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‘No decision’ on Raytheon GPS landing system aboard Brit aircraft carriers

We've already got one tried and tested system, huffs MoD The Ministry of Defence has insisted it has made “no decisionrdquo; to install the US Navyrsquo;s JPALS aircraft carrier landing system aboard HMS Prince of Wales, the second of the Royal Navyrsquo;s two new 65,000-tonne aircraft carriers.…

Supreme Court turns down EFF’s “Dancing Baby” fair use case

The law against bogus DMCA takedowns will remain tough to enforce.

Fancy buying our aircraft carrier satnav, Raytheon asks UK

System might only be fitted to HMS Prince of Wales – reports American defence firm Raytheon has said it is in talks with the Ministry of Defence to put the US Navyrsquo;s “satnav for F-35srdquo; system onto new British carrier HMS Prince of Wales.…

First Black Panther trailer unveils the high-tech world of Wakanda

Also, it's freakin badass.

Did we mention the badass part? Holy crap.

Cloudflare, sued by its first “patent troll,” hits back hard

Blackbird Technologies, owned by its own lawyers, has filed over 100 lawsuits.

Cloudflare changes abuse policy but refuses to “censor the Internet”

Network operator was criticized for forwarding abuse reports to racist sites.

Trump administration to Supreme Court: Don’t hear EFF “Dancing Baby” case

Court fight over 29-second video of toddler dancing to Prince is now a decade old.

Prince’s music will be on Spotify and other services starting Sunday

When you're facing a $100M tax bill, it's time to make a deal.

Satan enters roll-your-own ransomware game

Code named for Prince of Darkness offers commissions for spreading evil Satan is infecting computers, encrypting files and demanding ransoms. No, we're not talking about the prince of darkness itself, but an underground ransomware service bearing its name.
It's devilish code: net demons wielding it can create a customised ransomware payload that will encrypt a victim's files with RSA-2048 bit and AES-256 bit encryption. Those Satan enslaves are directed through the many circles of the Tor network in order to pay a bitcoin ransom that varies in size. The Satan ransomware is available openly on the Tor network and presents punters with a slick form through which the malware is customised. The established malware researcher known as Xylitol reported the malware El Reg ignored VXers' constant pleas "not upload malware to VirusTotal" by promptly uploading the ransomware to VirusTotal, finding that it was detected by about half of antivirus scanners, although this number can differ thanks to heuristics and other antivirus dynamic checks not covered by the lauded online security service. Malware that is uploaded to VirusTotal is at risk of being discovered by anti-virus engines and security researchers. Should you choose to spread the word of Satan, the hell-code's authors claim to take a 30 per cent cut of any ransoms paid to customers. "The bitcoin paid by the victim will be credited to your account. We will keep a 30 percent fee of the income … [which] will become lower depending on the number of infections and payments you have." The service will help customers encrypt their files and wrap it in Word document macros and installers.
It is up to customers to decide how to disseminate the malware, but most arrive by phishing. Create your malware.
Satan's panels. Satan is not alone in its evil ways: other ransomware-as-a-service offerings including a JavaScript-based instance have been uncovered. Many ransomware variants have been undone by white hat hackers working under the No More Ransom Alliance to find and exploit holes in the malware that allows free file decryption. The Alliance unifies previously un-co-ordinated ransomware reversal efforts.

The Reg expects it won't be long before the Alliance's forces are arrayed against Satan's in an effort to unravel its encryption and bring the good word to the afflicted. ® Sponsored: Customer Identity and Access Management

Terrorists are winning the digital arms race

Terrorist groups are embracing a huge number of digital tools to recruit members and plan attacks, putting them a step ahead of governments trying to combat them, a group of counterterrorism experts said. Twitter removed about 250,000 accounts connected with ISIS in one year, but the terrorist group uses 90 other social media platforms, Rob Wainwright, the director of Europol said Tuesday.

Terrorist groups have begun to live stream their attacks, and they are using the internet to launch “innovative crowdfunding” campaigns, he said at the World Economic Forum in Davos-Klosters, Switzerland. “The technology is advanced,” Wainwright added. “They know what to do, and they know how to use it.” It’s imperative that countries start working more closely together to combat terrorism and to develop an online counternarrative that dissuades potential members from joining groups like ISIS, said members of a panel on terrorism in the digital age. Governments need to trust each other more and be willing to share their terrorism intelligence, said Prince Turki bin Faisal Al Saud, former director of national intelligence in Saudi Arabia. “Terrorist is a cancer,” he said. “The terrorist cell uses these online methods to metastasize.” Raheel Sharif, former chief of staff for the Pakistani army, called for a combination of tough penalties for violent terrorists and deradicalization education efforts for others. Pakistan, in recent years, has cut the number of terrorist attacks in the country dramatically, he said. But Prince Turki emphasized the need for a stronger counternarrative, on the internet and in schools, churches, and mosques.

Tough penalties for terrorists need to avoid collateral damage to innocent people, he said.

Counterterrorism efforts cannot “eliminate the terrorist and create 10 others,” said Prince Turki, now chairman of the King Faisal Center for Research and Islamic Studies. Counterterrorism efforts cannot “eliminate the terrorist and create 10 others,” said Prince Turki, now chairman of the King Faisal Center for Research and Islamic Studies. Some panelists suggested that a culture of free speech online complicates efforts to fight terrorism.

The international community needs to find a balance between freedom of expression and safety, said Yemi Osinbajo, vice president of Nigeria. “Each person has a ... digital device, and it has tremendous power,” he said. “They don’t even require any formal agreements. [Anyone] can reach millions of people.” Europol’s Wainwright also seemed to suggest some limits on free speech. “We want to enjoy, we want to protect the freedom of the internet, but not to such an extent that there are absolutely no rules of governance,” he said. Panelists disagreed about the effectiveness of current online efforts to craft a counterterrorism message.

Efforts in the U.S. and elsewhere to counter online terrorism campaigns have been “singularly unsuccessful,” said Louise Richardson, vice chancellor at the University of Oxford. But Wainwright disagreed, saying some counternarrative efforts appear to have reduced the number of Europeans and U.S. residents joining ISIS.

But more efforts are needed to counter the “fake news” terrorist groups are putting out about themselves, he added.

US Navy runs into snags with aircraft carrier’s electric plane-slingshot

EMAL system was nearly bought by the UK. Bullet dodged? Oh no The US Navy is having difficulties with its latest aircraft carrier's Electromagnetic Aircraft Launching System (EMALS) – the same system which the UK mooted fitting to its new Queen Elizabeth-class carriers. The US Department of Operational Test and Evaluation (DOTE) revealed yesterday, in its end-of-year report [PDF] for financial year 2016, that the EMALS fitted to the new nuclear-powered carrier USS Gerald R. Ford put "excessive airframe stress" on aircraft being launched. This stress "will preclude the Navy from conducting normal operations of the F/A-18A-F and EA-18G from CVN 78", according to DOTES, which said the problem had first been noticed in 2014. In addition, EMALS could not "readily" be electrically isolated for maintenance, which DOTE warned "will preclude some types of EMALS and AAG (Advanced Arresting Gear) maintenance during flight operations", decreasing their operational availability. The Gerald R. Ford is supposed to be able to launch 160 sorties in a 12-hour day – an average of one takeoff or landing every 4.5 minutes. She is supposed to be able to surge to 270 sorties in a 24-hour period. Britain considered fitting EMALS to its two new Queen Elizabeth-class aircraft carriers right back at the design stage. Indeed, the ability to add catapults and arrester gear to the ships was specified right from the start. Lewis Page, late of this parish, summed up what happened when the government tried to exercise that option: "... it later got rescinded, on the grounds that putting catapults into the ships was not going to cost £900m – as the 2010 [Strategic Defence and Security Review] had estimated – but actually £2bn for [HMS] Prince of Wales and maybe £3bn for Queen Elizabeth. This would double the projected price of the two ships." The Aircraft Carrier Alliance – heavily dominated by BAE Systems – had not designed the new carriers to have EMALS fitted at all, taking advantage of naïve MoD civil servants who didn't get a price put into the contract for the conversion work. Bernard Gray, chief of defence materiel, told Parliament in 2013: Because the decision to go STOVL [that is the initial decision for jumpjets] was taken in, from memory, 2002, no serious work had been done. It had been noodled in 2005, but no serious work had been done on it. It was not a contract-quality offer; it was a simple assertion that that could be done, but nobody said, "It can be done at this price", and certainly nobody put that in a contract. The US woes with EMALS are not complete showstoppers. EMALS is a new design, technology and piece of equipment, up against mature steam-powered catapult tech which hasn't really changed in more than five decades. Gerald R. Ford is the first-of-class of the new breed of US aircraft carriers which will see that country's navy through to the second half of this century. That said, the fact that problems identified in 2014 are still a problem two years later, and make it impossible to safely deploy fully-loaded combat aircraft, may come back to bite the US Navy. Oddly, Gerald R. Ford's timetable for introduction into service – handover to the USN early this year, flight testing in 2018 and 2019, and operational deployment by 2021 – closely mirrors that of HMS Queen Elizabeth. Britain's new aircraft carriers have no catapult system at all. The only fast jets capable of flying from them are Harriers (as operated by the US Marine Corps) and the F-35B. HMS Queen Elizabeth, whose sea trials date keeps slipping back to later and later this year, is planned to carry about 20 F-35s on her first operational deployment to the South China Sea in 2021. Sources tell The Register that plans to operate F-35s from land bases once they are delivered to the UK have been shelved in favour of getting Queen Elizabeth to sea with as large an air wing as possible. Previously, military planners were working on the assumption that just 12 jets would be carried aboard QE on her first operational deployment, with the rest left in the UK for the RAF to play with. Sponsored: Next gen cybersecurity. Visit The Register's security hub

Creaking Royal Navy is ‘first-rate’ thunders irate admiral

He's bound to say that.

Truth is, it'll get worse before it gets better Comment Admiral Sir Philip Jones, head of the Royal Navy, has written how "you'd be forgiven for thinking that the RN had packed up and gone home" in response to the kicking the naval service has received in the press recently. In an open letter published on the RN website, the admiral wrote: "Sadly the world is less certain and less safe.

But our sense of responsibility has not changed.

The Royal Navy may be smaller than in the past but has a strong future so this is no time to talk the Navy down." On 21 November the Defence Select Committee published a swingeing report into naval procurement, which concluded: "The MoD is embarking on a major modernisation of the Royal Navy surface fleet. Notwithstanding the Committee's concerns that the number of ships is at a dangerous and an historic low, it is a programme which has the potential to deliver a modern navy with a broad range of capabilities." Meanwhile, HMS Duncan, a Type 45 air-defence destroyer, had to be towed back into port after her unreliable Rolls-Royce WR-21 engines* broke down, as they tend to do on all Type 45s with worrying frequency – so much so that the RN has started a dedicated initiative, Project Napier, to add extra diesel generators to the Type 45 fleet.

This involves cutting large holes in the hull of each ship. Royal Fleet Auxiliary** tanker Wave Knight, currently deployed on Atlantic Patrol Tasking (North) in the Caribbean on anti-drugs patrol duties, broke down in St Vincent with Prince Harry aboard.

APT(N) used to be carried out by an actual warship rather than a refuelling tanker, but cuts to destroyer and frigate numbers left the Navy with no option. Last year a naval offshore patrol vessel, normally employed to stop and search fishermen's boats and their catches, was trialled on APT(N). A few weeks ago it was revealed that the RN will, from 2018, be left without any anti-ship missiles on its frigates and destroyers. Then there's the Type 26 frigate programme, which continues to stagnate as MoD officials lock horns with vastly more experienced BAE Systems negotiators over contracts.

The Type 26s are planned to partly replace the UK's current fleet of thirteen Type 23 anti-submarine frigates.

There will be fewer Type 26s than Type 23s, however, with the final five Type 23s set to be replaced with Type 31 "general purpose frigates", a cheap 'n' cheerful concept intended primarily for export.

The government, having initially pledged a like-for-like replacement of Type 23 with Type 26, later changed tack and cut the planned order of Type 26s, presumably because of the spiralling costs. A perfect storm for the naval service So what did the First Sea Lord have to say in defence of the RN? Type 45 destroyers are "hugely innovative" and "money is now in place to put this right".
Indeed, "if they weren't up to the job then the US and French navies would not entrust them with protection of their aircraft carriers in the Gulf." A strong point: for all their electrical flaws, the Type 45s are world-leading air-defence destroyers. The Harpoon anti-ship missile was cut partly because it "was reaching the end of its life" – though the admiral's attempt to claim that last month's Unmanned Warrior robot naval boat exercise featured anything capable of replacing a dedicated anti-ship capability was fanciful at best and downright disingenuous at worst.

That said, the admiral is duty bound, for better or for worse, not to embarrass his elected political masters. Admiral Jones also mentioned the Queen Elizabeth-class aircraft carriers and their F-35B fighter jet air wing, due to enter service in a few years.

As previously reported on El Reg, the F-35 will not be ready for true carrier deployment for another five years minimum and even when it is, we won't own enough of them to put to sea without borrowing half the fast air wing from the US Marines. Moreover, each carrier will need, at the very least, both a frigate and a destroyer as escorts; the frigate to detect submarines, the destroyer to maintain an anti-aircraft screen. Will we be able to spare these two ships from all the other standing tasks, let alone training and maintenance requirements? On the whole, the Royal Navy is in very poor shape.
It cannot meet all its standing patrol tasks (as detailed in the Defence Select Committee report) without resorting to small patrol vessels and mostly civilian tankers to do so.

The Fleet Air Arm will not be a credible force capable of deploying overseas at even minimal strength (12 F-35Bs) until the middle of the next decade.

The frigate force is capable but ageing and due for retirement soon.

The destroyer fleet will be plagued by engine problems for another five years. On the other hand, the carriers will enter service.

F-35B will enter service.

Type 26 will start entering service from the mid-2020s.

The RFA will receive its new Tide-class replenishment ships to support the carriers.

Three new offshore patrol vessels are under construction and will be delivered in the next few years. New nuclear deterrent submarines are now under construction and will enter service in the coming years.
In terms of fighting strength, ability to put to sea and ensure freedom of navigation and lawful commerce, the Navy will improve. The tough part is that we will not hit rock bottom and start climbing out of this well of impotence for at least the next three years. What those three years bring – Brexit, more Russian sabre-rattling, possibly even a new Middle East flashpoint – could stretch the RN to breaking point or even beyond. While the First Sea Lord has publicly defended his service, ultimately it is the politicians of all flavours who starved the Navy of the funding for new ships and equipment that it desperately needed ten years ago, leading to today's situation where so many demoralised personnel have left that ship deployments were lengthened from six to nine months. The next time the Defence Secretary pops up to recycle tired old announcements that amount to nothing new, remember that. ® Bootnotes *The two gas turbines themselves are OK – it is the intercooler-recuperator assembly which lets them down.

Briefly, the intercooler-recuperator recovers heat from the turbines' exhausts and uses it to pre-heat the fuel/air mixture being fed into the engine.

This reduces wasted heat while increasing fuel efficiency and electrical output.

Due to a design flaw, the intercooler-recuperator tends to drop out without warning when operating in warmer waters (reportedly as low as 30C).

The sudden spike in electrical demand overwhelms the ship's two auxiliary Wärtsilä diesel generators and causes the entire electrical system, propulsion, weapons and all, to trip out, leaving the destroyer dead in the water as frantic marine engineers rush to reset it all. **The Royal Fleet Auxiliary is a uniformed but civilian branch of the naval service. Officially classed as civil servants sailing civilian-registered British ships, their personnel man the tankers, replenishment ships and general duties vessels, which increasingly find themselves used as actual warships, such as on the APT(N) deployment or as the mothership for the British minehunter contingent in the Persian Gulf. Sponsored: Customer Identity and Access Management