Episode 334 – Aussie Tech Heads Shownotes

posted in: Show Notes



Inside the Biggest Cyberattack in History




  • A cyberattack originally targeting a single company is now being described by experts as one of the biggest Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks in Internet history.

  • Europe affected the most

  • The attacks originally targeted a European anti-spam company called Spamhaus, which blacklists what it considers sources of email spam and sells those blacklists to Internet Service Providers.

  • waves of large but typicalDDoS assaults shortly after Spamhaus blacklisted Cyberbunker, a controversial web hosting company. Cyberbunker has not directly taken responsibility for the attacks against Spamhaus.

  • security firm CloudFlare, has been defending Spamhaus by spreading the attacks across multiple data centers, a technique that can keep a website online even if it’s hit by the maximum amount of traffic a typical DDoS can generate

  • DDoS attacks have kind of a natural cap in their size, which is around 100 gigabits per second,

  • These attacks, however, have evolved into a complex and ferocious beast, pointing up to 300 gigabits per second at an expanding list of targets.

  • the hackers realized they couldn’t knock Spamhaus offline while it was protected by CloudFlare, they chose a different tactic: targeting CloudFlare’s own network providers by exploiting a known fault in the Domain Name System (DNS),

  • The interesting thing is they stopped going after us directly and they started going after all of the steps upstream from us,” said Cloudflare

  • Cloudflare explained: The good news about an attack like this is that it’s really woken up a lot of the networking industry and these things that have been talked about for quite some time are now being implemented



Has drawing been erased from animation?


Disney is not releasing a hand-drawn feature film in the next two years, its chief executive recently revealed


This shows a mainstream trend away from drawing by hand, even digitally, and towards modelling characters using a computer, first seen in a feature-length film when Toy Story was released in 1995.


Technology is moving fast and it is opening up technical possibilities that were merely aspirations a decade ago.



A raft of games arrive for Windows Phone—including Chaos Rings and Gravity Guy 2, a platform exclusive


  • The Game Developers Conference (GDC) is in full swing in San Francisco this week

  • The highlight of the bunch is Gravity Guy 2, sequel to the hugely popular platformer Gravity Guy

  • For the next month, the sequel is available only on Windows Phone. Other titles arriving today are already proven successes on other platforms, like Chaos Rings(only Windows Phone 7.5 devices.), 6th Planet, and Orcs Must Survive



Nine take Waterhouse out of firing line


Channel Nine has made the decision to bench Tom Waterhouse from its NRL commentary team as it looks to limit the damage of the public backlash against the incorporation of gambling into live sport.


Nine has conceded the line between bookmaker and commentator had been blurred following Waterhouse’s appearances during its first round coverage of this year’s NRL season


The Sydney Morning Herald has reported that Nine has introduced a graphic informing viewers that Waterhouse is a ”sports betting operator, not a Channel Nine personality”.



Melbourne market pirates busted by Microsoft


Microsoft sleuths have cruised local markets across Melbourne and busted four pirates flogging DVDs loaded with bootleg Windows and Office software


Of the 12 DVDs purchased, half failed to run. The remainder had Windows Updates disabled and firewall settings modified.


Some of the software appeared to be burnt copies of popular pirate torrents. One such torrent of Windows 8 saw users and crackers battle with Microsoft as it blocked registration codes and tactics to mitigate the activation process.


“The risks posed to consumers if they had installed these counterfeit disks include loss of sensitive data, substantial financial losses and costs, and a big waste of time trying to fix system problems,” MS said in a blog.


It cited a 2013 IDC study which claimed more than three-quarters of pirate software installed “tracking cookies or spyware”.



Store Charging Patrons $5 For ‘Just Looking’, To Offset Losses From Internet Shoppers




To make up for pesky competition from the Internet, the owner of an Australian retail store ischarging patrons $5 for “just looking”, in order to offset losses from shoppers who browse and then buy online. “If you’re going to be asking bucketloads of questions, you’ve got to pay for the information,”said Celiac Supplies owner, Georgina, to the Brisbane Times, who asked that her last name not be published, after her store’s policy inadvertently went viral and led toInternet infamy.


On her window, she posted the following notice:


“As of the first of February, this store will be charging people a $5 fee per person for “just looking.”


The $5 fee will be deducted when goods are purchased.


Why has this come about?


There has been high volume of people who use this store as a reference and then purchase goods elsewhere. These people are unaware our prices are almost the same as the other stores plus we have products simply not available anywhere else.


This policy is line with many other clothing, shoe and electronic stores who are also facing the same issue.”


According to the Times, 4 people have coughed up the $5, meaning her policy has earned a solid $20, which I’m sure is more than enough money to make up for harassing most of the customers who walk through her door.


Watch the full interview between the shop owner and the Brisbane Times below, complete with awesome Australian accents.


Massive cyber attack hits anti-spam group Spamhaus




THE world’s biggest cyber attack is underway, with collateral damage spilling over to home users as major powers such as Google step in.


Internet spam filterSpamhaus, which ‘black-lists’ service providers suspected of offering refuge for spammers, is the target of the unprecedented attack. One expert warns that the side-effects of the electronic onslaught – ‘the biggest attack in history’ – was now affecting others across the internet.


If the Spamhaus service was to collapse, email users could expect an influx of email adverts in their inboxes for fake Viagra and bogus weight-loss pills.


The BBC reports major companies, such as Netflix, have been affected by the attack and that key players such as Google have now stepped in to help keep Spamhaus online.


Patrick Gilmore ofAkamai Technologies said the attack was so large that online bystanders had been hit as well. Home users could experience slower internet or be subjected to unwanted emails.


In an interview, Spamhaus’ Vincent Hanna said his site had been hit by a crushing wave of denial-of-service attacks and that it was “a small miracle that we’re still online.”


Apple iPhone users urged to upgrade software after glitch leads to bill shock




AUSTRALIAN phone carriers have warned iPhone users to update their smartphone software after paying out en masse for excessive data downloads reportedly caused by Apple software faults.


All three major phone carriers yesterday confirmed a wave of complaints and bill shock following the launch of the iPhone 5 in Australia, with another more recent fault draining data for some iPhone email users.


The original fault, which affected only some iOS 6 iPhone users, delivered unexpectedly heavy mobile data use as the phones incorrectly appeared to be using a wi-fi connection when they were not.


Vodafone, Optus and Telstra yesterday confirmed they had received a surge in complaints and customers breaking data allowances following the software’s introduction, and had refunded charges on a case-by-case basis.


Spokespeople for the companies warned users to update their iPhone software to solve the issue and prevent unexpectedly high bills.


An Optus spokesman said any users with “billing inconsistencies” should contact the company to negotiate charges, while a Vodafone spokeswoman said the company was introducing usage warnings to prevent future issues.


“We monitor our network very closely and where unusual data usage is identified we will contact our customers to ensure they are aware and to understand the cause,” the spokeswoman said.


“There is no benefit for us if a customer is caught off guard by a high bill.”


Another, more recent iPhone software glitch targeted Microsoft Exchange email users, causing “increased network activity” due to problems with its calendar feature.


Both issues have been addressed in Apple’s most recent software update, iOS 6.1.3, released last week, though some users have already reported battery problems after adding the new software.


Judge orders Canadian girl off Facebook




A CANADIAN judge has banned a 12-year-old girl from Facebook for a year after she threatened two teenagers.


According to Manitoba radio station CJOB the accused posted messages online saying she wanted to strangle her two 13-year-old former friends after a falling out over a boy.


The court was told she had heard her boyfriend was “cheating” with one of the other girls who attend the same school.


She posted to Facebook: “You have no idea how bad I want to strangle you two girls!!!! Omg! Yu just wait. Your time will come!”


One of the threatened girls’ mother’s complained to police.


The 12-year-old pleaded guilty to uttering threats and was sentenced to probation for one year and 50 hours of community service work, in addition to the judge’s order to delete her Facebook account.


The girl also pleaded guilty to assault for slapping another girl in the face.


The girl’s mother supported the ban but her defence lawyer opposed it, arguing that Facebook is a “staple” in the social lives of youths.


“I personally think she doesn’t need Facebook, either,” the mother told the court.


Microsoft confirms it’s shut off Windows 8-Google Apps calendar sync




Microsoft confirmed Monday that Windows 8 users who upgrade the Calendar app will no longer be able to synchronize that schedule with the calendar included with Google Apps for Business, Academic or Government.


“Google’s paying customers and those with business accounts will not be able to sync their calendars in the [Calendar] app update,” a Microsoft spokeswoman said Monday.


Calendar was one ofthree “Modern” UI (user interface) apps that Microsoft just upgraded for Windows 8 and Windows RT. The same day, The Verge reported that the updated Calendar app would not sync with Google Calendar.


Microsoft’s confirmation that Google Apps account owners would no longer be able to sync schedules with Windows 8’s Calendar was counter to what Microsoft had said previously, and even continued to state today.


“If you’ve already connected your Google account to your PC using the Mail, People, or Calendar apps, your email, calendar, and contacts will continue to sync properly. You don’t need to do anything,” reads asupport document on syncing Windows 8 and Windows RT with Google’s Calendar.


Security experts applaud Apple’s new two-factor authentication




Apple this week followed the lead of rivals like Facebook, Google and Microsoft, offering two-step authentication to help customers secure their Apple IDs against hacking.


The new feature is designed to block unauthorized changes to iCloud or iTunes accounts, and keep hackers who steal Apple IDs from purchasing digital content or hardware using the credit cards stored in customers’ iTunes and Apple Store accounts.


iTunes users in particular havecomplained for years about security so lax that hackers have easily hijacked their accounts to run up big bills.


Security experts commended Apple, even though the company was slow pulling the trigger.


“Always exciting to see a major consumer-oriented service roll out some sort of two-factor authentication,” said Jon Oberheide, co-founder and CTO of Duo Security, a developer of authentication software, in an email. “Rolling your own two-factor definitely isn’t a trivial task, both from an upfront engineering cost and continued support and maintenance, despite the perceived ease from an external view.”


Two-factor authentication — sometimes called two-step verification — is a more demanding method of locking an account than a password-only process. In enterprises, for instance, two-factor relies on hardware tokens that generate passcodes, which are valid for just moments and must be entered along with the usual password.


But Web services don’t distribute tokens. Instead, they send a passcode to a mobile phone number the account owner has set earlier. The passcode is typically sent as an SMS (short message service) text.


Apple’s optional two-factor authentication uses that same approach, but also will send the passcode to an iOS device — iPhone or iPad — via the Find My iPhone app’s notification feature. Find My iPhone is normally used to, not surprisingly, help users locate lost, stolen or misplaced devices.


That drew accolades from the experts.



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