Episode 555 – Aussie Tech Heads Shownotes

posted in: Show Notes


Wi-fi security flaw ‘puts devices at risk of hacks’




MegaBots Inc

Steve’s link



BEHOLD, THE WORLD’S FIRST GIANT ROBOT DUEL, BETWEEN MEGABOTS, INC (USA) AND SUIDOBASHI HEAVY INDUSTRY (JAPAN)! Science fiction fantasies become reality as gigantic robots, piloted by their creators, go head-to-head in this historic battle!




Still photographs spring to life



New software makes it possible to breathe life into still photo portraits.

The project was developed in Israel with the help of a leading social network.

It has the potential to become the net’s next viral hit, but also has more serious long-term uses, as one of its creators explains.


Snapchat to make original TV-style shows


Snap Inc has teamed up with TV giant NBCUniversal to create a new digital content studio based in California.

It will work with film and programme makers to produce original scripted video for the app.

The shows will probably be around three to five minutes long.

Australia launches revenge porn reporting tool

Australia has set up the first national reporting tool to help victims of revenge porn.

eSafety commissioner said 20% of Australians aged between 16 and 49 have experienced image-based abuse.

Young women and indigenous Australians were more likely to be victims.

The same research found that 76% of victims took no action, often because they didn’t know what to do.


the government is considering introducing civil penalties for perpetrators or websites that distribute revenge porn.



Google introduces advanced Gmail security features for high-risk users

Google said on Tuesday that it would roll out an advanced protection program in order to provide stronger security for some users such as government officials and journalists who are at a higher risk of being targeted by hackers.

The internet giant said that users of the program would have their account security continuously updated to deal with emerging threats.

The program would include additional reviews and requests in the account recovery process to prevent fraudulent access by hackers who try to gain access by pretending they have been locked out.

Virgin Mobile to discontinue prepaid mobile broadband to focus on postpaid

stopped offering the service on its website, though existing customers can still buy the $15 recharge option until 1 November.

Customers with unused credit may be eligible for an automatic refund, which Virgin Mobile said would be issued within six weeks from 18 November.

Adobe warns users to patch against new exploit

The warning came after cyber security firm Kaspersky Lab said a group it was tracking, BlackOasis, used the previously unknown weakness on 10 October to plant malicious software on computers before connecting them back to servers in Switzerland, Bulgaria and the Netherlands.

Kaspersky said the malware, known as FinSpy or FinFisher, is a commercial product typically sold to nation states and law enforcement agencies to conduct surveillance.




THE Commonwealth Bank is warning customers not to respond to a text message which instructs them to log into their accounts via a link provided as part of a phishing scam.

The messages have reportedly been delivered to hundreds of the bank’s customers in a series of hoax emails and SMS’ circulating throughout Australia.

Recipients were advised to “log into your account center (sic) for verifiacation (sic)” by using a link included in the hoax messages.

CommBank responded to online queries regarding the text messages.

“Yes this is a phishing text, where the sender is trying to get information on your banking,” a CommBank statement read.

“Please forward this text to hoax@cba.com.au the Security team can take it from there.

“So long as you have not entered your information then your accounts will be safe.”

Earlier, the bank issued another statement which revealed it was “aware of a number of hoax emails and SMSs currently in circulation”.

“Remember, we’ll never send you anything that asks you to provide your NetBank client number, password, NetCode SMS, credit card details or send you an unexpected attachment,” it read.

The fake CommBank text comes after ANZ customers were being advised to take extra caution after the discovery of a very convincing scam.

The fake ANZ Bank email advised recipients that their ‘last payment was unsuccessful’ and prompts them to login, where cyber criminals can steal their credentials.

“The email, from a display name of ANZ internet Banking and sender email address of customer.data@anz.com, claims that ANZ have been unable to contact you, and asks customers to click to update their phone number,”.

“When recipients click through they arrive on a well-crafted ANZ internet Banking landing page where they are prompted to login, so doing handing over their Customer Registration Number (CRN) and Password.”  ANZ said customers should delete the email immediately and contact the helpdesk immediately if they have clicked on any links or downloaded any attachments, responded to the hoax email, SMS or phone call with your banking details or noticed any unusual payments.



BY OFFERING cheap access to a decent online content library, which includes its own original content, Netflix hopes to put an end to piracy once and for all.

Despite attracting more than 100 million customers worldwide, Netflix’s content is still prone to piracy with its own shows like House of Cards, Narcos and Orange is the New Black illegally streamed or downloaded millions of times.

The streaming giant has long been battling with pirates, having sent over a million take-down requests to Google alone.

But the company believes its efforts are not enough and is currently expanding its internal anti-piracy division by hiring a “Copyright and Content Protection Coordinator”.

Netflix’s listing describes the role as being responsible for the “tactical take down efforts with the goal of reducing online piracy to a socially unacceptable fringe activity”.

The company said the right candidate would have experience with anti-piracy initiatives and should be very well versed in managing an effective notice and take down program.

In addition to the sending of take down notifications and monitoring piracy trends in data, the role has a strong focus on going after Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Periscope, Google Search, DailyMotion and other platforms used to facilitate piracy.



IMAGINE you walk into a train station during the middle of a power outage. There is no ambient light so you are in total darkness, forced to navigate your way through the area.

How easily do you think you could cope? Would you know where your surroundings are? Would you be able to ask strangers for help?

This is the harsh reality visually impaired people face every single day, but an innovative new concept in Melbourne is looking to change this once and for all.

For the next eight months, Melbourne’s Southern Cross Station will be running a pilot program using existing beacon and GPS technology to connect to a navigation app on a blind person’s smartphone so they can be provided with audible directions in public spaces.

Having been severely visually impaired for over 20 years, Guide Dogs Victoria client David Foran said the Blindsquare app has given him more independence than he has ever felt before.

“It’s such a simple thing to do and a game changer because I can all of a sudden metaphorically see again,” Mr Foran told news.com.au.

He used the example of walking into your office building. You can see where the reception is located. You can see where the elevators and stairs are. You can see the exit.

For Mr Foran, the area is just a blank canvas that can only be slowly navigated by using guess work.

“There is not much in terms of assistance for blind people, sometimes we have to ask strangers to help us and finding someone who can actually be bothered is a challenge on its own,” he said.

“However, this technology will audibly say reception is 10 metres to the left, the stairs are 20 metres in front of you, the lifts are two metres to your right.

“This is really powerful and will allow me to find my way around in less time, which means less pre-planning and more confidence.”

Mr Foran said while the technology won’t completely replace guide dogs or white canes anytime soon, he thinks adding them shopping centres, libraries and other popular spaces would be empowering for people in his position.

“It’s the sort of thing that will make a city inclusive and will allow disabled people to be independent,” he said.

“I think once businesses realise they can increase customers by adding these beacons, they will also warm to the idea.”

General Manager Client & Guide Dog Services Dr Alistair Stott said this type of technology has already been rolled out in parts of Europe and New Zealand, and he expected the trial in Australia to gain real traction.

“Given the cost and maintenance of the beacons is very low and the app is free for users we don’t see why this couldn’t be rolled out nationally,” he said.

“The information is updated in real-time and will be available in 30 different languages.”






Multiple U.S. security consultants and other industry sources tell say customers are dropping their use of Kaspersky software all together, particularly in the financial sector, likely concerned that Russian spies can rummage through their files. Some security companies are being told to only provide U.S. products. And former Kaspersky employees describe the firm as reeling, with department closures and anticipation that researchers will jump ship soon. “We are under great pressure to only use American products no matter the technical or performance consequences,” said a source in a cybersecurity firm which uses Kaspersky’s anti-virus engine in its own services.


The world’s first floating offshore wind farm began delivering electricity to the Scottish grid today. “The 30MW installation, situated 25km (15.5mi) from Peterhead in Aberdeenshire, Scotland, will demonstrate that offshore wind energy can be harvested in deep waters, miles away from land, where installing giant turbines was once impractical or impossible,” “At peak capacity, the wind farm will produce enough electricity to power 20,000 Scottish homes.” From the report:The installation, called Hywind Scotland, is also interesting because it was built by Statoil, a Norwegian mega-corporation known for offshore oil drilling. Statoil has pursued offshore wind projects in recent years, using the company’s experience building and managing infrastructure in difficult open sea conditions to its advantage. Hywind Scotland began producing power in September, and today it starts delivering electricity to the Scottish grid. Now, all that’s left is for Statoil and its partner company Masdar to install a 1MWh lithium-ion battery, charmingly called “Batwind” on shore. Batwind will help the offshore system regulate power delivery and optimize output. After a number of small demonstration projects, the five 6MW turbines are the first commercial turbines to lack a firm attachment to the seafloor. They’re held in place using three giant suction anchors, which are commonly used in offshore oil drilling. Essentially, an enormous, empty, upside-down ‘bucket’ is placed on the seafloor, and air is sucked out of the bucket, which forces the bucket downward, further into the seafloor sediment.


Microsoft late last year announced a partnership with Qualcomm to bring the full Windows 10 experience to ARM-powered devices. Terry Myerson, Executive Vice President of Microsoft’s Windows and Devices Group, promised at the time that Snapdragon-powered Windows 10 devices would be efficient in the power consumption department. We’re still waiting for the partnership to bear fruit but in the interim, new details regarding efficiency (and a few other subjects) have emerged. With regard to battery life, Pete Bernard, Principal Group Program Manager for Connectivity Partners at Microsoft, said that to be frank, battery life at this point is beyond their expectations: “”We set a high bar for [our developers], and we’re now beyond that. It’s the kind of battery life where I use it on a daily basis. I don’t take my charger with me. I may charge it every couple of days or so. It’s that kind of battery life.”