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Biting the hand that feeds IT — sci/tech news and views for the world

Iran kills the internet for its people’s own good as riots grip the Middle Eastern nation

Country offline for third day in response to protests

Iran is offline and has been for three days after the government responded to widespread protests by killing the internet.…

Posted on 19 November 2019 | 1:12 am

American firms get a 90-day to wrap up deals with 'dangerous' Chinese supplier; that's Huawei the news goes

Department of Commerce relents on blockade plans

US telcos will be able to continue doing business with Huawei for the time being.…

Posted on 18 November 2019 | 11:22 pm

The US Army recruits WALL-E, er Chris H, as its next-generation bomb disposal robot

Terminator it ain't, but should prove useful and a little lovable

The US Army has is building a new 248-strong robot regiment to help defuse or detonate explosives and has just spent $109m on the new hardware, which bears an unfortunate similarity to the beloved cartoon character WALL-E.…

Posted on 18 November 2019 | 10:21 pm

You're about to gouda major change in Microsoft cloud security after Redmond agrees to go Dutch on data

Will take the GDPR hit for all cloud biz so you don't have to

Microsoft says it will be making a data protection deal it struck with the Dutch Ministry of Justice and Security into a global policy for its cloud services.…

Posted on 18 November 2019 | 8:18 pm

Interpol: Strong encryption helps online predators. Build backdoors

Multinational cop agency reportedly set to issue statement

Multinational police agency Interpol is due to say that tech companies deploying strong encryption helps paedophiles – unless they build backdoors for police workers.…

Posted on 18 November 2019 | 5:30 pm

Apple's latest keyboard travels back in time to when they weren't crap

It's Magic!

The MacBook keyboard nightmare is over – Apple's latest attempt reverts back to something remarkably similar to the key design it was using up until 2016. The one that worked.…

Posted on 18 November 2019 | 5:00 pm

Intel end-of-lifing BIOS and driver downloads for dusty hardware

You have four days left to nab what you need

Intel is removing drivers and BIOS for its old desktop boards so anyone running an old Pentium-based PC has four days to get hold of anything they might need.…

Posted on 18 November 2019 | 4:24 pm

Pack your bags, you're going to America, Lord Chief Justice tells accused Brit hacker

High Court throws out Nathan Wyatt's extradition appeal

A Briton once suspected of hacking Pippa Middleton's iCloud account – although he was cleared after a police probe in 2016 – now faces deportation to America.…

Posted on 18 November 2019 | 3:42 pm

Anomaly-free SpaceX fires up SuperDracos, ISS astros go iFixit in orbit, and Buran turns 31

Plus: That time the first American in space gave 'nauts an on-air telling off

Roundup  Last week SpaceX proved its Crew Dragon abort engines can work, ISS 'nauts embarked on an EVA to fix their particle physics detector, and Searching for Skylab got a director's cut of sorts.…

Posted on 18 November 2019 | 3:10 pm

'Literally a paperweight': Bose users fume at firmware update that 'doesn't fix issues'

Lexus of speakers fails to address months of complaints, say users

Firmware updates to Bose TV soundbars don't seem to have fixed the problems for everyone and have even managed to add some new issues.…

Posted on 18 November 2019 | 1:45 pm

From humble Unix sysadmin to brutal separatist suppressor to president of Sri Lanka

Today you toil. Who knows what tomorrow brings?

A former Unix sysadmin has been elected the new president of Sri Lanka, giving hope to all those IT workers who fear they are trapped in a role where the smallest of decisions can have catastrophic consequences if it goes wrong.…

Posted on 18 November 2019 | 1:02 pm

If it's not cloud, GTFO: Sage flogs payments business to US firm Elavon for £230m

Continues big old offload of 'non-core' assets

UK accounting software biz Sage is flogging its payments arm to US firm Elavon for £230m, the latest asset offload of its "non-core" businesses in favour of those with a cloudier flavour.…

Posted on 18 November 2019 | 12:06 pm

NASA told to get act together on commercial crew vendors as chance of US-free ISS rises

Missed your deadlines? Here, have some more taxpayer dosh

Auditors minced no words in their assessment (PDF) of NASA's Commercial Crew providers: overdue, overbudget and overpaid.…

Posted on 18 November 2019 | 11:29 am

The Bloodhound Gang hits 1,010kph, retreats to lab to work on smashing the land speed record

Supersonic air detected

Bloodhound LSR hit 628mph (1,010kph) in high-speed testing over the weekend, as fast as its current rocket will propel it.…

Posted on 18 November 2019 | 11:01 am

Rapid-fire Windows 10 builds, Azure on Arm not for the eyes of mortals, and Teams at 10,000ft

All the Microsoft excitement you missed while installing 19H2

Roundup  As Microsoft luxuriated in the Ignite afterglow, the hardworking Reg gnomes deep within the Windows mines managed to unearth a nugget or two of news you may have missed.…

Posted on 18 November 2019 | 10:03 am

Ex-Capita accountant who claimed £10k bung to leave was blackmail has appeal thrown out

You didn't work 2 weeks straight so you couldn't have been whistleblowing, tribunal rules

A Capita accountant who turned down a £10,000 bung to leave the firm only to be sacked anyway has lost her appeal against a rejected Employment Tribunal case.…

Posted on 18 November 2019 | 9:15 am

Email! HUH! Yeah. What is it good for? Absolutely nothing...

... thanks to today's entrant in the Who, Me? hall of shame

Who, Me?  Bid farewell to the weekend and a cheery hello to the week with another seepage from The Register's confessional in the form of our Who, Me? column.…

Posted on 18 November 2019 | 8:15 am

Pemex hit by ransomware, US Postal Service gets a copycat and new WhatsApp bugs

Plus, 1Password gets a boatload of cash

It's time for another Register security roundup of the week's smaller stories you may have missed.…

Posted on 18 November 2019 | 7:01 am

Twitter wants help with deepfakes, and Microsoft Azure will rent out new AI chips for its cloud users, and more

Plus a deepfake video that will freak you out

Roundup  Here's this week's collection of AI-related news that we found interesting. Read on to find out more about a new chip coming to Microsoft Azure and how Twitter hopes to deal with deepfakes.…

Posted on 18 November 2019 | 6:01 am

HP to Xerox: Nope, your $33.5bn bid falls short of our valuation

Board keeps door open... HPOX not a total impossibility, at least not if Carl Icahn has his way

HP’s board has spurned the advances of Xerox, saying the $33.5bn opening bid “significantly undervalues” the business.…

Posted on 18 November 2019 | 12:02 am

A bridge over troubled water: Intel teases Ponte Vecchio, the GPU brains in US govt's 1-exaFLOPS Aurora supercomputer

If at first you don't succeed, Phi Phi again

SC19  Intel today confirmed the identity of the GPU-based math-accelerator chip it will offer to supercomputer builders.…

Posted on 18 November 2019 | 12:00 am

Welcome to cultured meat – not pigs reading Proust but a viable alternative to slaughter

The meatball that shook the world has investors salivating

At the second annual Cultured Meat Symposium in San Francisco on Friday, donuts featured prominently on the breakfast menu and lunch involved only plant-based options. Attendees the day before had the opportunity to sample mechanically prepared beef burgers, courtesy of robo-restaurateur Creator, but lab-fabbed meat didn't make an appearance. Give it about five years – that was a guestimate from one attendee.…

Posted on 16 November 2019 | 10:03 am

5G SIM-swap attacks could be even worse for industrial IoT than now

Trust your hardware? Pah, you oughta trust nobody

Claims that 5G offers “better security” for IoT may not ring true – with the technology remaining vulnerable to SIM-jacking attacks within private Industry 4.0-style deployments, according to infosec biz Trend Micro.…

Posted on 16 November 2019 | 12:21 am

Physicists are rather giddy after creating a rare type of laser using laughing gas

Tanks of nitrous oxide needed for, erm, science eh?

A team of researchers have built a terahertz laser that might one day see through clothes, book covers, and even skin, using laughing gas, according to a paper in Science.…

Posted on 15 November 2019 | 10:38 pm

Oracle and Google will fight in court over Java AGAIN and this time it's going to the Supremes

The case that just won't die

The US Supreme Court has agreed to once and for all decide the copyright case between Oracle and Google after nine years of legal wrangling.…

Posted on 15 November 2019 | 9:09 pm

Denial of service kingpin hit with 13 months denial of freedom and a massive bill to pay

Illinois man gets more than a year in the slammer for $550K DDoS scheme

A US court has sentenced the operator of a massive DDoS service to 13 months in prison.…

Posted on 15 November 2019 | 7:40 pm

Uncle Sam prepping order to extradite ex-Autonomy boss Mike Lynch from the UK

Meanwhile, his co-defendant has troubles getting into land of the free

The US State Department has until 1 December to get its paperwork in order and show how it wishes to proceed in attempting to extradite ex-Autonomy boss Mike Lynch to face charges.…

Posted on 15 November 2019 | 7:00 pm

1Password hopes to cross some items off its todo list with help from $200m in venture capital

Though not much detail on said list, except security and privacy

Some 14 years after it was founded and with no external funding taken in during that time, 1Password has finally succumbed to the charms - and $200m in cash - of venture cap biz Accel.…

Posted on 15 November 2019 | 6:00 pm

Tonight on Tales from the Crypto: It lives! GPU flinger Nvidia bouncing back after miner affair

Just goes to show, stick with what you know

The ill-conceived and costly error of doubling down on the crypto-market is almost a distant memory for Nvidia as the GPU maker reported results that indicate an upward turn in fortunes.…

Posted on 15 November 2019 | 5:00 pm

White Screen of Death: Admins up in arms after experimental Google emission borks Chrome

Change rolled back, but it's not a good look

An experimental feature silently rolled out to the stable Chrome release on Tuesday caused chaos for IT admins this week after users complained of facing white, featureless tabs on Google's massively popular browser.…

Posted on 15 November 2019 | 4:00 pm

Google promises to be good with Knative as it releases Cloud Run serverless containers

Admits open-source API bigger than any one company, but it is not letting go

Google's Cloud Run service, which lets you run containers on Kubernetes (K8s) using a serverless model, has hit general availability, and El Reg has taken it for quick spin.…

Posted on 15 November 2019 | 3:15 pm

TalkTalk says it's yet to close deal on FibreNation as UK telecoms industry reels over Labour's nationalisation plans

'The news overnight ... making everybody in the sector pause and consider'

TalkTalk has yet to find a buyer for its infrastructure investment vehicle Fibre Nation, the business revealed in its results for the half year to 30 September.…

Posted on 15 November 2019 | 2:30 pm

[NSFW] What a load of bollards! Object of bloke's street furniture romp run over

Still a better love story than Twilight

NSFW  In what is certainly a crowded field, step forward the Doncaster Free Press and take a bow for the best local news headline of 2019: "Doncaster traffic bollard used by man for sex 'killed' in road smash".…

Posted on 15 November 2019 | 1:45 pm

Use the courts, Jeff: Amazon to contest Microsoft scooping $10bn JEDI contract

Bezos' empire strikes back claiming 'unmistakable bias', self-recused defense chief denies it

Amazon is headed for court to contest the surprise decision to hand Microsoft the $10bn US Department of Defense JEDI IT supply contract.…

Posted on 15 November 2019 | 1:00 pm

Huawei's first Google-free phone stripped and searched: Repair not too painful... once you're in

Mate 30 Pro's modular innards praised, but glue still abundant

The good geeks of iFixit have ripped open Huawei's first Google-free handset, the Mate 30 Pro, to find a serious battery powering the big screen and sophisticated camera setup.…

Posted on 15 November 2019 | 12:23 pm

Can't you hear me knocking? But I installed a smart knocker

I'll huff and I'll puff...

Something for the Weekend, Sir?  Help, I forgot my keys! [rummage] Oh yes, of course – ah don' need no stinkin' keys, my front door locks smartly.…

Posted on 15 November 2019 | 11:30 am

High Court dismisses nameless Google Right To Be Forgotten sueball man... yes, again

Amazingly made it to 2 years without telling anyone his name

The High Court of Justice in London yesterday dismissed another attempt by an unnamed man, who refuses to identify himself to the UK courts, to take his Right To Be Forgotten legal action to the Court of Appeal.…

Posted on 15 November 2019 | 10:30 am

Labour: Free British broadband for country if we win general election

The 1980s called and it wants its state-owned telco-provider back

Labour will today pledge to give the good folk of Britain free broadband by 2030 by part-nationalising BT - if the political party gets elected.…

Posted on 15 November 2019 | 9:35 am

Like a BAT outta hell, Brave browser hits 1.0 with crypto-coin rewards for your fave websites

*Cough cough*

The privacy-focused Brave web browser has reached version 1.0, available now for Windows, macOS, Linux, iOS and Android.…

Posted on 15 November 2019 | 9:15 am

The silence of the racks is deafening, production gear has gone dark – so which wire do we cut?

Well, Clarice?

On Call  Hit reset on the working week for Friday has arrived and with it another entry in The Register's long list of on-call shenanigans.…

Posted on 15 November 2019 | 8:10 am

Boffins harnessed the brain power of mice to build AI models that can't be fooled

How neuroscience can help AI

In a bizarre experiment, researchers recorded the brain activity of mice staring at images and used the data to help make computer vision models more robust against adversarial attacks.…

Posted on 15 November 2019 | 7:01 am

Try as they might, ransomware crooks can't hide their tells when playing hands

Sophos sees common behavior across various infections

Common behaviors shared across all families of ransomware are helping security vendors better spot and isolate attacks.…

Posted on 15 November 2019 | 6:01 am

Boffins show the 2017 Nork nuke can move, move, move any mountain (by a meter)

Satellite radar imaging shows explosion was 17 times more powerful than Hiroshima

The explosion from North Korea’s sixth nuclear test in 2017 was seventeen times more powerful than the atomic bomb detonated over Hiroshima in 1945, according to a paper published in Geophysical Journal International.…

Posted on 15 November 2019 | 5:01 am

Feds indict 14 over alleged scheme to get Apple to replace fake iPhones with real ones

Cloned kit had real IMEI and serial numbers, keeping the scam going for eight years

US federal authorities on Wednesday announced the arrests of 11 people from a group of 14 indicted for tricking Apple into accepting about almost 10,000 fake iPhones and iPads and replacing them with genuine iDevices.…

Posted on 15 November 2019 | 12:20 am

In your face! US Senate mulls bipartisan federal law on police facial recognition use

Bill would require cops to get a court order for any surveillance

A bipartisan bill making its way through the US Senate asks that federal law enforcement get a court order before any use of facial recognition tech.…

Posted on 14 November 2019 | 10:21 pm

GitHub gathers friends for a security code cleanse to scrub that software up to spec

Rallies partners and shares tools to reduce software bugs

GitHub, Microsoft's cloud version control service and gripe forum, has joined with a handful of like-minded partners to form GitHub Security Lab (GSL) to better find bugs in open source software.…

Posted on 14 November 2019 | 10:02 pm

What a pair of Massholes! New England duo cuffed over SIM-swapping cryptocoin charges

Account takeovers allegedly used to plunder digital wallets

Two men from Massachusetts have been arrested and charged with 11 criminal counts stemming from a string of account takeovers and cryptocurrency thefts.…

Posted on 14 November 2019 | 8:52 pm

NASA spanks $34bn on a disposable rocket – likely to top $50bn by 2024 moon landing

Inspector General's report slams agency for overly optimistic costings

NASA's Office of the Inspector General has emitted a report (PDF) yesterday that made for difficult reading for agency bigwigs, as the bean counters made clear the challenges presented by the agency's headlong rush to the Moon.…

Posted on 14 November 2019 | 7:37 pm

Microsoft's first build of Armium Edge now lurks in Canary channel – go have a play if you dare

Plus: Windows 10 19H2 quietly shuffles out of the shadows

The first official build of Microsoft's Chromium Edge browser has arrived a week after the Arm-based Surface Pro X began shipping to eager fans.…

Posted on 14 November 2019 | 5:07 pm

50 years ago, someone decided it would be OK to fire Apollo 12 through a rain cloud. Awks, or just 'SCE to Aux'?

Rule 1-404: Thou shalt not launch if the weather is crap

Part 1  It is half a century since NASA's second crack at landing a crew on the Moon had a shocking encounter on the way to orbit.…

Posted on 14 November 2019 | 4:18 pm