Episode 423 – Aussie Tech Heads Shownotes

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Facebook refuses to remove images of Jordanian pilot murder

Facebook has refused to remove pictures of Jordanian Pilot Moaz al-Kasasbeh being burnt to death by ISIS, despite receiving scores of complaints.

Facebook has issued the same response to all of them, stating: “We reviewed the photo you reported for containing graphic violence and found it doesn’t violate our Community Standards.”

This isn’t the first time Facebook has courted controversy over depictions of the murder of hostages by illegal groups. In 2013, the website reinstated a previously blocked video showing the decapitation of a woman in Mexico, saying users should be free to view it and share it so that they can condemn it.


Microsoft reveals what ‘Windows-as-a-service’ means

Microsoft executives, at the Windows 10 consumer event earlier this month, used the term “Windows as a service” without explaining what this means or how it’ll affect customers. Some industry watchers interpreted this to mean a subscription version of Windows that’s sold as a cloud service.

“Rather than waiting for the next major release, Microsoft will provide new features and functionality and deliver security updates and critical fixes on a regular basis,” MS said in the blog post.

Microsoft said Windows 7 and Windows 8 customers will be given free upgrades to Windows 10, but this offer is only for consumers. Many enterprises have Software Assurance contracts, which means they’ll get new Windows 10 features and functionality as part of the plans they’ve signed up for.

By giving enterprises options for updating Windows 10, Microsoft appears to be trying to convince customers who might be planning to stay on Windows 7 that they can upgrade to Windows 10 without any disruptions.


Kogan expands from technology to groceries

Kogan has launched a home delivery grocery service called Pantry, in another example of the retailer reducing its reliance on technology sales.

A total of 600 supermarket items are available on Pantry including brands like Dove, Colgate, Palmolive, Pringles, Powerade, Gillette and Heinz.

Kogan’s move beyond consumer electronics has also seen it previously sell sporting goods including yoga mats, dumbells, gym balls and golf clubs under the Fortis brand.

Ruslan Kogan landed on the BRW list of the 200 richest Australians last year with an estimated $320 million.


Entire websites now locked for ransom

Security firm High-Tech Bridge has identified a new type of threat that is similar in concept to ransomware; however, instead of compromising a system with malware that encrypts files, the attack involves compromising a website and encrypting the core databases.

High-Tech Bridge first noticed the threat – which it calls ‘RansomWeb’ – in December 2014, when it was investigating the compromised website of a customer. The website was out of service, a database error was displaying, and the company received an email asking for a ransom in order to “decrypt the database,” according to a Wednesday post.

The ransom was US$50,000

a small – yet very important – web application was compromised six months prior, and several server scripts had been modified so that data would be encrypted when going into the database and would be decrypted when being taken out of the database.

Only the most critical fields of the database tables were encrypted, likely to avoid any web application performance issues, the post notes, adding that the encryption key was stored on a remote web server only accessible via HTTPS, probably so that it would not be intercepted by traffic monitoring systems.

As the months passed, the company’s backups were being overwritten by encrypted versions of the database. After six months, the attackers removed the key from the remote server, the database became unusable, and the website went down, according to the post.

The attack has some weaknesses, though.

For regularly updated web applications, web programmers may detect the malicious changes when updating code, Kolochenko said. Additionally, he recommended using file integrity monitoring since it can more easily detect the threat.

“The only reliable way [to defend against this threat] is to make sure that your website is secure,” Kolochenko said. “This is not a new intrusion technique, but rather a consequence of a successful attack. I can recommend daily automated scanning and manual penetration testing once per quarter, fully-automated solutions won’t secure your website.”


Microsoft gives away Office on Android tablets

Word, Excel and PowerPoint applications available for free on Android tablets last week

It also released an app for Outlook email program to run on Apple’s iPhone and iPad,


The Pirate Bay relaunches a month after being taken offline

A message from “Winston” on the newly-relaunched site reads: “So, first we ditched the trackers. We even got rid of the torrents. Then we left the servers to enter the clouds.

“Now, we’re about to take the biggest step in our history.”

In cooperation with russian, israeli and japanese neuro scientists, we are developing a device that will embrace your entire mind. Using laser projections directly onto the retina it’ll no longer be any resolution but 100%. The sound will be delivered in a range from 12Hz to 79kHz and will cancel all noise from the outside world.

Using a simple plugin into the the brain, you will no longer only be able to see and hear a movie, a game or whatever it is you want. You’ll be able to live it. Play the main character. Tweak any story in any way you want.

Using your brain power and nervous system, we will be able to speed things up. Every part of The Pirate Bay will be stored within you and everyone else that dares to participate in this step into the future. The more we are, the faster everything will be. Our scientists calculate that if we become at least 1 333 337 nodes, everything will be shared instantaneously.


No Windows 10 for Surface RT devices

Microsoft has confirmed it will not upgrade Windows RT to its new Windows 10 operating system, and instead will only offer limited functionality upgrades to the mobile OS.

The company specifically excluded Windows RT and RT 8.1 in the fine print of its free Windows 10 upgrade offer.

Microsoft has committed to supporting Windows RT 8.1 for the same period of time as the x86 version of the operating system. Official support for Windows RT 8.1 will end on October 1, 2023,


Foxtel Broadband drops data limit for Presto

The news comes two days after the pay-TV heavyweight announced it would be bundling internet and home phone calls for the first time

Telstra, which is a part owner of Foxtel, has not yet announced whether it will also offer a no download limit plan for Presto users.


You can buy the Sydney Monorail on Gumtree for less than a car

Sydney man, Harry Tsoukalas is selling his 22 monorail carriages for $3000 each on Gumtree, or roughly what they’re worth in scrap metal.

Mr Tsoukalas came into possession of the monorails due to his position at Metropolitan Demolitions, the company that removed the decommissioned system in 2013.

Google famously bought two carriages of the old monorail in 2013, which it converted into meeting rooms for the company’s Sydney office. They had to remove the facade of the building to even be able to fit the carriages in the building.

 

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