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Australia blocks Huawei, ZTE from 5G rollout

Claims network protections are 'ineffective' in 5G. No, really


Five Eyes member Australia has banned Huawei and ZTE from participating in the coming rollout of 5G mobile networks – without naming the companies.

Huawei has long been blocked from supplying network hardware for the country's National Broadband Network (a fixed line network), but telecommunications carriers like Telstra, Optus, and Vodafone were free to use its equipment in their mobile networks.

Treasurer Scott Morrison and now-former communications minister Mitch Fifield (he resigned shortly after the announcement amid leadership turmoil in Australia) announced the ban this morning.

The pair cited concern that Huawei would be subject to Chinese government influence, which would put Australia's national security at risk.

UK's Huawei handler dials back support for Chinese giant's kit in critical infrastructure

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“The Government considers that the involvement of vendors who are likely to be subject to extrajudicial directions from a foreign government that conflict with Australian law, may risk failure by the carrier to adequately protect a 5G network from unauthorised access or interference”, the statement said.

“Carriers may still need to apply controls regardless of the vendor they choose. These controls would not displace existing cybersecurity practices or business risk mitigations”, the statement added.

Unsurprisingly, Huawei has expressed its disappointment with the decision:

While the statement didn't name individual vendors, ZTE (which has a much smaller presence in Australia) will also be hit by the ban.

Britain, which allowed Huawei into BT's network, has been growing wary about Huawei's security, and ZTE was the subject of a spooks' warning in April this year.

Showing their credentials as systems architects, the Fifield/Morrison statement said allowing Huawei into edge networks (radio kit and associated switches) isn't viable in 5G.

The statement said: “Where previous mobile networks featured clear functional divisions between the core and the edge, 5G is designed so that sensitive functions currently performed in the physically and logically separated core will gradually move closer to the edge of the network. In that way, the distinction between the core and the edge will disappear over time”.

“This new architecture provides a way to circumvent traditional security controls by exploiting equipment in the edge of the network”, it continued.

The Australian government's advice seems to suggest that an attacker could compromise the “integrity and availability” of the 5G network – in other words, the government believes hostile actors could crash the 5G network, and the carriers that own the equipment would be powerless to prevent them.

Current protections, the statement said, would be “ineffective” in 5G networks, even though the government last year gave itself the power to direct how carriers conduct their network security. ®

Bootnote

Whether the ban's still in place by the time the network rollouts begin is very much up in the air. The government is currently in turmoil: Fifield resigned shortly after issuing the statement, because he withdrew his support from prime minister Malcolm Turnbull in a leadership battle.

At the time of writing, the collapse of the government is feasible, and its chances of surviving the next election look slim.

However, by 2019, when the election is due, carriers will want to have their infrastructure arrangements well in hand.

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Amazon notices Apple, Google cutting app store commission rates, follows suit

Keeps small-time devs on the reservation with AWS credits, too

Amazon this week said it would reduce its Appstore commission rate for less successful developers, following recent similar moves by Apple and Google, and is sweetening its deal by offering AWS credits to support apps' backend services.

"Starting in Q4, for developers that earned less than $1m in revenue in the previous calendar year, we are increasing developer revenue share and adding AWS credit options," said Palanidaran Chidambaram, director of the Amazon Appstore, in a blog post. "This brings total program benefits up to an equivalent of 90 percent of revenue."

Amazon will allow developers to retain 80 per cent of app revenue, keeping 20 per cent for itself. The company suggests those using AWS credits will add another 10 per cent to the developer take. It's calling its largesse the Amazon Appstore Small Business Accelerator Program.

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FCC pushes forward on rules to block the certification of new telecoms gear from ZTE and Huawei

Crackdown on loopholes that allow 'high-risk' vendors to have equipment approved for use in the US

The US Federal Communications Commission is pressing forward with a proposal that would ban telecommunications providers [PDF] from using equipment made by manufacturers deemed to present a risk to national security.

The agency has opened a request for comments on rules that would revoke the certification of any equipment listed by the Secure and Trusted Communications Networks Act of 2019. This probe has also sought to gauge the temperature for withdrawing certification for "high-risk" equipment already deployed by carriers.

Both Huawei and ZTE were listed in the notification, as well as smaller entities that have earned the ire of US government. These include the Hytera Communications Corporation, which produces radio systems for cellular and industrial users, as well as video surveillance vendors Dahua and Hikvision.

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New York congressman puts forward federal right-to-repair bill

Fair Repair Act targets all varieties of electronic devices

A New York congressman has introduced a federal right-to-repair bill, just a week after the state's Senate passed a bill addressing the same issue. That state bill has failed to progress, we note.

The proposed federal-level legislation, though, would compel original equipment manufacturers to provide consumers and independent businesses access to the tools, schematics, and parts required to fix broken devices.

Dubbed the Fair Repair Act, and proposed by House Rep Joe Morelle (D-NY), the bill would provide an equal basis for all consumers and independent repair shops. Although great strides have been made pushing similar legislation on the state level, with bills introduced or passed in 27 states this year alone, progress has not been evenly divided.

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Petition instructs Jeff Bezos to buy, eat world's most famous painting

Booze-fuelled Change.org campaign implores Amazon founder to 'GOBBLE DA LISA!'

Ultra-billionaire Amazon founder Jeff Bezos has already been the subject of a petition asking him not to return to Earth after he blasts off in his New Shepard rocket on July 20, but even if he is allowed back, Bezos is now facing an even more difficult prospect.

The aerodynamically-pated arch-villain archetype and his vast fortune are increasingly becoming subjects of fascination for the denizens of campaign website Change.org, with multiple petitions currently running, mostly trying to persuade him to divert some of his almost-limitless resources toward good causes.

However, some users are suggesting more novel and entertaining uses for his immense wealth. Change.org user Kane Powell has chosen to use the platform to attempt to persuade Bezos to buy and eat the Mona Lisa, the supposedly priceless Leonardo da Vinci masterpiece housed in the Louvre in Paris.

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Microsoft: Try to break our first preview of 64-bit Visual Studio – go on, we dare you

Plus: Updates to .NET 6, ASP.NET Core, and .NET MAUI

Microsoft has unveiled a slew of developer tools, including a preview of the 64-bit Visual Studio 2022, ahead of that developer event set for 24 June.

Preview 1 of Visual Studio 2022 comes direct from the department of never-say-never following version after version of the toolset remaining staunchly 32-bit, even as the hardware world changed around it.

The move to 64-bit was announced earlier this year and is an ambitious one considering the ecosystem and sheer size of the Visual Studio codebase.

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Racist malware blocks The Pirate Bay by tampering with victims' Windows hosts file

Hello, 2002 called with one of the oldest low-tech tricks in the book

Malware laced with racial epithets tries to block Windows-based victims from visiting file-sharing sites associated with copyright infringement, according to new Sophos research.

The malicious software amounts to a "goofy process to block people from going to the Pirate Bay," according to Sophos researcher Andrew Brandt, who stumbled across the malware after a colleague mentioned it in passing.

Rather than opening a backdoor for a ransomware gang to exploit or dropping a malicious payload, however, this malware merely sinkholes a bunch of Pirate Bay domain names by adding them to the Windows hosts file and pointing them at 127.0.0.1 – meaning they'll be inaccessible from the victim's machine.

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UK gets glowing salute from Bezos-backed General Fusion: Nuclear energy company to build plant in Oxfordshire

Biz will develop Magnetized Target Fusion technology at the site

General Fusion – the Canadian-based atomic outfit backed by Jeff Bezos and a battalion of other major investors – is to build a test facility in Oxfordshire to showcase its power-generating technology.

Following a COVID-friendly handshake, the UK Atomic Energy Authority (UKAEA) has given General Fusion the green light to proceed with its Fusion Demonstration Plant (FDP) at UKAEA's Centre for Fusion Energy Campus in Culham.

The campus – a Royal Navy airbase until it was handed to the UKAEA in 1960 – is home to a cluster of fusion development technologies.

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UK financial watchdog dithers over £680k refund from Google (in ad credits, mind you) for running anti-fraud ads

MPs give FCA a telling-off for wasting taxpayer money

The UK's financial regulator is refusing to say whether it will accept an offer by Google to pay back more than £600,000 spent on online ads warning people about the dangers of money scams.

News that Google made the offer came to light earlier this week during oral evidence [PDF] to the Treasury Committee hearing on economic crime. Among those giving evidence was Mark Steward, director of enforcement and market insight at the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).

He was quizzed by Rushinara Ali, Labour MP for Bethnal Green and Bow, who wanted to know about the £600,000 the FCA is paying Google to run ads warning about online financial scams.

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CREST president Ian Glover to retire after 13 years – but where's the transparency, bossman?

UK infosec accreditation body still won't publish exam cheatsheet scandal report nor be interviewed by El Reg

Ian Glover, president of infosec accreditation body CREST, is stepping down from his post, he told the organisation's annual general meeting yesterday.

Sources whispered of Glover's departure to The Register ahead of a mass mailout today to members of the organisation, which oversees some industry-recognised penetration testing exams and certifications in the UK.

"My retirement is something I have been planning for some time and, while I leave with a heavy heart, I am confident CREST will continue to move forward in the hands of an excellent team," said the man himself in a canned statement emailed round CREST member organisations, following his 13 years at the helm.

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Playmobil crosses the final frontier with enormous, metre-long Enterprise playset

$500, 136-piece, tribble-laden Star Trek tribute is immense, but clearly illogical

Playmobil is set to boldly go where no three-inch man has gone before with the release of a metre-long replica of the NCC-1701 USS Enterprise from the original Star Trek series.

The enormous model of the Federation Constitution-class vessel will come with standard-scale figures representing the main original series characters – Captain Kirk, Mr Spock, Dr McCoy, Chief Engineer Scott, Lieutenant Uhura, Lieutenant Sulu and Ensign Chekov – and features a removable panel on the disc section revealing "a full 1966-style bridge play environment" to allow children of all ages to recreate their favourite first-contact scenes.

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Open standard but not open access: Schematron author complains about ISO paywall

'This is shooting Schematron in the heart ... its heart is individual open source developers'

The original inventor of a popular XML standard, Rick Jelliffe, who created Schematron, has protested that his open source work is now behind a paywall at standards body ISO.

Schematron is a language for validating XML, designed for processing XML documents and reporting on errors. Version 1.0 was developed in 1999, since when it has been enhanced and standardised, with the latest version being ISO/IEC 19757-3:2020.

This replaced the 2016 version: ISO/IEC 19757-3:2016.

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