India’s homebrew RISC-V CPU goes on sale in new development board

Plus: Huawei’s tablets beat iPad sales; Japanese supermarket’s long ransomware fight; Do Kwon extradited

Asia In Brief India's home-grown DIR-V VEGA RISC-V processors have debuted in development boards.

The ARIES v3.0 development board, available at Amazon and Indian retailer Robu, starts at ₹1,649 ($19.20) and packs the VEGA ET1031 – a 32-bit RISC-V microprocessor that runs at 100MHz.

The Aries 3.0 board includes 256KB of SRAM, three UART ports, four serial peripheral interface ports, a trio of 32-bit timers, and two megabytes of flash memory.

India's Centre for Development of Advanced Computing, which backs the processor, has recommended it for use in sensors, small IoT devices, wearables, and toys.

While the CPU and the board are both modestly-specced, and don't compare well on price and performance with devices like the Raspberry Pi Zero, the debut of Aries 3.0 is an important achievement as India strives to become a source of semiconductors.

However the nation's ambition to develop server-class processors that meet domestic demands and create export markets remains nascent.

– Simon Sharwood

Huawei tablet shipments beat Apple's iPad

Huawei has taken Apple's crown as China's top vendor of tablet computers.

Analyst firm IDC last week detailed the Q4 2023 tablet market in the Middle Kingdom and found Huawei devices accounted for 30.8 percent of the 8.17 million devices shipped, ahead of Apple's 30.5 percent.

Apple has led tablet sales in China since 2010.

However Huawei won the biggest slice of a shrinking pie: IDC predicted overall tablet shipments in China fell 4.5 percent across 2023.

Japanese supermarket chain promises ransomware recovery in May

Japanese supermarket chain YouMe has revealed a ransomware infection it detected on February 15 won't be fully remediated until May 1.

Among the casualties was the chain's ordering system – leading to a warning that some items of stock may not make it to stores in coming weeks.

The retailer last week told customers it was not aware of personal information leaks, but advised that several services – including issuance of new store membership cards – were unavailable. Stores continue to operate normally during the recovery process.

In another APAC cyber attack last week, Australian telco Tangerine reported the leak of personal data from 232,000 current or former customer accounts after an unknown entity was able to gain credentials for a legacy customer database.

The creds were assigned to "a single user engaged by Tangerine on a contract basis."

– Simon Sharwood

Crypto criminal Do Kwon to be extradited to the US

The question of which nation – the United States or South Korea – will extradite crypto villain Do Kwon from Montenegro appears to have been answered, after the High Court of Podgorica last week ruled that the South Korean native will first face charges stateside, according to reports.

Kwon's lawyers were reportedly granted three days to appeal the ruling.

Kwon is scheduled to face trial on fraud related charges brought by the US Securities and Exchange Commission on March 25. His enterprise, Terraform Labs, backed a so-called stablecoin that crashed and wiped $42 billion from investor portfolios.

Terraform Labs' CFO was extradited earlier this month to South Korea.

The pair were apprehended in Montenegro for using forged passports to enter the country in March 2023.

Indonesia makes social media pay for news content

The president of Indonesia, Joko Widodo, signed into law a requirement that social media platforms financially compensate media outlets for posting links to their content.

The law is scheduled to take effect in August. Widodo described the move as ensuring "a fair cooperation between media and digital platforms."

According to Reuters, Facebook believes the law does not include content voluntarily posted by news publishers.

"Following multiple rounds of consultations with the government, we understand Meta will not be required to pay for news content that publishers voluntarily post to our platforms," Meta public policy director Rafael Frankel reportedly said.

India lets foreigners invest in space biz

India's Union Cabinet last week approved a plan that will allow 100 percent foreign direct investment (FDI) when it comes to manufacturing of satellite components.

Previously, such FDI was available only with government approval.

Other changes include allowing 74 percent overseas investment from satellite manufacturing and operations and 49 percent for launch vehicles and associated systems. A higher percentage is allowed with government approval.

"The said policy aims to augment space capabilities; develop a flourishing commercial presence in space; use space as a driver of technology development and derived benefits in allied areas; pursue international relations and create an ecosystem for effective implementation of space applications among all stakeholders," read the announcement.

In other news …

Other regional news The Register covered last week included a leak of data from Chinese security contractor I-Soon that offered insights into how Beijing uses private sector infosec specialists to conduct surveillance and espionage. Also in China we covered telco China Unicom becoming the nation's second carrier to top a billion subscribers, plus local scientists developing optical disks with colossal capacity that could reach 200 terabytes.

In less happy news for China's government, Beijing's surveillance and censorship apparatus was rated a bureaucratic mess by a US-based think tank.

We also looked at Vietnam gathering biometrics including DNA for a new national ID card, Singapore's central bank recommending a roadmap financial institutions can use to protect their assets against quantum decryption, and Elon Musk's X challenging takedown orders issued by India's government.

At the Supercomputing Asia 2024 conference in Sydney, Australia, we heard criticism of Australia's HPC investment plans, learned of the Square Kilometre Array Precursor's efforts to cope with interference from satellites, and a new and largely secret supercomputer coming online later this year. ®

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