Episode 548 – Aussie Tech Heads Shownotes

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ACCC warns of fake NBN scammers

Nearly $28,000 has been stolen from Australians this year by scammers pretending to be the NBN in order to steal money and personal information.

 

Scamwatch has already received 316 complaints this year related to scams impersonating the NBN, according to the ACCC.

 

One of the most common scams involves scammers ringing victims to connect them to an NBN service and demanding payment with an iTunes gift card.

Rickard said that Australians over 65 are particularly vulnerable to cold calls from scammers, who often demand payment via iTunes gift cards. “Legitimate businesses, especially those like NBN, will never ask you to pay for anything in this way,” Rickard said.

 

“NBN will never phone you out of the blue to try to sign you up to a service over its network. NBN is a wholesaler, meaning they don’t sell direct to the public. If you get an unsolicited call like this, it’s a big red flag that you’re dealing with a scammer, ACCC said

 

NBN will also never call you to remotely ‘fix’ a problem with your computer, or to request personal information like your Medicare number or your bank account numbers. Don’t listen to the reasons they give you for needing this information.”

Rickard advised Australians to hang up and contact their retail service provider if they were in doubt about a caller purporting to be from the NBN. She said Australians should never give out personal or credit card details over the phone, unless it is a trusted source, or allow an unsolicited caller remote access to their computer.

Apple’s ‘hidden’ job ad found online

 

The text begins: “Hey there! You found us”, and says the firm is looking for “a talented engineer to develop a critical infrastructure component”.

It has since been either removed or moved elsewhere.

Cyber-security reporter Zack Whittaker discovered it by chance while analysing some data being sent from iPhone apps – but he is not applying for the job.

“As part of the stream of traffic I could see, it was connecting to this one URL – and there it was,” he said.

 

The use of “hidden” messages in recruitment campaigns has a long history.

During World War Two, codebreaking headquarters Bletchley Park set puzzles in newspapers to attract inquiring minds.

In 2016, British firm Dyson devised a series of four challenges, beginning with a key hidden inside a YouTube video.

And in 2015, GCHQ used a pressure washer and stencil to spray-paint cryptic graffiti on the pavements of various UK cities as part of its recruitment campaign. The department has also used online quizzes.

 

Australia blocks another 59 popular pirate sites

The crackdown prevents users from accessing 59 illegal torrent and streaming sites including Demonoid, EZTV, YTS, RARBG, 1337x and Putlocker.

A total of 160 domains have been blocked in two orders, including alternative routes to the Pirate Bay.

The blockades were requested by film studio Village Roadshow and Foxtel.

 

bringing the total number of domains blocked in the country to 340

Kit Kat accused of copying Atari game Breakout

 

The advert showed a game similar to Breakout but where the bricks were replaced with single Kit Kat bars.

Nestle said it was aware of the lawsuit and would defend itself “strongly” against the allegations.

 

Atari alleges that the similarity with its original game “is so plain and blatant that Nestle cannot claim to be an ‘innocent’ infringer”.

 

Nestle’s spokesperson said: “This is a UK TV advert that ran in 2016. The ad no longer runs and we have no current plans to re-run it.

Google mass-culls apps after malware found in Play Store

 

Two years and 100 million downloads later.

More than 500 apps have been yanked from Google’s Play Store after they were found to contain a software development kit (SDK) that could download malicious plug-ins at will.

The SDK is used by developers for in-app advertising, and is made by Chinese vendor Igexin.

It has been used in hundreds of games, weather, internet radio, image editor and other apps, which have been downloaded in excess of 100 million times.

 

Lookout said the malicious functionality was fully controlled by Igexin, which could activate it at any time and download malware from a remote server controlled by the Chinese company.

 

After being notified by Lookout, Google pulled more than 500 apps that feature the Igexin advertising SDK.

 

Apple emerges unscathed from five-year ATO tax audit

Apple Australia claims it has come out unscathed from a five-year audit by the Australian Taxation Office, avoiding any penalty for a globally controversial transfer pricing structure.

 

It reportedly shifted $9 billion in Australian profits to its Irish parent in the ten years prior to 2013 by placing increasing mark-ups on products sold by the Irish operation to Apple Australia.

Last year saw Apple globally ordered by the European Commission to repay A$19.2 billion after it found the company’s Irish tax arrangements to be illegal under state aid rules.

 

The audit examined the consumer electronics giant’s accounts from 2012 to 2015. The company is due to report its 2017 financial results for the year to September 2017 next January.

Apple Australia managing director Tony King said the ATO had found no problems with the company’s filings.

 

GOOGLE has announced lots of helpful new features to make your smartphone even smarter. Here’s everything coming to Android.

Ever try checking your schedule while staying on a video call? Android Oreo makes it easy with picture-in-picture, letting you see two apps at once: it’s like having the power to be in two places at the same time.

We’ve all been overwhelmed by notifications and managed to miss the ones you care about the most.

But Oreo has notification dots let you tap to see what’s new in your apps like the important ones you put on your home-screen and then take action on those notifications quickly.

Android Oreo is more secure with Google Play Protect built in, security status front and centre in settings, and tighter app install controls.

That means you’re better protected from nasty malware that could help crooks steal all your dosh.

Your battery is about to last a lot longer, too. Android Oreo helps minimise unintentional overuse of battery from apps in the background; these limits keep your battery going longer.

Android Oreo helps minimise unintentional overuse of battery from apps in the background; these limits keep your battery going longer.

Speed is essential for phone addicts and with Android Oreo, you can get started on tasks more quickly than ever with a faster boot speed (up to twice as fast on Pixel, in fact).

Once you’re powered up, Autofill on Android Oreo remembers things like logins (with your permission) to quickly get you into your favourite apps.

Plus, support for Android Instant Apps means you can teleport directly into new apps, no installation needed.

There’s over 60 completely new emoji to share with your pals.

And these ones actually look like the iOS emojis, not strange alien blobs.

 

Sonos customers react angrily to new privacy policy

The company has recently announced integration with voice responsive smart speakers like Google Home and Amazon Echo. As Sonos rolls out the integration it will begin collecting more customer data about audio settings, system errors and other account information of users.

And if they don’t agree, they won’t be able to update their speakers which means they will soon “cease to function,” the company says.

A Sonos spokesperson reportedly told ZDNet “if a customer chooses not to acknowledge the privacy statement, the customer will not be able to update the software on their Sonos system, and over time the functionality of the product will decrease.

“The customer can choose to acknowledge the policy, or can accept that over time their product may cease to function,” the spokesperson said.

The ultimatum quickly drew criticism from annoyed customers, as well as privacy advocates.

“I’ll happily toss my system if true. Privacy matters and good companies respect their customers. Your move @sonos,” wrote Canadian designer Jim Oslen on Twitter.

Another Twitter user took to the social media platform demanding a refund for his Sonos speakers.

“Your new privacy policy is not going over well. Expect backlash! I want a refund for my 3 speakers,” wrote user Rinky Dink.

a spokesman for Sonos refuted the notion that its speakers would stop working properly if customers didn’t consent to giving up their data.

“No one can really opt out of a privacy policy,” they said. “It’s not like we’re collecting a whole lot of personal information.” The updates, the company says, are simply designed to improve its products and customer experience.

Sonos says it does not sell customer data to third parties for profit.

“When it comes to using your information, our principles are simple. We will be transparent about what data we’re collecting and why. We will protect your data as though it is sacred,” the company’s Chief Legal Officer Craig Shelburne wrote in a blog post regarding the new privacy changes.

“Because Sonos is a platform that partners with streaming services and other home devices, we do share some data with our partners that is necessary for making the partner service work on Sonos and providing a quality experience.”

HBO has proved its anti-piracy efforts are no joke, with the company’s subsidiary partner bringing four Game of Thrones pirates to justice.

IF YOU think HBO’s efforts to punish Game of Thrones pirates were a joke, speak to the four people arrested in connection with the leak of the fourth episode of the latest season.

In early August, the Game of Thrones episode “The Spoils of War” surfaced on various file-sharing and streaming sites across the globe ahead of its commercial release.

Despite being of low-quality and trumping the official release date by only a few days, the leak was illegally downloaded by hordes of eager Game of Thrones fans.

As the leaked episode contained “For Internal Viewing Only” and “Star India Pvt Ltd” watermarks, anti-piracy officials were able to quickly narrow down the culprits.

“We take this breach very seriously and have immediately initiated forensic investigations at our and the technology partner’s end to swiftly determine the cause. This is a grave issue and we are taking appropriate legal remedial action,” a spokesman from Star India said at the time.

Now after 10 days of investigations, the subsidiary of 21st Century Fox has been able to track down those responsible for illegally releasing the episode.

Deputy Commissioner of Police Akbar Pathan said the four men arrested are accused of criminal breach of trust and computer-related offences and would be detained until August 21.

“We investigated the case and have arrested four individuals for unauthorised publication of the fourth episode from season seven,” he said.

Authorities claim the men were employees of Mumbai-based company responsible for storing and processing the TV episodes for an app and had official credentials giving them access.

 

It was recently rumored that Google was working on Google Assistant-powered headphones with the codename Bisto. The information was derived from a teardown of a recent Google app APK, which contained strings relating to such a product.

These headphones would, seemingly, act like an in-ear version of Google Home — responding to voice commands and providing information at one’s request. Following this earlier news, Android Police has now taken a closer look at the Google v7.10 beta app and unearthed further details of what we could expect from Google’s upcoming headphones.

Possibly the biggest news is that Google may not just produce headphones itself, but make it possible for third-party manufacturers to develop similar Assistant-powered headphones too. The Bisto software would seemingly be customizable to support the individual designs of these products, so we could also see devices like mono Bluetooth earpieces as well as luxury headphones, coming in at a range of price points (something like what’s going on with the Android Wear ecosystem).

Reportedly, Bisto headphones will also be able read out your notifications, giving you access to the information on your phone (to which they would have to be paired with). It seems like these will be prioritized/intelligent to some degree — so if you’re getting fifty useless notifications per day it won’t read them all out, but just the latest or most important. Apparently, it may also be able to read out full messages from certain apps (like Allo) and their sender.

Other Bisto tidbits include possible voice calling functionality, for regular phone calls and those from supported apps, as well as the ability to read out the current battery level of the headphones — something sorely missing from many other Bluetooth headphones.

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