Episode 556 – Aussie Tech Heads Shownotes

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Online reseller MSY Technology fined $750,000 for misrepresenting customer guarantees

ACCC) took the company to court late last year, claiming MSY breached the Australian Consumer Law (ACL) by misrepresenting consumers’ rights to repairs, replacements, or refunds when they purchased faulty products.

The ACCC accused MSY of a litany of offences: that it had discretion over whether a customer was entitled to a remedy for a faulty product; that it chose which remedy it would provide to customers; that it only provided remedies for products returned within seven days; that MSY may have required the customer to pay an administration fee to receive a remedy for a faulty product that was out of warranty; and that it did not provide any remedies over faulty software.

This is the second time the ACCC has taken action against MSY entities. The court imposed penalties in 2011for misleading consumer warranty representations.”

 

New malware ‘BadRabbit’ strain attacks hit Russia, other nations

Cyber attacks using malware called “BadRabbit” hit Russia and other nations on Tuesday, affecting Russian Interfax news agency and causing flight delays at Ukraine’s Odessa airport.

attackers quickly infected critical infrastructure, including transportation operators, indicating it was a “well-coordinated” campaign, said Robert Lipovsky, a researcher with cyber firm ESET.

Kaspersky Lab said BadRabbit appeared to spread through a mechanism similar to June’s destructive NotPetya virus

Kaspersky said it was investigating to see whether BadRabbit was related to NotPetya.

Kaspersky Lab to submit software for third-party review

Kaspersky, which research firm Gartner ranks as one of the world’s top cyber security vendors for consumers, said in a statement that it would submit the source code of its software and future product updates for review by a broad cross-section of computer security experts and government officials.

It also vowed to have outside parties review other aspects of its business, including software development. Reviews of its software, which is used on some 400 million computers worldwide, will begin by the first quarter of next year, it said.

Donald Trump’s administration last month barred government agencies from using Kaspersky Lab anti-virus products.

Amaysim launches online devices store, reveals

claims that customers can get up to $200 in savings on devices such as Apple’s iPhone 8 and Samsung’s Galaxy Note 8 compared to other stores, and will have a 10 percent launch discount that will be active until 31 October.

 

Amaysim will introduce a no lock-in financing option at an unspecified date that will not be linked to customers’ phone plans, allowing users to change providers at any time without having to pay out the leftover balance in a lump sum.

 

The store will also offer more products in the future as part of its intention to become a “true” online tech store, adding product categories such as laptops, drones, personal audio, gaming, VR and related accessories.

 

Apple hints at Mac Mini comeback

A MacRumours reader, who goes by the name Krar, took matters into his own hands and emailed Cook, expressing his love for the device and asking if any updates are in its future.

Perhaps surprisingly, Cook responded saying that although it is not necessarily the time to reveal any details, “we do plan for Mac mini to be an important part of our product line going forward”.

The Mac Mini is still the most affordable desktop machine in Apple’s line up, mostly because it does not come with a mouse, keyboard, or display. While very outdated, the device is still on sale at the Apple Store.

it is unlikely that a new Mac Mini model will be launched until 2018 at the earliest, according to MacRumours.

IBM and Australian Open cut ties after two decades

The IBM logo – which no longer appears on the 2018 Australian Open website – has been a fixture at major tennis tournaments, in particular on the courtside service speed display.

IBM provides a range of technology services to Tennis Australia, including web hosting and IT services as well as functionality for fans, such as iOS and Android mobile apps

Neither confirmed which party pulled the deal, though a number of well-placed sources suggested IBM made a strategic decision to withdraw from the Australian Open, which cost millions of dollars each year in sponsorship fees as well as “value in kind” services

t is understood that IBM typically sent dozens of IT engineers to Melbourne each year to support the tournament. Big Blue also provided a footprint in its North Carolina data centre, as well as a redundant facility

IBM first partnered with the Australian Open in 1993

  • the launch of the ‘speed serve system’ in 1993
  • data analytics and social media sentiment analysis
  • highly trafficked website, which surges during the two-week tournament. The site provides players, officials, media and fans with updates, scoring, the ability to watch videos, check timetables and engage with the tournament.
  • cloud provisioning technology to scale and manage the computing capacity for the site, which received more than 17 million unique visitors in 2015.
  • The SlamTracker data visualisation feature

Porn-makers challenge Patreon’s crowdfunding ban

 

The crowdfunding service updated its rules last week to explicitly ban the sale of pornographic content and provision of sexual services.

 

the firm has been accused of betraying some of its members who say their activity is not illegal.

Dozens of adult content creators have signed an open letter to Patreon challenging restrictions it has placed on the creation of pornography

We know people who would be homeless if it wasn’t for making porn on Patreon – and it’s not a small number,” the letter states.

on 17 October, the site’s legal chief said he had become concerned that “a small number of creators” were involved in the creation of what he termedfringe adult content.

KFC Only Follows 11 People on Twitter, and It’s Genius

guy who goes by the Twitter handle @edgette22

“@KFC follows 11 people,” he tweeted Thursday, before going on to detail exactly who those 11 are: “5 Spice Girls and 6 guys named Herb.” A quick glance on the KFC account confirms the findings, showing the accounts for Mel B, Victoria Beckham, and their former bandmates, as well as those for the half-dozen Herbs

 

JASON

http://www.news.com.au/technology/online/nbn/nbn-boss-signals-new-pricing-plans-for-home-broadband-by-christmas/news-story/0805651225f984f5ffe671eec31f0cd6

WE CAN expect faster broadband plans in time for Christmas, says the man in charge of rolling out the country’s national broadband network.

It’s been a busy week for NBN chief executive Bill Morrow. After going on a media blitz to coincide with the ABC’s Four Corners program which reported on problems with the NBN, Mr Morrow spent Tuesday night getting grilled by politicians at Senate estimates.

The NBN boss faced questions on the so-called digital divide in Australia between those with superior fibre connections to the home and Australians being serviced by copper along the final length of the connection. He refuted the notion that the multi technology mix NBN created a digital divide, saying it was an insult to those still waiting for fast broadband to arrive.

He also fielded questions on the threat of 5G mobile broadband to the NBN and the troublesome pricing structure of the wholesale network which the ISPs complain is too expensive.

The NBN charges retailers like Telstra, TPG and Aussie Broadband an access fee as well as a network capacity charge for the amount of bandwidth they want to provision for their customers, called the Connectivity Virtual Circuit (CVC) fee. When ISPs skimp on this, it cause problems for the end user.

When asked about the current pricing review under way by NBN Co, Mr Morrow said he expects to have better value broadband plan offerings by the end of the year.

“We are hoping that we can put something (to the) public by the end of the year … there will be an announcement before Christmas, I promise you that,” Mr Morrow told a Labor senator.

“If we can do something to say how about we have a far more attractive price that gives you a 50mb speed product, and we have some inclusive CVC that comes with that, and an attractive growth rate thereafter, now we are talking,” he said.

In order to break even, the NBN needs to collect about $52 per month from retail service providers per connection, Mr Morrow has previously said. Currently they are collecting about $43.

The NBN boss also defended the decision to pay out $109 million in bonuses to company staff despite complaints about the network rising considerably in the past year.

Mr Morrow was paid $3.6 million in the past financial year, but said he took a seven per cent cut to his bonus for the period.

“There is a customer experience measure that determines a certain level of the bonus system and how its paid out,” he said. “The board chose not to pay out on that measure because that could have been better.”

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https://tech.slashdot.org/story/17/10/25/1724208/honolulu-now-fines-people-up-to-99-for-texting-while-crossing-road

The Hawaiian city of Honolulu has resorted to fining people up to $99 for staring at the devices, to try and force people to look up from their phones while crossing the road. The new law gives police the power to fine people up to $35 for their first offence, $75 for their second and $99 thereafter, perhaps expecting it to take quite some effort to get people to take notice. The bill, which comes into force today after being rubber stamped by the Hawaiian city’s mayor in July, states that “no pedestrian shall cross a street or highway while viewing a mobile electronic device.” Mobile phones are included as well as any “text messaging device, paging device, personal digital assistant, laptop computer, video game, or digital photographic device” but audio equipment is excluded. Holding a conversation on a phone while walking is still permitted, as is using a device in an emergency, but crossing the road while texting, reading or Facebooking — as millions around the world do every day — is not. ======

https://tech.slashdot.org/story/17/10/21/216211/amazon-patents-drones-that-recharge-electric-vehicles

Amazon has been granted a patent for an ambitious new method of maintaining a charge in electric vehicles. The company wants to use drones to allow drivers to top up their vehicles without having to visit a charging station. Drivers would request a top up from a central server, which would dispatch a charging drone to their location. The drone would then dock with the vehicle and start transferring power, without the car ever needing to come to a stop. This solution isn’t meant to administer a full charge to the car’s battery, it would only supply enough power to get the driver to a charging station, which are still in somewhat limited supply.

“Amazon first applied for this patent back in June 2014,” reports CNET, noting it was finally granted this month. “Like many other patents, there’s no guarantee that Amazon will actually create a product based on the design. It could merely be an attempt to stop competitors from doing so.”

https://it.slashdot.org/story/17/10/21/1826227/2-million-iot-devices-enslaved-by-fast-growing-botnet

Since mid-September, a new IoT botnet has grown to massive proportions. Codenamed IoT_reaper, researchers estimate its current size at nearly two million infected devices. According to researchers, the botnet is mainly made up of IP-based security cameras, routers, network-attached storage (NAS) devices, network video recorders (NVRs), and digital video recorders (DVRs), primarily from vendors such as Netgear, D-Link, Linksys, GoAhead, JAWS, Vacron, AVTECH, MicroTik, TP-Link, and Synology.

 

The botnet reuses some Mirai source code, but it’s unique in its own right. Unlike Mirai, which relied on scanning for devices with weak or default passwords, this botnet was put together using exploits for unpatched vulnerabilities. The botnet’s author is still struggling to control his botnet, as researchers spotted over two million infected devices sitting in the botnet’s C&C servers’ queue, waiting to be processed. As of now, the botnet has not been used in live DDoS attacks, but the capability is in there.

Today is the one-year anniversary of the Dyn DDoS attack, the article points out, adding that “This week both the FBI and Europol warned about the dangers of leaving Internet of Things devices exposed online.”

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https://it.slashdot.org/story/17/10/21/1653229/google-offers-1000-bounties-for-hacking-dropbox-tinder-snapchat-and-others

Google, in collaboration with bug bounty platform HackerOne, has launched the Google Play Security Reward Program, which promises $1,000 to anyone who can identify security vulnerabilities in participating Google Play apps. Thirteen apps are currently participating, including Tinder, Duolingo, Dropbox, Snapchat, and Headspace… If you find a security vulnerability in one of the participating apps, you can report that vulnerability to the developer, and work with them to fix it. When the problem has been resolved, the Android Security team will pay you $1,000 as a reward, on top of any reward you get from the app developer. Google will be collecting data on the vulnerabilities and sharing it (anonymized) with other developers who may be exposed to the same problems. For HackerOne, it’s about attracting more and better participants in bounty programs.

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