Episode 529 – Aussie Tech Heads Shownotes

posted in: Show Notes


MYOB customers targeted by malware with fake invoices

The fake emails contain an invoice telling victims they owe between $6300 and $6400 to MYOB due today, according to enterprise email security vendor MailGuard.

If users click the ‘view invoice’ link, they will be directed to a compromised SharePoint website hosting a Trojan in the form of a JavaScript file. Some versions also direct to a zip file containing a JavaScript payload. The JavaScript payload installs itself to autorun when starting up Windows and tries to steal private information from internet browsers.

The email also includes a link to the real MYOB website, making it more deceiving.

Legitimate invoices from MYOB will be addressed from accountright@apps.myob.com or noreply@apps.myob.com addresses from its small business products.

Microsoft moves quickly to patch ‘fully exploiting’ zero-day Word bug

Microsoft moved swiftly to patch a potentially major security floor in all current versions of its popular Office suite, used by 1.2 billion people.

Victims are drawn in by opening compromised Word documents sent to them via email that are loaded with the Dridex banking trojan, according to the blog.

The subject line in all cases reportedly reads “Scan Data” and includes compromised attachments named Scan_xxxxxx.doc”, where xxxxxx is a random number.

Scanned documents sent via email commonly carry similar subject lines.

While most malware requires human intervention to activate it in a system, the Microsoft zero-day is able to run by simply opening the corrupted Word document, giving hackers control of an infected computer and their personal banking details and access passwords.

[The vulnerability] was addressed in the April security update released on April 11, 2017. Customers who applied the update, or have automatic updates enabled, are already protected,” a Microsoft spokesperson said.

Targets for the exploit included millions of recipients primarily in Australia.

Tombstones Set to Become Interactive

Each tombstone will have a display embedded into it, with the example given to Reuters being a 48-inch panel. From a distance they look like normal tombstones, but these new ones are aware. If you stand in front of one it detects your presence using built-in sensors and starts interacting.

What is shown on the display is up to the family of the deceased, or the deceased themselves if they had time to plan this out. It could be scrolling text, video, audio, or a mix of all three. There’s even going to be a smartphone app allowing audio to be streamed to your device rather than having speakers in the tombstone.

As for the cost, the 48-inch display tombstone is roughly $3,200 and Bioenergija is apparently receiving orders following a successful prototype. They are weather and vandal-proof,


TPG takes on Telstra, Optus, Vodafone as Australia’s fourth mobile network operator with $1.26b spectrum acquisition

TPG has acquired $1.26 billion in 700Mhz spectrum and is set to become Australia’s fourth mobile network operator, announcing plans to build a $1.9 billion mobile network covering 80 percent of the population.

TPG secured two 10MHz lots as part of the Australian Communications and Media Authority’s high-value spectrum auction, which sold off unsold lots from the 700MHz band on 4 April. Bidding from three companies saw revenues for the auction exceed $1.5 billion, surpassing the reserve price of about $857 million. Vodafone Hutchison Australia was the other successful bidder, securing two 5MHz lots for $285 million.

TPG, which joins Telstra, Optus and Vodafone as a mobile network operator, also revealed it would spend a further $600 million for network rollout expenditure over three years.

The 700MHz spectrum is extensively used throughout Australia to provide 4G mobile broadband. TPG’s purchased lots cover the 738–748 MHz and 793–803 MHz ranges. The Vodafone-acquired lots cover the 733 MHz–738 MHz and 788 MHz–793 MHz ranges.

Toshiba’s future in doubt as it reveals nearly $7 billion loss

It is possible that Toshiba will now be delisted from the Tokyo Stock Exchange.

After restructuring its divisions to counteract growing losses, and seeing most of these divisions improve as a result, Toshiba was rocked by losses experienced by its nuclear power subsidiary, Westinghouse Electric, which has filed for bankruptcy.

recorded an income loss for the first nine months (April to December 2016) of its latest financial year A$6.9 billion.

A decision to spin off Toshiba Memory Corporation as a separate company means it can more speedily sell all or some of it, to generate money to pay its debts and rebuild capital. Foxconn is reportedly one potential buyer of the chip business.

Image result for toshiba in trouble

Apple takes Swatch to court over ‘Tick Different’ ads

Swatch is using the slogan to market a wristwatch containing a contactless payment chip.

Apple says the phrase unfairly references its Think Different campaign, which ran in the 1990s.

Swatch said the slogan was a nod to one of its own campaigns from the 1980s: “Always different, always new.”3

Apple used Think Different in its adverts from 1997 to 2002, in what was thought to be a response to IBM’s Think ad campaign.

A 1998 television advert, featuring black-and-white images of historical figures such as Einstein and Gandhi, won an Emmy.

Apple’s lawyers Lenz & Staehelin said the tagline was long considered “the core of the Apple brand”.

Legal experts say that, to win the case, Apple must show that Swatch’s use of the phrase Tick Different provokes an association with Apple products in the minds of at least 50% of consumers.

A similar complaint lodged at the same time with the Swiss Federal Institute of Intellectual Property was rejected.

Swatch was granted trademark status for the phrase Tick Different in the US in 2015. It also has the trademark for the slogan in Switzerland.

This is not the first time the two companies have clashed.

In September last year, the UK Intellectual Property Office upheld Swatch’s opposition to Apple’s efforts to trademark “iWatch” in the UK.

It ruled that the term was too close to “iSwatch” and “Swatch”.

Swatch Bellamy watch

Is the NBN heading towards a mobile iceberg?

according to telco industry experts The federal government needs to make urgent and drastic changes to the structure of the NBN or face having the bottom of the network cannibalised by mobile services

NBN Co faces losing up to 20 percent of its user base, experts say, with consumers choosing to deposit a few extra dollars onto their mobile plan for a bigger data allowance, rather than signing up for an NBN broadband connection.

telco enterpreneur Bevan Slattery has argued since 2010 that the NBN should never have been structured in pursuit of a commercial return, and needs a dramatic restructure to meet its stated policy goals of fast and affordable broadband for all.

Went on to say  NBN Co will be cannibalised out of the bottom 20 percent of its customer base. Because people have to have a mobile phone, they don’t have to have fixed line

NBN Co needs to offer a sub-$20 plan – “not something like a 4/1Mbps or this 12/1Mbps crap: that’s not broadband, that’s ADSL, that’s narrowband” – that can lure users with tight budgets away from mobile and onto the NBN, according to Slattery.

“You can’t do that when you’re trying to get an economic return. But if you don’t, mobile will absolutely eat the bottom 10-20 percent of the NBN


Google pulls out of massive Sydney Harbour redevelopment project

One of the world’s largest tech companies, Google was the headline tenant of a multi-billion redevelopment project on an industrial Sydney Harbour backwater dubbed the Bays Precinct.

The Government’s development arm, UrbanGrowth NSW, had hailed the development as “a once-in-a-generation opportunity to deliver innovation and attract jobs, reinforcing [Sydney’s] reputation as an internationally-competitive, resilient and prosperous global city to live, work and visit”.

But that vision may have to wait with Google now saying sayonara to the Sydney Harbour site. The company insisted it had not reneged on a commitment to move its Australian headquarters to the former White Bay Power Station which currently lies derelict at the heart of the precinct. A spokesman told news.com.au there was never a deal and it only ever held “exploratory negotiations” about the possibility of moving into the building’s shell.

Dubbed ‘Silicon Harbour’, the Bays Precinct would have seen 5.5 kilometres of harbour front, and 95 hectares of mostly government-owned land, turned into a hub for technology firms and start-ups.

On Wednesday, a statement from UrbanGrowth NSW said it had come to a “mutual agreement” with Google Australia to abandon plans move into the power station.

“Both parties have been through a collaborative, respectful and comprehensive process to determine a range of options for the site.”


THE streaming war is seriously heating up with Amazon reportedly committing $6 billion to its video-on-demand service in 2017 in a clear bid to take the fight to Netflix.

The financial commitment nearly matches the staggering $8 billion budget Netflix says it will spend on original content this year.

Amazon Prime recently launched in Australia and with a lower price point, the company is clearly keen to lure Netflix subscribers onto its service while it continues to build up its library.

The $6 billion figure Amazon will spend on content is according to analysts at Wall Street firm J.P. Morgan and is a higher figure than many industry observers had expected, reportsBusiness Insider.

By comparison, renowned broadcaster HBO (whose online streaming service is not readily available to Australian consumers) spent $2.6 billion on programming in 2016.

In December, Amazon made its video service global by entering 200 countries, roughly a year after Netflix made the move. At the same time Amazon has moved to bulk up its offering of original content including paying a reported $320 million for the Top Gear revival.

Last week Amazon Studios boss Roy Price told the audience at an industry conference that the company’s focus was on the “the crème de la crème” of its blockbuster shows.

While the rights and investment can be expensive, Amazon wants to boast the “actual shows people are talking about,” he said.


Another 300,000 Australian premises are getting fibre all the way to the driveway as NBN becomes more generous with its fibre rollout.

It seems the Multi-Technology Mix has been in constant flux since the Coalition government decided to scrap plans to run fibre to the premises to 93 per cent of Australian homes and businesses. These days it’s pot luck as to whether fibre runs to your door, your basement, the end of your driveway or the node around the corner.

Initially fibre to the curb was only expected to support 300,000 premises, but this grew to 700,000 when NBN decided to scrap the Optus HFC network. Not every home in the Optus HFC footprint is now getting FttC, only the areas which don’t overlap with Telstra’s HFC cable network which is gradually becoming NBN cable but isexperiencing significant teething problems.

Now FttC is destined to reach another 300,000 premises – spread across Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth – which were previously destined to receive FttN. That brings us to 1 million FttC connections in total and the justification for this change of heart is largely related to cost and time to deploy. One benefit of FttC is that it draws power from the premises, unlike FttN where the neighbourhood node requires its own power supply.


Australian telcos begin mandatory customer data harvest

Australian telcos will start harvesting and storing customer information from this week but the metadata collected under the mandatory scheme will not be allowed to be used in civil legal proceedings, according to the federal government.

The Turnbull government has opted against tinkering with the current safeguards after a review into the matter found “insufficient reason” for allowing exceptions.

According to the Attorney General’s department, the existing restrictions on civil litigants accessing data collected under the mandatory data retention scheme will stay in place.

Under the controversial program, which passed the senate in March 2015, telcos will be required to hold on to customer metadata for at least two years. While the law officially came into effect in October 2015, telcos were given until April 13 2017 to have their metadata collection systems in place.

Metadata is the essential information that can be used to create a digital footprint of an individual. In case of phone calls, the metadata would be the information on the date, duration, time and location of the call, rather than what was said.

The mandatory retention issue generated fierce debate not just between the government and privacy advocates but also irked the telco industry which had to bear the burden of compliance.

While the government has doled out a combined $128.4 million to 180 telcos across the country under its Data Retention Industry Grants programme, the industry is concerned about the lengthy delays in getting the money to all the recipients.

According to the Communications Alliance, many telcos are still not fully prepared as the implementation period comes to an end.

Metadata has been touted by the government as basic building block in counter-terrorism, counter-espionage and organised crime investigation. However, critics of the scheme maintain that it trades away the privacy of citizens for no real benefit.

There are also concerns around how easily the system can be bypassed.

Communications carried out using over-the-top services like Skype, FaceTime or Facebook messenger will not be stored. Virtual private networks (VPN), which are now relatively cheap and easy to install, also provide a degree of protection by hiding internet traffic.





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