Evidence is thin, but Natanz enrichment facility is offline
Iran has admitted that one of its nuclear facilities went offline over the weekend, and a single report claiming Israeli cyber-weapons were the cause has been widely accepted as a credible explanation for the incident.
Iran on Sunday published this announcement that said an “accident” impacted the “electricity distribution network” at its Natanz enrichment facility.
The facility was inaugurated the previous day, and is thought to have the capability to enrich Uranium and to represent capacity for uses prohibited under the US/Iran nuclear deal. The Trump administration tore up that deal, but the Biden administration hoped to revisit the pact.
Iranian officials have said that whatever hit Natanz was an act of “nuclear terrorism”. The Register can find no indication that any radioactive material has been exposed.
Few nations like the idea of Iran enhancing its nuclear capabilities, but Israel is implacably opposed to the idea. In 1981 Israel bombed a nuclear plant in the early stages of construction and in the early 2000s 2010 is thought to have collaborated on the Stuxnet worm that eventually damaged centrifuges used to refine nuclear materials at Natanz.
Iranian contractor named as Stuxnet 'patient zero'
Not long after the news of this weekend’s electrical incident, the Israeli Public Broadcasting Corporation reported that intelligence sources had told its reporters the accident was in fact a cyber-attack. The Corporation is an independent public broadcaster.
But the say-so of just one of the Corporation’s shows is all the evidence that Israel had any hand in the attack. While Israel does not comment on such matters officially, Israeli politicians have claimed that Natanz was more badly damaged than Iran is letting on.
Iran says it is investigating the cause incident and will announce its findings in due course. ®
Quality control, Soviet style: Here's another fine message you've gotten me into
Moscow. 1978. It always feels ... somebody's watching me
Who, Me? We return to the Cold War in today's Who, Me? Start your week with suspected sabotage, computer sleuthery, and a satisfying slug of Grand Marnier deep in the heart of 1970s Москва.
It was 1978 and our reader was working for a firm that had just sold a computer to the company that manufactured the Moskvitch.
Sadly now defunct, the Moskvitch was the must-have car of the time for citizens of the Soviet Union (officially, at least). Despite being the butt of a thousand jokes, demand for the vehicle outstripped supply and people found themselves with a substantial wait before they could get their hands on the rear-wheel-drive engineering marvel.
China whacks Alibaba with US$2.8B fine for breaking antitrust rules
Alibaba takes it on the chin, apologises, promises to do better (and maybe feels it got off lightly with fine representing four percent of revenue)
Alibaba has humbly accepted that it broke China's antitrust laws and will pay a colossal fine.
Chinese authorities fined Alibaba Group US$2.77B on Saturday, the largest antitrust penalty Beijing has ever issued. The fine represents four percent of Alibaba's most recent full-year earnings.
China’s State Administration for Market Regulation (SAMR) issued a statement detailing Alibaba's transgressions and its investigation.
India's open-source community challenges crypto-busting content-removal and ID-recording Code
Object to ‘undue burden of compliance on volunteer communities’
India’s Software Freedom Law Center has assisted an open-source developer and advocate to challenge the nation’s new Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code on grounds it imposes unfair burdens on developers.
A petition [PDF] to the Kerala High Court filed by Praveen Arimbrathodiyil, a free and open-source software (FOSS) developer, former Pirate Party candidate, and volunteer member of the Free Software Community of India, points out that numerous open-source projects are covered by the new Code.
Arimbrathodiyil’s petition argues that software such as the open Extensible Messaging and Presence Protocol (XMPP), or the Diaspora messaging tool, could therefore covered by the new code’s requirement for users to be identifiable by Indian authorities and for messages to be decryptable. Another argument points out that even if Indian organisations apply the Code locally, some parts of federated messaging systems are beyond their reach yet appear to be required to comply with the Code.
United States' plan to beat China includes dominating tech standards groups, especially for 5G
'Strategic Competition Act' calls for appointment of a new ambassador-at-large for tech
America's plan to compete with China includes a call for the land of the free to dominate tech standards bodies, especially for 5G, and to appoint an ambassador level official to lead a new “Technology Partnership Office” that Washington will use to drive tech collaboration among like-minded nations.
Released last Thursday by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and expected to have bipartisan support, the draft Strategic Competition Act of 2021 offers 281 pages of policy aimed at “ensuring the United States is postured to compete with China for decades to come,” in the words of ranking member US Senator Jim Risch (R-Idaho).
The bill [PDF] devotes a section to “digital technology and connectivity,” the first item of which is a “statement of policy on leadership in international standards setting,” as follows:
Four key challenges in your move toward an all-flash data center in the Intelligent Age
And how Huawei tackles them all
Huawei Sun 11 Apr 2021 // 22:30 UTC
Sponsored Explosive data has become the core means of production and the catalyst for the digital economy. In the next five to 10 years, the amount of data to be stored will increase from 32 ZB in 2018 to 180 ZB by 2025. This data explosion will further drive the maturity of the data value chain and propel enterprises' decision-making and innovation.
We are at the dawn of an Intelligent Era, and data centre operators need to rise to the challenge. To take one example, when building new data centres, they should evaluate all-flash options. Let’s take a look at some of the best practices that they should consider.
Satellite collision anticipated by EU space agency fails to materialize... for now at least
Internet rubberneckers and crisis-starved media left to ponder non-event
Two days ago, the EU Space Surveillance and Tracking (EU SST) initiative warned of a possible collision on Friday between two orbiting objects, but it now appears they passed each other without incident.
The two chunks of space junk are identified as OPS 6182 (1978-042A), a defunct US meteorological satellite, and SL-8 R/B (1981-041B), a rocket body launched in 1971 by the former Soviet Union to deliver a satellite into orbit.
Initially, EU SST estimated the chance of collision at above 1 per cent, and by Thursday, that figure had been revised upward to more than 20 per cent. The abandoned pieces of equipment were initially expected to come within 10m of each other, an uncomfortably small gap given the possible consequences.
Wormhole encrypted file transfer app reboots Firefox Send after Mozilla fled
App's developers believe they can manage potential abuse
Earlier this month, a startup called Socket, Inc., launched Wormhole, a web app for encrypting files and making them available to those who receive the URL-embedded encryption key, without exposing the files to the cloud-based intermediary handling the transfer.
That may sound a bit like what Mozilla tried to do with Firefox Send, launched in 2017 and shut down a year and a half later. And that's intentional.
"Wormhole is a reboot of Firefox Send, but with many improvements," explained Feross Aboukhadijeh, a widely known open source developer and co-founder of Socket, in an email to The Register. "We loved Firefox Send and were so disappointed when it was shut down that we decided to rebuild it, but with additional enhancements."
Texan's alleged Amazon bombing effort fizzles: Militia man wanted to take out 'about 70 per cent of the internet'
Someone hasn't heard of redundancy
The US Justice Department on Friday announced the arrest of Seth Aaron Pendley, 28, for allegedly planning to blow up a single Amazon data center in Ashburn, Virginia, which he thought would knock out around 70 per cent of the internet.
Pendley, the feds said, was arrested on Thursday after supposedly trying to buy explosives from an undercover agent in Fort Worth, Texas. He came to the attention of authorities after someone alerted the FBI on January 8, 2021 – two days after the violent US Capitol insurrection – to troubling statements posted by the suspect to MyMilitia.com, a forum for organizing militia groups.
Pendley's Facebook account, it's claimed, shows his boasting about participating in the protests in Washington, DC, on January 6. He's said to have told friends in private messages that he didn't enter the Capitol building but did manage to reach a platform outside where he took a piece of broken glass and "interacted" with the police.
Lenovo's latest gaming monster: Eight cores, 3.2GHz, giant heat sink, two fans. Oh, and it has a phone bolted on
Mammoth as a mobe, but serious as a game device
Lenovo's latest tech features top-shelf components and new cooling technologies.
Designed for gaming, the Chinese firm claims it provides a 35 per cent performance boost plus a full suite of premium features over the previous generation. The kit is also equipped with Qualcomm's Snapdragon 888 5G mobile platform. Yep. Because it is a phone.
Here are some specs for the Lenovo Legion Phone Duel 2:
Amazon claims victory after warehouse workers in Alabama vote to reject union
Retail union accuses the tech giant of illegally swaying votes, files complaint
Amazon warehouse workers in Bessemer, Alabama, voted against unionization, according to results announced on Friday.
The battle waged by pro-union workers, represented by the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU), was regarded as a crucial first step for fighting against working conditions at Amazon’s so-called fulfillment centers. The threat to the e-commerce giant could potentially set a precedent for other warehouses across the US to unionize.
But their efforts were shut down, after the majority of their colleagues voted against them. “Thank you to employees at our BHM1 fulfillment center in Alabama for participating in the election,” Amazon said in a statement.
State of Iowa approves $17m in budget for Workday project after bid to use coronavirus relief funds was denied
Questions raised about procurement process but, gosh, they badly need a replacement HR system
The US State of Iowa has approved $17m in its 2022 budget to replace an HR system dating back to the 1980s with Workday software.
Opposition state representative Chris Hall reportedly refused to back the funding, raising concerns about the lack of competitive bidding for the $52m, five-year project, which will also replace government financial planning software.
Questions have been asked about the procurement as former chief of staff to the state Jake Ketzner is now a lobbyist for the California SaaS specialist. Enthusiasts can listen to local newshound Erin Jordan get a firm "no comment" from Workday's Ketzner before he hangs up to go into a "meeting" here.