Episode 536 – Aussie Tech Heads Shownotes

posted in: Show Notes



Microsoft Outlook users hit by Office 365 outage


9.00am Microsoft advised that was investigating the issue

Microsoft identified “a configuration issue” and was working on fixing it.

3.00pm, the issue was rectified for most clients and was being monitored. The university’s email services were back at 4.00pm.


Australia and Japan appear to have been hit the hardest with Aussie Outages picking up the disruption at approximately 11.00am on Wednesday, peaking at 345 complaints on the website.


According to Microsoft, the problem was affecting users trying to connect to Outlook.com via the Mozilla Firefox browser.



ATO settles with HPE over SAN failure that caused several outages


The ATO’s 3PAR storage area network (SAN) problems started last December when an unexpected three-day outage took all its online services down.


A second five-day outage in February followed as a result of the ATO’s efforts to stabilise the faulty SAN that fell over two months prior.


It was later forced to take its online tax services down for several weekends across April and May as it swapped out the old SAN and bedded down new equipment.


ATO commissioner Chris Jordan later said HPE had never seen a failure of this type across any of the 67,000 organisations worldwide using the same equipment.


12 of 800 disk drives failed, they impacted most ATO systems.


The ATO commissioner also revealed the agency had reached a commercial settlement with storage vendor HPE over the failure.

The details are confidential, he said, but the deal recoups key costs incurred by the ATO, and gives the agency new and “higher-grade” equipment to equip it with a “world-class storage network”.



ACCC lets Telstra, TPG and other telcos pass high-speed broadband tax to customers

The Australian competition watchdog has ruled that Telstra, TPG and a host of smaller network operators will be allowed to pass on the federal government’s proposed broadband tax to customers

Earlier this month the government revealed its intentions to introduce legislation that would levy a $7.10 minimum monthly broadband tax for high-speed fixed-line providers in order to contribute to the future cost of the fixed wireless and satellite portions of the NBN.


That $7.10 represents a third of the profit some companies make off each customer, according to some reports.



Wasn’t the GST supposed to pay for everything? Will we pay gst on that tax?



Apple continues smartphone war to Google with new video advert campaign across social media

APPLE is taking the smartphone war right to Google by launching a major campaign to get users to ditch their Android phones, and offering them cash to switch to an iPhone.





download the Move to iOS app from the Google Play Store and it securely transfers your content for you. That means things like your photos, videos, contacts, calendars, mail accounts, message history, and free apps — including Google Apps. And you can trade in your old smartphone $260 (maybe not in Australia),



IS terror guide encourages luring victims via Gumtree, eBay


The article encourages would-be terrorists to advertise products on second-hand selling sites, such as Gumtree, eBay and Craigslist, to lure victims and assassinate them.


advises readers to specify that the product must be picked up in person and paid for in cash, to ensure that the victim enters the killer’s property.

“Upon the target’s arrival, one can then proceed to initiate his attack,” the article states.

Alternatively, the magazine says fighters can take out a fake advertisements for jobs as a means to kill innocent people.


“After garnering a significant amount of applicants, one can then arrange the ‘job interview’ location and times, spacing out the applicants appointment times so as to give oneself time to subdue each target as he arrives — luring him to an appropriate location before attacking, subduing, binding and then slaughtering them

The story also suggests falsely advertising an apartment for rent online or in newspaper classifieds to lure victims.


“The advertisement should be for a small single-room or studio apartment,” the article states.

“This will help ensure that the viewer comes alone.”


The curious case of the Disney hacking hoax


Disney Chief executive Bob Iger initially held a staff meeting in which he claimed that hackers had been in contact and were threatening to share the film online in several parts. Mr Iger said the hackers would release five minutes of the film and then 20-minute chunks unless the ransom was paid. The company declined to pay the hackers and turned it over to the FBI.


Following an FBI investigation, the Disney boss said there was no way that anybody had access to the films before they appeared in the cinema.

“To our knowledge, we were not hacked, disney said


Gmail enterprise users get earlier phishing detection, malicious link and external reply warnings

Google today announced an update to Gmail aimed at businesses. Three security features are rolling out to the email service: early phishing detection using machine learning, click-time warnings for malicious links, and unintended external reply warnings. The first two already exist for Gmail users and are now being made available to enterprises, while the last one is completely new.


mail already uses machine learning to block spam and phishing messages from showing up in your inbox — “with over 99.9 percent accuracy,” Google claims. Early phishing detection is a dedicated machine learning model that selectively delays messages to perform rigorous phishing analysis and further protect user data from compromise. For those worried about Gmail delaying too many emails, Google is promising that “less than 0.05 percent of messages on average” will be affected and that the delay will be no more than four minutes.


Gmail now also displays unintended external reply warnings to users. If you try to respond to someone outside of your company domain, you will receive a quick warning to make sure you intended to send that email. Using contextual intelligence, Gmail will not display these warnings to recipients that are existing contacts or someone you interact with regularly.

Gmail is also getting new built-in defenses against ransomware and polymorphic malware. Putting all of the above together, Google estimates that Gmail will now block “millions of additional emails that can harm users.”








NBN’s new pricing model comes into effect to provide a ‘discount’ rate for big users

STARTING today, the way many of us are charged for our internet usage will effectively change.

The company carrying out the task of building a wholesale broadband network to service every Australian has enacted a new pricing structure, designed to provide discounts for telcos (onsellers) who buy large amounts of bandwidth for their customers.

The altered pricing arrangement is designed to produce greater certainty and flexibility for retail service providers (RSPs) such as Telstra, Optus and TPG who sell home broadband plans to the end consumer.

On top of connection fees, NBN Co. charges retailers for the maximum amount of total bandwidth they want available to their customers accessing the network, known as the Connectivity Virtual Circuit (CVC) charge.

Under the new model, telcos will pay reduced prices for bandwidth on the NBN if they increase the average amount of data capacity in their customer base.

NBN Co. will calculate a discounted wholesale charge for each retailer service provider based on their average customer usage from the previous month. The higher the usage, the better the discount.




Amazon Is Refunding Up To $70 Million In-App Purchases Made By Kids


The Federal Trade Commission announced that refunds are now available for parents whose children made in-app purchases without their knowledge. Amazon dropped its appeal of last year’s ruling by a federal judge who sided with the Federal Trade Commission in the agency’s lawsuit again Amazon. According to a TechCrunch report, “the FTC’s original complaint said that Amazon should be liable for millions of dollars it charged customers, because of the way its Appstore software was designed — that is, it allowed kids to spend unlimited amounts of money in games and other apps without requiring parental consent.”


According to the FTC, more than $70 million in charges may be eligible for refunds on in-app purchases made between November 2011 and May 2016. In 2014, Apple and Google refunded customers whose children made purchases in their mobile app stores, and the companies were forced to be more explicit about in-app purchases. Both firms no longer call apps “free” when they are free to download but have upgrades you can buy. Amazon sent eligible consumers an email to receive a refund.




Man Fined $4,000 For ‘Liking’ Defamatory Posts on Facebook

In what appears to be a first, a court in Switzerland has fined a man the equivalent of over $4,000 just for clicking the “like” button on what a judge said were defamatory Facebook comments. From a report:The court in Zurich found that the man indirectly endorsed and further distributed the comments by using the ubiquitous Facebook “like” button. The man, who was not named in the court’s statement, “liked” several posts written by a third party that accused an animal rights activist of antisemitism, racism and fascism. In court, the man was not able to prove that the claims were accurate or could reasonably be held to be true. “The defendant clearly endorsed the unseemly content and made it his own,” a statement from the court said. The court fined the man a total of 4,000 Swiss francs ($4,100). He has the right to appeal his sentence.




Mary Meeker’s 2017 Internet Trends Report

Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers partner Mary Meeker delivered her annual rapid-fire internet trends report at Code Conference. Here’s the summary:

  1. Global smartphone growth is slowing: Smartphone shipments grew 3 percent year over year last year, versus 10 percent the year before.
  2. Voice is beginning to replace typing in online queries. Twenty percent of mobile queries were made via voice in 2016, while accuracy is now about 95 percent.
  3. In 10 years, Netflix went from 0 to more than 30 percent of home entertainment revenue in the U.S. This is happening while TV viewership continues to decline.
  4. Entrepreneurs are often fans of gaming, Meeker said, quoting Elon Musk, Reid Hoffman and Mark Zuckerberg. Global interactive gaming is becoming mainstream, with 2.6 billion gamers in 2017 versus 100 million in 1995.
  5. China remains a fascinating market, with huge growth in mobile services and payments and services like on-demand bike sharing.
  6. While internet growth is slowing globally, that’s not the case in India, the fastest growing large economy. The number of internet users in India grew more than 28 percent in 2016.
  7. In the U.S. in 2016, 60 percent of the most highly valued tech companies were founded by first- or second-generation Americans and are responsible for 1.5 million employees. Those companies include tech titans Apple, Alphabet, Amazon and Facebook.
  8. Healthcare: Wearables are gaining adoption with about 25 percent of Americans owning one, up 12 percent from 2016.



Hollywood Is Fighting Billionaire Sean Parker’s Plan To Let You Rent Movies Still in Theaters For $50


Billionaire Sean Parker’s plans to bring movies to your home as soon as they release in theatres has hit new roadblocks. After receiving praises for “Screening Room” from directors and producers Steven Spielberg, Ron Howard, J.J. Abrams, and Peter Jackson, as well as Hollywood studios, the buzz for the startup has started to wane. From a report:Though Parker and cofounder Prem Akkaraju have promoted the company in the last two years at CinemaCon, it’s gotten little traction due to a naivete of the industry, competitors, and studios’ and theater chains’ decade-long discussion about how to move forward on Premium VOD (PVOD) (alternative source), Business Insider has learned. “Everything you’ve heard in the press about studios and theaters wanting to explore a PVOD window, nothing about that revolves around Screening Room,” a source close to the talks told Business Insider. Screening Room’s main pitch to studios and exhibitors has been that it can bring added revenue to all sides of the equation. Out of the proposed $50 rental fee, 20% would go to the movie’s distributor, and a participating theater chain would get up to $20 of the fee, plus each customer receives two tickets to see that rented title at their local theater. Screening Room would take 10% of each fee. Sources told Business Insider that all of the bells and whistles Screening Room is selling don’t matter until the studios and theaters can agree on a Premium VOD (or PVOD) window. Industry players don’t want movies to be available on PVOD simultaneously with theatrical release dates because the first two weeks of a theatrical run are still when studios and exhibitors get a majority of a movie’s income.



Hackers hold Sydney start-up’s customer database for ransom

Small Sydney tech company Qnect is in damage control after its customer data was reportedly stolen and held for ransom.

The hackers, calling themselves RavenCrew, threatened to publish the data – including credit card details and email addresses – online unless Bitcoin were paid by the company, according to Business Insider.

Customers reportedly received SMS messages on Tuesday urging them to contact Qnect and encourage them to pay the ransom.

“Please help us convince them to pay by emailing questions,” said the SMS, before listing email addresses of two senior staff members.

Qnect offers an app-based online ticket-selling service used by hundreds of groups around the world such as university societies, according to its website.

Sydney University Law Society, which is believed to be affected by the hack, posted a warning on Tuesday evening to is members about the attack.

“This is a scam,” it said, urging members to not reply.