Episode 518 – Aussie Tech Heads Shownotes

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NBN puts up $150,000 in grants for organisations using the network

The NBN is teaming up with the Australian Information Industry Association by putting up $150,000 in grants for organisations to show how the NBN has driven growth in their businesses.

The Grow with NBN grant is divided into three categories: small and medium businesses with 50 employees or less, community groups (that must be incorporated) and education.

The education category isn’t just limited to schools, but also organisations that provide education and training inside or outside traditional learning environments. Organisations with access to the NBN network with speeds of 25Mbps or higher are eligible to enter,

11ants of $25,000, six grants of $10,000 and an NBN staff choice award of $15,000.

Organisations can apply by submitting a short video or brief written response to the Grow with NBN website on how the network has helped them.

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Australia ranks 50th in the world for average internet speeds at 9.6Mbps

lagging just behind the likes of behind France, Qatar, New Zealand and Thailand, according to a report conducted by Akamai and posted to comparebroadband.com.au

Developing countries such as Thailand, ranked 36th, and Kenya, ranked 43rd, speed ahead of Australia at 11.7Mbps and 11Mbps, respectively. Our closer neighbours to the north in Singapore (18.2Mbps), world number two Hong Kong (20.1Mbps) and Japan (18Mbps) dominated the global top 10. South Korea took the top spot worldwide with an average connection speed of 26.3Mbps

The top 10 countries, many of which will not come as a surprise, were: South Korea, Hong Kong, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, Singapore, Japan, Finland, Netherlands and Latvia.

The countries at the bottom of the pack included Yemen, with an average connection speed of 0.7Mbps; the only country listed to have an average speed below 1Mbps, and Syria and Libya, with speeds of 1.1Mbps and 1.2Mbps, respectively.  

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ATO takes online services down for the third consecutive weekend

One month after the Australian Taxation Office suffered its worst-ever outage, the department will go offline for the third consecutive weekend as it continues to fully restore its systems.

The planned outage will take place from 11.15pm on Friday, 13 January, until 9am Sunday, 15 January, which means no online services will be available during that period.

This is another attempt to fully restore its systems since the ATO website went down on 12 December when a HPE storage network crashed.

In late December, the ATO announced it was getting an independent specialist to investigate the causes of the outage.

The taxation office also confirmed that no data had been lost and that no taxpayer information had been compromised.

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Pokemon GO made $1.2 billion in 2016

reaching $US800 million ($1.05 billion) in consumer spend in 110 days. By the end of 2016, the game reached over $950 million ($1.2 billion) in consumer spend. This was far faster than some of the most successful mobile games of all time”.

To put Pokemon GO’s success in a broader perspective, its global consumer spend in 2016 exceeded the total worldwide box office gross of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. Pokemon GO’s monetisation in 2016 demonstrates the viability of novel gameplay ideas in mobile gaming, the report says.

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Newly-discovered Mac malware runs ancient code

Infosec firm Malwarebytes said it discovered the malware after an IT admin spotted unusual outgoing activity from a specific Mac computer.

The firm said the malware uses code that pre-dates Apple’s OS X operating system – including the likes of SGGetChannelDeviceList and SGStartRecord – and also runs libjpeg code, which was last updated in 1998.

It contains only two files and uses a hidden script to communicate to its servers. The script can also hide the malware’s icon from showing in the macOS dock by executing a secondary script and Java class.

The purpose of the malware appeared to be to take screenshots of Mac and Linux computers and gain access to the webcam, Malwarebytes said. The malware also collects information about each device connected to the same network as the target computer and connects to them.

Malwarebytes was unable to pinpoint the malware’s exact creation date, but noted that it had gone through changes to work with OS X Yosemite, which makes it a least a year old.

The firm said the malware was “unlike anything [it’s] seen before”.

It appears to be specifically targeting biomedical research centres.

Apple has quietly released an update for macOS to address the issue, dubbing the malware “Fruitfly”

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Zuckerberg files lawsuit against native Hawaiians to force land sales

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has filed a lawsuit against Hawaiian families in an effort to sell their land in order for the billionaire and his family to have more privacy.

Some of the lawsuits Zuckerberg fil

ed are complex. One case involves a woman who once owned a parcel of land on Zuckerberg’s property who has no surname, which is part of the old Hawaiian tradition. Another case is against 300 defendants who are said to be related from an immigrant Portuguese plantation worker. Some cases will have to trace land ownership through genealogical records.

Defendants have 20 days to respond to the lawsuit and they don’t respond they get no say in the legal proceeding.

Neighbors have already clashed with Zuckerberg over the rock wall surrounding his property. The rock wall is designed to reduce highway and road noise. Similar walls are routinely used for this purpose, she said. The wall follows all rules and regulations, but neighbors think it’s an eyesore.

“It’s immense,” Gy Hall, a resident, said in an interview with West Hawaii Today last year. “It’s really sad that somebody would come in, and buy a huge piece of land and the first thing they do is cut off this view that’s been available and appreciated by the community here for years.”

Forbes reported Zuckerberg paid over $100 million for the property, which spans more than 700 acres on the coast, in 2014.

FILE - In this Saturday, Nov. 19, 2016 file photo, Mark Zuckerberg, chairman and CEO of Facebook, waves at the CEO summit during the annual Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum in Lima, Peru.

 

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