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    We're shaken to report that El Reg big cheese Linus Fish Fingers Birtles yesterday suffered a traumatic beernami which left the contents of his executive leather case totally f@@k€d.Speaking to our Bootnotes department while recuperating with a very large brandy at the bar of a West London gentlemen's private club, the rattled exec explained that the smallest of apertures in a can of Kronenbourg flooded his bag, in the process completely screwing his laptop, phone and headphones.We have no doubt that readers can tell similar shocking tales of beer-related mishaps, but what really caught our attention here is the effect of ale on Linus's deluxe kangaroo-skin Mont Blanc pen case (indicated).Suffice it to say, emergency dessication treatment left the extravagant pouch dryer than a nun's chuff, and useful only for buffing the brightwork on the Maserati.While mobes and lappys can easily be replaced, Linus tells us he will now have to take the Vulture Central executive jet to the Lucky Country to obtain a replacement.Pending his arrival, the staff at Vulture South have been removed from news duties and are frantically attempting to source something suitable, as well as a few puncture-proof tinnies.Forensic examination of the offending Kronenbourg receptacle has revealed it was likely damaged by something which had no business being in the case in the first place, as an anonymous Reg lab technician put it.

    When pressed for the likely culprit, he said: Almost certainly the nib of one of those overpriced bloody Mont Blanc pens, lubricated with kangaroo-skin oil. *Many years ago, Linus ill-advisedly admitted to Reg hacks that prior to entering IT publishing, he'd been involved in the shady fringes of the Merseyside wet fish trade, and hence the nickname was born.Lenovo bagged a paltry US$250,000 from the deal that saw it install the Superfish certificate slurper onto PCs, according to reports.The PC maker was last month caught installing the ad/bloat/malware into its consumer PCs, sparking a very considerable backlash once the software's ability to intercept encrypted website communications was revealed.Forbes sources' now say Lenovo made between US$200,000 to US$250,000 from the deal to pre-install Superfish, a paltry amount given its net profit was US$253 million in the three months to December.At $250,000 the return on investment for Superfish is abominable: Lenovo initially defended the installation as a helpful tool for online shoppers, but quickly back-pedalled and started wheeling out senior execs at all hours of day and night to make apologetic utterances.

    Some users swore off Lenovo kit as the company began scrubbing Superfish, promising to never again install bloatware, and offering free six month subscriptions to McAfee antivirus.Mozilla, meanwhile, has decided to blast Superfish with its hot lizard breath. The outfit will eradicate self-signed Superfish certificates from the latest version of its Firefox web browser, following through with its initial musings reported by El Reg.Machines with the adware still installed will not have the certificate removed to ensure access to HTTPS websites is still possible.The Superfish PR disaster has also snowballed into a lawsuit initiated by Californian woman Jessica Bennett, who filed against Lenovo and Superfish claiming the “malware” injected smut images into her Yoga laptop. This year's roaring start to router carnage continued in February: ProofPoint reported attackers were sending phishing messages to Brazilian organisations operating TP-Link and UTStarcom home routers in a bid to quietly alter DNS settings for later attacks.Vice president of advanced security and governance at Proofpoint Kevin Epstein labels that attack as notable because it did not require bugs and was more a viciously elegant loophole in the interactions between the systems that attackers exploited with social engineering.Each piece of software used in the attack – from web pages to email to browsers to routers – is operating exactly as designed by the vendors, Epstein says.

    Coupled with a lack of any specific functional staff chartered with maintaining their security – your home doesn't usually have a CISO or IT security team – and the challenges of firmware upgrades, and the result is that SOHO systems seem to be much less secure in total than enterprise systems.Already bad, things will only get worse as more internet-enabled products – sans patches – are released, says Tripwire security researcher and accomplished router hacker Craig Young.I have evaluated a lot of embedded devices targeted to consumers and I would say it is far more common to find critical flaws in the devices than it is to find a device without any exploitable flaws, Young says.When confronted with the flaws, vendors tend to either play down the risk of attack or simply ignore reports entirely [and] this is a huge problem because these devices are gradually becoming so prevalent that mass infection of vulnerable ‘things’ could have devastating impacts on personal privacy as well as the health of the Internet.The Register received no response from major routers vendors when we asked about the lack of security in their products. In the void, researchers mull how it is that scores of vulnerabilities and bad configurations continue to emerge in new products and be ignored in the old gear.

    A cynic could say the barrage points to a patent failure by manufacturers to conduct basic security due diligence in the design of consumer router firmware, and security experts give vendors little excuse for their failings.Moreover, the industry's failure is so well-known it has spawned a dedicated and burgeoning competition aptly named SOHopelessly Broken (PDF), in which hackers compete to break popular lines of home routers updated to the latest firmware. Dozens of zero day flaws have so far emerged from the contest.Vendors have told some inquisitive router hackers that the complexity of the supply chain in which the devices are forged is to blame. Big names complain that vulnerabilities are often in the components whose design they don't control.However, hackers tend to agree that a lack of security auditing of routers in the tight, price-competitive market is responsible for much of the problem. A lack of external review is probably the cause of firmware being released with exploitable flaws, says Fioravante Souza, senior malware researcher and seasoned router hacker at Sucuri.But users also share some responsibility with securing those devices. It's common to see users keeping the factory settings like network name, IP address range and credentials unchanged [and] we see malware abusing those default configurations to change DNS settings.

    Souza adds that generic devices that use buggy open source or even pirated firmware are becoming more common, and would be even less likely to be subject to external security reviews.This is not a good way to come out of deep sleep. A US man was awoken from his drunken stupor by the pain of his girlfriend sinking her fangs into his gentleman’s sausage and bludgeoning him with her laptop.The incident took place in Tulsa, Oklahoma on 19 February, following a boozy session and subsequent argument between Amber Ellis, 31, and her beau, who (probably for the best) has not been named.Ellis, charged this week with attempted maiming, is accused of chomping down so hard on his tackle that he required five stitches. The damage caused by the laptop was not detailed.The relatively lucky chap – remember what happened to poor ol’ John Wayne Bobbitt – began to argue with the muncher while they were out and the blow-up continued back at their apartment.Ellis went into a bedroom and the man – an amputee – feel asleep, only to fully gain consciousness when he entered a whole new world of pain, the police report states.She also bit his finger, which presumably in her state of inebriation, she mistook for something else ... depending on how talented he is, in certain areas.Ellis also faces a charge of domestic assault with a dangerous weapon – the brand of laptop is unknown – as well as domestic assault and battery, and threatening an act of violence. She remains in custody, with bail set at $45,000.

    In a push back against the twenty-something, misogynistic Silicon Valley culture – along comes nonagenarian Barbara Beskind.Barbs was featured on NBC's Today show – one of those Friday human interest stories that is fun but risks dragging on a bit too long and so gradually loses your interest [uh-huh -Ed].Well, Barbara always wanted to be a designer but when she tried back in the 1940s she was told only men were allowed to do the relevant courses. So she joined the army, and later became an occupational therapist, as well as an author and painter.Now, at the ripe age of 91, she works at legendary design firm Ideo in Palo Alto (the people that made the first Apple mouse, Palm V and many other things), popping in once a week to give them insights into what it's like to be old.With people living longer, often with more cash, products for the elderly are a growing market. Barbara brings with her the age-old design wisdom of listening to your customers and apparently doesn't take too kindly to people creating products for frail, helpless beings.People who design for the elderly think they need jewelled pill boxes, or pink canes. But we need functional equipment, she told Today. Among the products she has helped develop are walking canes, developed from ski poles she had modified herself, a better system for reading papers and supports for helping get up from the couch.Ms Beskind actually applied to an Ideo job posting when she was 89. It took her two months to write her CV and letter, which she then sent in the post.