Episode 577 – Aussie Tech Heads Shownotes

posted in: Show Notes

Five things to know a3bout Apple’s new 9.7-inch iPad

Apple Pencil

For the first time, Apple’s entry-level iPad will work with the Apple Pencil digital stylus. Apple said the new iPad would feature the same support for Apple Pencil as the higher end version of the tablet, the iPad Pro. The company also announced it would be building support for the Apple Pencil into new versions of the company’s productivity apps – Pages, Numbers and Keynote. Apple didn’t announce any updates for the Apple Pencil, which is sold separately for $149.


Another major move on the new iPad is the addition of Apple’s A10 Fusion processor. The inclusion of the chip will provide a 40-percent leap in CPU performance and a 50-percent boost in graphics speed over the previous entry-level iPad, which featured the A9 chip, according to Apple. The result should be “seamless multitasking” and capabilities for meeting the needs of graphics-intensive apps, the company said.

Other specs

Apple said the 9.7-inch screen on the new iPad would feature Apple’s popular Retina display technology. Meanwhile, thanks to an 8-megapixel camera and motion-tracking sensors such as an accelerometer and gyroscope, the new iPad is specially outfitted for use with augmented-reality apps. Other key features include 10 hours of battery life, fast wireless capabilities (up to 300 Mbps over LTE) and support for Touch ID fingerprint recognition for authentication.

Telstra turns on 5G-over-wifi for Gold Coast locals

Though there are no 5G compatible smartphones on the market, the telco said it would be using connectivity via its new 5G Innovation Centre to power a series of wi-fi hotspots around the suburb of Southport.


Telstra said by connecting 5G backhaul and infrastructure in the Southport Exchange to a standard wi-fi access point, people could use the tech on their existing devices. Telstra meanwhile will be evaluating the network.


The 5G hotspots will be open to anyone in their vicinity for free, with a download limit of 10GB per day, per device

Elon Musk pulls Tesla and SpaceX from Facebook

The #deletefacebook movement has grown after data firm Cambridge Analytica was accused of obtaining the personal information of about 50 million users.

Mr Musk had poked fun at speaker brand Sonos after it said it would suspend advertising on Facebook for one week.

His followers challenged him to have his own companies’ pages deleted, which he did within minutes.


Mr Musk said he “didn’t realise” that his SpaceX brand had a Facebook page. “Literally never seen it even once,” he wrote on Twitter. “Will be gone soon.”


The pages had more than 2.5 million followers each before they were deactivated.

In 2016, Facebook used SpaceX to launch a new communications satellite valued at more than $200m (£150m).

However, the rocket exploded on the launch pad and destroyed the satellite.


After blew up he tweeted Yeah, my fault for being an idiot. We did give them a free launch to make up for it and I think they had some insurance.”

Microsoft to finally retire Windows 10 1511 in two weeks


2015 version of Windows 10, marking 29 months of support


Windows 10 1511 will receive a final set of security patches on April 10.


Also destined for an April 10 retirement party is Windows 10 1607, the mid-2016 feature upgrade that will receive its last security patches that day on Windows 10 Home and Windows 10 Pro

New Android Cryptojacker Can Brick Phones


Researchers at Trend Micro recently discovered ANDROIDOS_HIDDENMINER, a piece of malware that embeds itself in an Android device, obfuscates its presence, and proceeds to use the device CPU to mine Monero, a cryptocurrency that has gained favor with criminals because of its anonymous, untraceable nature.


ANDROIDOS_HIDDENMINER is far from benign. The demands that cryptocurrency mining places on a CPU are so great that the CPU can overheat causing the device to lock, fail, and be permanently damaged. Similar malware such as Laopi has been known to cause heat-related battery swelling to the point that the phone case actually bubbled and buckled, according to one report.


ANDROIDOS_HIDDENMINER is currently being delivered through a fake Google Play update app. So far, it has been available to users in China and India, though the Trend Micro researchers note  that there’s no technical reason that the malware couldn’t enter other markets, and that they fully expect to see spread to other geographies in the future.

As for protection from the malware, in addition to anti-malware software on the device the researchers have recommendations that are basic, good, mobile device hygiene, including download “only from official app marketplaces,

780 Days in the Life of a Computer Worm

This is a story of a worm, from the time it was coded and deployed onto the Internet. It is narrated by the worm in the first person.


Zero Day

According to Abe, my programmer, I am a worm. He named me Libby, after Kate Libby from the movie Hackers. His previous projects have been named Ginger, Trinity, and Angela.

Day 1

Abe is gleeful at the prospect of unleashing me on the world. I have to scan all the devices I come across on my journeys. Whenever I find a machine running a Windows version prior to Windows 8, I must connect via a vulnerable anonymous login and null session, then use the null session to send commands to Abe’s master server, which downloads a payload.

It sounds quite boring.


Day 779

Earlier today, I was deep scanning an unusual device. It turns out that it was under the protection of some kind of unified threat detection platform that orchestrated responses and quarantined me into a sandbox. I am in cyber hell and unable to continue my journey.

I heard one of the researchers say they’ll share my traits as IoCs on OTX.

Day 780



Uber brings carpool service to Australia

Uber will bring its long-awaited carpooling service to Australia next week, offering passengers the opportunity to share the cost of rides.


The rideshare company will begin offering its UberPool service in a Sydney test zone – spanning Watsons Bay to Leichardt – on Tuesday April 3, before expanding to other suburbs and other cities.


UberPool will allow customers to share their ride with other passengers by matching riders heading in the same direction.


Unlike the door-to-door service offered by UberX, the carpooling service will require passengers to walk a short distance to and from pick-up and drop-off points.


The service was first introduced in the US in August 2014, and has since expanded to other global markets, including Singapore and selected cities in France and Malaysia




Last August, a TCL executive confirmed that the company was gearing up to launch Palm-branded smartphones in 2018. Speaking to a trusted source, we’ve learned that one such device will be launching on Verizon in the second half of the year; at least, that’s the plan for now. Sadly, we don’t know anything about the phone itself at this time (well, we know it runs Android), but the fact that TCL is working with Verizon is telling. The carrier was a longtime Palm partner, selling most of the brand’s webOS handsets all the way through the Pre 2. Verizon had intended to carry the ill-fated Pre 3, but the phone was cancelled by Palm’s then-buyer HP before it could be released in the US.



Boeing was hit Wednesday by the WannaCry computer virus, and after an initial scare within the company that vital airplane-production equipment might be brought down, company executives later offered assurances that the attack had been quashed with minimal damage.

Though news of the attack triggered widespread alarm within the company and among airline customers during the day, by evening Boeing was calling for calm.

“We’ve done a final assessment,” said Linda Mills, the head of communications for Boeing Commercial Airplanes. “The vulnerability was limited to a few machines. We deployed software patches. There was no interruption to the 777 jet program or any of our programs.”

Earlier in the day, when the cyberattack struck, the reaction was anything but calm.

Mike VanderWel, chief engineer at Boeing Commercial Airplane production engineering, sent out an alarming alert about the virus calling for “All hands on deck.”

“It is metastasizing rapidly out of North Charleston and I just heard 777 (automated spar assembly tools) may have gone down,” VanderWel wrote, adding his concern that the virus could hit equipment used in functional tests of airplanes ready to roll out and potentially “spread to airplane software.”

VanderWel’s message said the attack required “a battery-like response,” a reference to the 787 in-flight battery fires in 2013 that grounded the world’s fleet of Dreamliners and led to an extraordinary three-month-long engineering effort to find a fix.



Microsoft’s January and February security fixes for Intel’s Meltdown processor vulnerability opened up an even worse security hole on Windows 7 PCs and Server 2008 R2 boxes.

This is according to researcher Ulf Frisk, who previously found glaring shortcomings in Apple’s FileVault disk encryption system.

We’re told Redmond’s early Meltdown fixes for 64-bit Windows 7 and Server 2008 R2 left a crucial kernel memory table readable and writable for normal user processes. This, in turn, means any malware on those vulnerable machines, or any logged-in user, can manipulate the operating system’s memory map, gain administrator-level privileges, and extract and modify any information in RAM.


Fingers crossed your system isn’t among those that will suffer networking woes caused by the March security patches. Microsoft’s security updates this month broke static IP address and vNIC settings on select installations, knocking unlucky virtual machines, servers, and clients offline.



Microsoft has released a tool to help Linux distribution maintainers bring their distros to the Windows Store to run on Windows 10’s Windows Subsystem for Linux.


Microsoft describes the tool as a “reference implementation for a Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL) distribution installer application”, which is aimed at both distribution maintainers and developers who want to create custom Linux distributions for running on WSL.


“We know that many Linux distros rely entirely on open-source software, so we would like to bring WSL closer to the OSS community,” said Tara Raj of Microsoft’s WSL team.


“We hope open-sourcing this project will help increase community engagement and bring more of your favorite distros to the Microsoft Store.”


WSL helps programmers build a full Linux development environment for testing production code on a Windows machine. It allows them to run Linux shell tools and popular open-source programming languages, as well as Apache web server and Oracle MySQL.


As of the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update, anyone can use WSL to install and run several Linux distributions’ command-line interface tools.


Better watch out if you are playing Xbox, get ticked, and cuss. Microsoft might ban you for the “offensive language.” If they do, then say bye-bye to your Xbox Gold Membership and any Microsoft account balances.

Or if you and a significant other are getting hot and heavy via Skype, you better watch your language and any nudity because that, too, can get you banned. The ban hammer could also fall if Cortana is listening at the wrong moment or if documents and files hosted on Microsoft services violate Microsoft’s amended terms.

The changes are part of the new Microsoft Terms of Services agreement that go into effect on May 1 and cover a plethora of Microsoft services.



Google could owe Oracle Corp. billions of dollars for using Oracle-owned Java programming code in its Android operating system on mobile devices, an appeals court said, as the years-long feud between the two software giants draws near a close.


Google’s use of Java shortcuts to develop Android went too far and was a violation of Oracle’s copyrights, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit ruled Tuesday. The case — first filed in 2010 — was remanded to a federal court in California to determine how much the Alphabet Inc. unit should pay. Oracle had been seeking $8.8 billion, though that number could grow. Google expressed disappointment and said it’s considering its next steps in the case.


The dispute, which could have far-reaching implications for the entire software industry, has divided Silicon Valley for years between those who develop the code that makes software steps function and those who develop software programs and say their “fair use” of the code is an exception to copyright law.


“It’s a momentous decision on the issue of fair use,” lawyer Mark Schonfeld of Burns & Levinson in Boston, who’s been following the case and isn’t involved. “It is very, very important for the software industry. I think it’s going to go to the Supreme Court because the Federal Circuit has made a very controversial decision.”