Windows 8 may be unsafe
A German government technology agency has warned that new security technology in computers running Microsoft’s Windows 8 operating system may actually make PCs more vulnerable to cyberthreats, including sabotage. Germany’s Federal Office for Information Security, or BSI, said in a statement on Wednesday that federal government agencies and critical infrastructure operators should pay particular attention to the risk. The agency said the problem is with the use of a computer chip known as the Trusted Platform Module, or TPM 2.0, which is built into Windows 8 computers. It said the joint implementation of Windows 8 and TPM 2.0 chips could lead to “a loss of control” over both the operating system and hardware, without specifying how that could occur.
S Africa mulls exploration
South Africa may start exploration for shale gas before elections in April next year, the trade minister said on Thursday. “We need to advance the work on taking a decision on shale gas exploration,” said Minister of Trade and Industry Rob Davies, almost a year after lifting a freeze. “We want to move before the end of this administration.” The current government’s term ends in April. The country’s semi-desert Karoo region potentially has one of the world’s largest untapped shale fields. The reserves are perhaps even larger than those of its neighbor Mozambique, Davies said, after massive discoveries there in the past three years.
Fonterra shuts plant
New Zealand dairy giant Fonterra temporarily shut down its operations in Sri Lanka yesterday, saying it feared for the safety of staff amid allegations of product contamination. The move was sparked in part by a protest outside one of its Sri Lankan factories on Thursday, which attracted about 200 people, the company said. Fonterra, center of an unrelated botulism scare earlier this month that led to global recalls, said the shutdown was “to protect our people and farmers’ assets.”
Technip wins Shell contract
French firm Technip will lay the world’s deepest gas pipeline for energy giant Shell in the US Gulf of Mexico, the oil services company said in a statement yesterday. The company said it was awarded “an important engineering, procurement and installation contract for the development of subsea infrastructure for the Stones field,” at a depth of approximately 2,900m. The project will be the deepest floating, production, storage and offloading unit in the world and Shell’s first in the Gulf of Mexico, Technip said, without specifying how much the contract was worth.
ABN Amro Q2 profit up
ABN Amro NV, the bank that was nationalized by the Dutch government so it would not go bust in 2008, yesterday said second-quarter profit rose slightly after one-off impairments were not as high as a year earlier. Net profit was 402 million euros (US$537 million), up from 337 million euros in the same period last year. However, CEO Gerrit Zalm warned that bad loans were rising because of the Dutch recession, which has now passed the one-year mark. He said small businesses were suffering the most. Consumers are spending less, but saving more, which is bad for businesses, but retail savings provide a cheap form of funding for ABN, helping interest margins.