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Since Nadella slashed into the former Nokia business and pulled smartphone activities back to fewer models and markets, the main focus is the enterprise space, and the idea that W10 smartphones can be companions to their more successful tablet and PC stablemates – an argument often used by Apple, of course, which believes that adoption of one of its devices nearly always leads to the uptake of others. It is a cornerstone of the W10 strategy – and another borrowing from Apple – that the new Microsoft OS should do the same, providing a sufficiently enticing user experience for customers to want it on all their screens, and offering the simplicity of a single set of apps and interfaces on each one."These devices promise to fuel even more enthusiasm and opportunity for the entire Windows ecosystem," claimed Nadella in a statement, while devices chief Panos Panay went further, claiming that the W10 handset would be a natural extension of the huge in-stalled base for the operating system on other products.

"Now, we want to put Windows in your pocket," he said. "110 million people using Windows 10 right now. If you haven't thought about these phones, wake up! Spend a minute, with the universal apps coming. 110 million users in eight weeks - the opportunity is unbelievable."Microsoft has been gradually moving towards a unified experience across all screens, building on the Universal Apps platform that first appeared in Windows 8. Facebook, Instagram and Uber were among those announcing Universal Apps which work in the same way across different W10 devices. Also, with a new Display Dock, users can connect a Lumia to a monitor, keyboard and mouse, turning the smartphone into a small desktop PC.Like Apple again, Microsoft has announced a flagship smartphone in two screen sizes. Both the 5.2-inch Lumia 950 and 5.7-inch Lumia 950 XL have 20-megapixel cameras with high level imaging functionality (a key Nokia strength), including 4K UHD video capture. The handsets run on Snapdragon 808 and 810 processor and cost $549 and$649 respectively. They are due to go on sale in November.DigiTimes suggests that two models will be built by contract manufacturers, Inventec and Compal, and feature 12.5 inch and 13.3 inch displays.

According to the trade paper, Xiaomi has been tapping up Lenovo executives "aggressively" to manage the new laptop venture.The consumer electronics upstart is best known for selling smartphones at cost, or close to cost price, a strategy that allowed it grab the No.3 spot in vendor market share worldwide.It's currently slipped to No 5, and Huawei has clawed back top spot in the PRC in the most recent quarter.Xiaomi already produces a curious mix of white goods, networking kit and consumer electronics, ranging from an air humidifier to routers, TVs, and a fitness band. So why not?Popular apps like Facebook and WhatsApp, combined with weaknesses in LTE protocols, could help spooks or attackers locate users, a group of German and Finnish researchers have found.The problem, however, isn't the apps, but the network protocols they use. The work, here at Arxiv, details how LTE protocols can be attacked to deny service to a target's device; and how the network can be persuaded to leak device locations.The location problem is this: the social apps – and other applications, like Voice over LTE – generate broadcast “paging” messages from the network to the device, and the supposedly-anonymous Global Unique Temporary ID given to devices by the network lasts so long (up to three days) that it's easy to de-anonymise devices.Those messages have always existed, but as the group writes here, in the 3G world the broadcasts covered areas of 100 km2, which isn't so useful for tracking a user.

The designers of LTE wanted better user location, so broadcast activity is now confined to the much-more-snoopable 2 km2 – and building kit to sniff all the broadcast messages a network transmits is relatively easy. The boffins needed only a laptop running open-source LTE baseband software, and a suitable software-defined radio card.In Facebook, the paging messages are triggered by incoming messages, and in WhatsApp, they're generated to tell you that the other person in a conversation is typing. Since the broadcast message only reaches the cell you're connected to, watching those broadcasts gives an attacker your location within that cell.The other key to the location attack is to get the network to leak a user's IMSI, but the authors say there are a variety of existing attacks that will do this. With IMSI and user presence in hand, it's then easy to refine location to a much finer degree, by getting users to log into a rogue cell (think “Stingray”).

Luckily, the authors note, the fix for the location tracking bug should be easy enough for operators: if they cycle GUTIs often enough (a pain in the neck if operators have to comply with data retention, but there you go), it becomes impossible to associate paging messages with a specific individual.The over-the-air denial-of-service attacks the paper presents are based on LTE network signalling messages that aren't protected – “Tracking Area Update” (TAU) messages.Because LTE devices don't check the integrity of these messages, the messages can be sent from a rogue access point to force downgrade or deny services either to a specific device, or all devices in reach of the attacker.The DoS attacks are a much thornier problem: forcing authentication of all the network messages requires at least infrastructure upgrades, and in some cases, new LTE protocols. Powerful malware with speculative National Security Agency (NSA) links has infected the private laptop of Germany's secretary of state in the Federal Chancellery, according to reports by national news digger Der Spiegel.

The Regin-derived malware in question is thought to be a plugin dubbed Qwerty, used in the NSA's WarriorPride framework.That connection is based on Snowden documents and deep technical analysis that also shows Regin bears links to the infamous Stuxnet malware and spin-offs Flame and Duqu, as well as the long-running and truly advanced Equation hacking group which has operated for some 15 years and infected hundreds of targets.The current Chancellery chief is Peter Altmaier, who has held office since 2013. The Chancellery is charged with assisting the German Chancellor, presently Mrs Angela Merkel.Der Spiegel does not specify who was in the seat when the attacks occurred but says the compromise was discovered in 2014.Germany's federal prosecutor's office is investigating the attacks but has not provided a timeline for the probe.News of the alleged infection comes after the country's former Attorney General Harald Range dropped a probe into the alleged tapping of Chancellor Merkel's mobile phone revealed in October 2013.

Merkel was also thought to be the first of multiple German Government officials to be compromised by Russian-based actors who used her computer to spread a trojan thought to have ultimately infected some 20,000 systems. Analysis Despite focusing exclusively on budget phones in 2015, Microsoft's Lumia revenues fell ... a lot. Year-on-year revenue declined 54 per cent in full year Q1 2015.We have to extrapolate the volumes from revenue, but assuming the Average Selling Prices (ASP) and the profit margin remained the same, that translates as shipments halving. Or so Windows Central calculates, using those assumptions.Of course, it's unlikely that ASP remained the same: ASPs are always falling. Margins are being squeezed. And the product mix in Q1 fiscal this year was more skewed to budget models than in full year Q1 2014.The higher end models such as the 930 and 1520 weren't superseded by newer models, nor were the "mid-range" Lumia 830 and 730 (both excellent devices). By contrast, the budget models gained a boost with the "hero" (that's Microsoft's description) Lumia 640.But the revenue figure is uncontested, and real revenue is what counts. Don't be surprised or alarmed. It's actually in line with the revised mobile strategy outlined in the summer, in which value phones don't even feature.

If you recall, CEO Satya Nadella promised new Lumia flagships and promise to make phones for businesses, but only "experiences" for "value" punters. We hardly need point out that SatNad himself hardly helped, by sparking a rash of "scaling back dramatically" headlines.And that strategy, of dumping millions of "low value" consumers, is at least rational. The reasoning is that third-party OEMs will take up the slack. Windows Phone today is free, like Android, but Microsoft's "free" is cheaper than Google's "free", once you factor in the royalties.We've seen a glut of announcements by OEMs in (mostly) emerging markets, from companies such as Blu, Yezz, Alcatel and Micromax. Even Polaroid showed off a Windows Phone.But not all of them actually delivered the goods. So there's no sense in Microsoft duking it out in the budget volume segment, just as there's no sense in it duking it out in the budget tablet or laptop segment with Acer.It's a pity, because nothing gets you quite as nice an experience for £120 as a Lumia 640. But Microsoft just doesn't have the commitment to consumers as Nokia did. Maybe Corporate HQ doesn't really feel that budget Lumia customers are its customers anyway; more like squatters.

What's harder to fathom is why Microsoft didn't make more of the two flagships (and a new budget model) unveiled two weeks ago. The phones were denied their own dedicated event and then shunted into a slot in the first few minutes, so as not to steal the limelight from Surface.Apparently they tout a superb camera, but Microsoft didn't show any samples during the aggressive "Team Microsoft: Device Police" presentation.Windows Phone's champion Joe Belfiore, who presented every new Windows Phone event since launch, has just sailed away. Literally. For a year.Maybe Microsoft is just waiting until the WM10 platform is presentable before it shows off its capabilities, and that looks like it will be next year.Something for the Weekend, Sir? I have an urge to dress up in unconventional clothing, don a wig and parade myself around east London.You may be relieved to learn, without indicating prejudice, that this will not involve women’s clothing. I am neither a master potter nor am I on the game. Sorry to disappoint. I had better explain.

MCM London Comic Con takes place this weekend. Held twice a year, this event is a smaller and very British version of the rather more famous San Diego Comic Con. It differs from San Diego in a number of significant ways: there are fewer people in superhero fancy dress and a great deal many more manga/anime cosplayers, for example.One of the unique joys of MCM, even for the casually attired visitor, is finding yourself crammed into a Docklands Light Railway carriage heading to London ExCeL in the company of 100 young women dressed up in Gothic Lolita lingerie.“No, the other carriage is full, honest, I have to use this one. Excuse me, sorry, sorry, beg pardon. Busy today, eh? No, don’t worry, that’s my umbrella.”Another particularly British aspect is that British cosplayers tend to be, er – how can I say this nicely? – a little less trim around the waist compared with their ’Murcan counterparts.This is a good thing. Superheroes and camp crusaders bore me but I’m sure I’d find them more interesting if they were imperfect from time to time, such as if they spent entire weekends slumped in front of the TV, or found themselves in urgent need of a midnight slash after a long Babycham-drenched evening spent with the Hulk. It would certainly be amusing to watch them struggle to get out of all that Spandex faster than a speeding bullet.

As any fancy dress partygoer can attest, it’s only when you actually don the cape that you begin to fully appreciate the utter ridiculousness of it all. That’s why live-action superheroes tend to have their costumes redesigned from tights to black leather for their big screen appearances. This apparently makes everything more realistic.Black leather! Can you imagine the smell? “Holy cow, Batman, you stink like a cross between Wolverine’s armpits and the Asgardian public toilets after Loki’s last curry night.”Oddly enough, when it comes to dressing up computer hackers in films and TV shows, the opposite rule applies.On screen, hackers are depicted as punky, funky and spunky. They are yobs and rebels who still manage to have apparently achieved some sort of formal education in computer science. They claim to be anonymous and then roar about town on motorbikes. They harp on about the importance of secrecy but are forever announcing themselves and summarising their hacking credentials to every fucker they meet, like some kind of deranged walking LinkedIn profile stuck in screenreader mode.