Microsoft unveiled the follow-up to its clunkier predecessor in 2019. At the time there was much rejoicing concerning 3D models and collaboration. Recent events have made that remote collaboration pitch seem somewhat prescient. That said, Granny won't be popping one on her head any time soon. This is all about the caregivers. The units – in use since October 2020 at Kendal Care Home in Cumbria, England – have replaced tablets and smartphones as ways for GPs to communicate with patients. The establishment describes itself as "a purpose-built luxury Care Home." Handy, since HoloLens 2 headsets could hardly be described as inexpensive. Microsoft seems intent on buying the gaming industry with $68.7bn purchase of troubled Activision Blizzard Microsoft patches the patch that broke VPNs, Hyper-V, and left servers in boot loops Email blocklisting: A Christmas gift from Microsoft that Linode can't seem to return Microsoft hires law firm to review sexual harassment policies, probe gender discrimination Since th
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The US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and Department of Justice (DoJ) Antitrust Division are launching a joint public inquiry as a first step to modernising merger guidelines and preventing anticompetitive deals. "Times have changed because the advent of the digital economy has transformed industry," said the DoJ's assistant attorney general, Jonathan Kanter, in a press conference on Tuesday. "The digital revolution has not only impacted new markets like tech, but markets across our economy, many of which have been rebuilt from the inside out." FTC chair Lina Khan said it was time for a merger review because the number of global deals reached in 2021 was the highest ever recorded – at a whopping $5.8 trillion –  with the DoJ receiving twice the number of merger filings as in 2020. The body said its hope was that the new merger guidelines would help it to better detect and prevent anticompetitive deals. David Lawrence, counsel to the assistant attorney general, said the increased filings had put a strain on the department processing them, which is likely an added incentive to get the these guidelines sorted. According to Khan, a lack of competition in some market segments had made them less resilient, and the current merger boom mostly benefited investment banks while harming everyday citizens through diminished opportunity, higher prices, lower wages, and lagging innovation. "Hearing from a broad set of market participants, especially those who have experienced first-hand the effects of mergers and acquisitions, will be critical to our efforts," said Khan. The Request for Information (RFI) seeks comments that can inform the DOJ and FTC of effective ways to strengthen the guidelines for a more forceful antitrust policy. The DoJ and FTC said the agencies are "particularly interested in aspects of competition the guidelines may underemphasize or neglect, such as labor market effects and non-price elements of competition like innovation, quality, potential competition," as well as "specific examples of mergers that have harmed competition." Within the details of the RFI is an entire section on digital markets. The last overhaul of merger guidelines happened in 2010, and before that in 1984. At the press conference, chief economist to the FTC chair John Kwoka explained these industries weren't as relevant and therefore not addressed 12 years ago. Microsoft seems intent on buying the gaming industry with $68.7bn purchase of troubled Activision Blizzard UK competition watchdog closes the comment book on Microsoft's Nuance merger Nvidia promises British authorities it won’t strong Arm rivals after proposed merger Facebook files challenge to UK Giphy buyout ban by complaining CMA was 'unfair' and 'irrational' Many of the companies thriving in the new digital economy, like those offering free services or much of Big Tech, take on a business model that flies under the radar of regulators, clearly using the inability to categorize, identify and measure their antics to their advantage. A recent University College London (UCL) study on Big Tech SEC-10k forms concluded that the regulatory body
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A man who claims he's the creator of Bitcoin says his private keys to £14m of Bitcoin SV were deleted by hackers in 2020 – and now he's suing developers to forcibly give him access to internet coins he "owns but cannot access." Craig Wright (yes, him again) is suing 15 people and one Swiss company in the hope of forcing them to "re-write or amend the underlying software code" so Wright can get his hands on a large amount of Bitcoin SV.* The High Court of England and Wales recently ordered Wright to pay the court security for costs in case he loses, with the resulting judgment shedding light on yet more English litigation involving Wright and Bitcoin. Master Clark, the procedural judge, summarised the main case as follows: Wright claims the defendants "owe fiduciary and tortious duties" to "re-write or amend the underlying software code to enable [Tulip Trading] to access the Bitcoin." It appears the judge may have confused Bitcoin (as in BTC, the original) with Bitcoin SV ("Bitcoin Satoshi Vision", a fork of a fork from the original Bitcoin. Continuing his run of bad luck, Wright's Tulip Trading** Ltd lost its bid to avoid having to pay security for costs. This is a legal procedure where if a judge believes a claimant might not have assets inside the jurisdiction that can be used to pay the other side's legal costs if they win, the claimant has to pay a substantial sum to the court, which passes it to the defendants at the end of the case or returns it accordingly. If the claimant doesn't pay, the case is halted. The 15 defendants include Bitcoin vlogger Roger Ver, Swiss company Bitcoin Association for BSV, and a list of other cryptocurrency enthusiasts, all of whom Wright says are developers involved in Bitcoin Core and Bitcoin Cash ABC, whatever that is. They've all refused Wright's demands, though a firm called nChain Ltd is "said to be working on a modification to the existing BSV client software, which would enable someone who owns but cannot access the BSV to regain control of them." Bitcoin 'inventor' will face forgery claims over his Satoshi Nakamoto proof, rules High Court Not the Wright stuff: Bitcoin 'inventor' loses bid to sue YouTuber who called him a liar 'Bitcoin creator' Craig Yeah Wright in meltdown Dr Craig Wright lodges 51 blockchain patents with Blighty IP office Wright claims he is the pseudonymous founder of Bitcoin, Satoshi Nakamoto, and has spawned a global litigation-themed pantomime in his wake as various people say, "oh no you're not," Wright says, "oh yes I am," and lawyers around the world bank fat fees from all the arguing. Last month, he had to pay £70m in Intellectual Property rights after technically winning a court case against the estate of a deceased business partner. Wright had told a Miami jury that he and David Kleiman co-created Bitcoin (BTC) through a professional partnership called W&K Info Defense Research. Back in 2016 Wright made posts on his blog that were roundly ridiculed by people after his "proofs" at the time turned out to be nonsense. ® Coin-note *1 Bitcoin SV is currently worth £81 according to a graph generated by Coinmarketcap, a website owne
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NASA's Curiosity rover has collected samples of rock from the surface of Mars that are rich in a type of carbon associated with biological processes on Earth. Is it a sign of ancient life? Well… maybe. It could be the result of methane having been released into the atmosphere of Mars by bacteria. That methane was then maybe converted into "larger, more complex molecules" by ultraviolet light, which rained down to the surface and were preserved (replete with distinctive carbon signature) in the rocks. At least that's how it works on Earth. The explanation could also be non-biological. It could be down to the interaction of carbon dioxide gas in the atmosphere with ultraviolet light, or per
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Tencent CEO Pony Ma Huateng referred to his Chinese multinational company as "ordinary" and replaceable in a leaked company speech given at the 2021 end of year employee meeting. A woman looks at the
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The UK government is backing away from proposals to remove individuals' rights to challenge decisions made about them by artificial intelligence following an early analysis of its consultation process. In its response to the consultation "Data: A new direction", which set out proposals for changing UK data protection law following the nation's departure from the European Union, the government would look to the "efficacy of safeguards" with respect to automated decision-making about people, rather than the removal of safeguards, Harry Lee, deputy director, data protection and data rights, Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport told a conference yesterday. In September 2021, the gov
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Some companies will go to great lengths to hide business expansion plans, but it appears AWS may have namechecked a defunct UK business in efforts to conceal a planning application for a new data cen
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