Episode 586 – Aussie Tech Heads Shownotes

posted in: Show Notes


Amazon to block Australian shoppers from its US website

From July 1 when the new GST regulations begin, Australian consumers shopping on Amazon international sites will be redirected to the local Australian site.

In a statement issued to the ABC, Amazon said it regretted the move and the inconvenience to customers accustomed to visiting Amazon’s global online stores.

Currently GST is applied to items bought overseas for more than $1,000.

Microsoft is now more valuable than Google

Valued at US$753 billion (A$994 billion), Microsoft sits just ahead of Alphabet’s US$739 billion (A$975 billion) valuation. Microsoft and Google have been trading places on the rankings since Google first surpassed the company in 2012. However, with this decisive gain, it shows that Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella has really managed to change the company’s image and turn its fortunes around.


By focusing Microsoft into product categories like AI and cloud computing, while simultaneously axing failing divisions like the Windows Phone, Microsoft has successfully modernised. The latest ranking shift just goes to show these rather drastic methods of moving away from Windows as its core product have clearly worked.

Microsoft is also hot on the heels of Amazon, the second largest company in the world – sitting at US$782 billion (A$1.032 trillion). At the top of the pack is Apple – which, with a market valuation of US$923 billion (A$1.218 billion), isn’t going anywhere soon. Interestingly, though, Microsoft arguably has a larger portfolio than Apple and that could well be used to its advantage.

Virgin Mobile stores will be gone in a month

Virgin Mobile’s retail stores will start closing their doors as early as next week, with all 36 locations expected to shut for good by the end of June.

Microsoft brags as Edge beats Chrome in battery life in Microsoft video

Comparing Firefox, Edge and Chrome on three separate Microsoft Surface Books streaming continuous video, the software vendor’s Edge lasts 14 hours and 20 minutes, beating out Google’s Chrome browser, which entered sleep mode at 12 hours and 33 minutes, and Firefox, which lasted seven hours and 15 minutes.

“This experiment showed that battery life on a PC running Microsoft Edge lasts 98 percent longer than Mozilla Firefox and 14 percent longer than Google Chrome,” commentary on the video stated.


FBI warns “hundreds of thousands” of routers hacked by Russians

The FBI warned on Friday that Russian computer hackers had compromised hundreds of thousands of home and office routers and could collect user information or shut down network traffic.

The US law enforcement agency urged the owners of many brands of routers to turn them off and on again and download updates from the manufacturer to protect themselves.


t said the malware is hard to detect, due to encryption and other tactics.

The FBI urged people to reboot their devices to temporarily disrupt the malware and help identify infected devices.

People should also consider disabling remote-management settings, changing passwords and upgrading to the latest firmware.


Google Chrome 68 introduces HTTPS as the new security must-have

Google’s objective is to ensure internet users can easily recognize whether sites are safe or not, the Not Secure warning will be prominently displayed on sites without HTTPS secure connection.

In an effort to drive the world toward a more secure global internet, Google Chrome began marking all HTTP web pages with forms as insecure last year, as well as HTTP sites opened through an incognito window.

Google estimates the release of Google Chrome 68 sometime at the beginning of July 2018. Once they make the jump, other browsers will likely begin to follow.


Further inspection will reveal a warning to the user that they should refrain from entering any personal information into your site for risk of attackers stealing their data. In fact, the lack of an SSL certificate on your site has always left your site vulnerable to content injection, such as a visitor’s ISP injecting ads and malware into your site.

School shooting game Active Shooter pulled by Steam


A game pitched as a “school shooting simulation” has been ditched from Steam’s online store ahead of release.


The title had been criticised by parents of real-life school shooting victims, and an online petition opposing its launch had attracted more than 180,000 signatures.


Steam’s owner, Valve, said it had dropped the game because its developer had a history of bad behaviour.


Valve subsequently emailed the media to say it had taken action ahead of Active Shooter’s scheduled 6 June release.



Blue Note audio attack corrupts hard drives

University of Michigan and Zhejiang University reserchers described how the “Blue Note” [pdf] attack could use acoustic interference to cause hard drive heads and magnetic storage platters to vibrate, which in turn generates data corruption and operating system reboots.

Audio signals in the 5 kHz range were able to distort hard drive platters at 70dB strength on the devices, the experiments showed.

With inaudible ultrasound, the researchers were able to trick the shock sensor into retracting the read and write head on drives into parked position, which is done for protection against drops of storage devices.

In some cases, the researchers were able to co-opt the built in speakers in desktop and laptop computers for the audio attacks.

No special equipment is needed to generate the damaging sounds,

Two years ago, ING Bank in Bucharest, Romania, tested a data centre Inergen fire suppression system which caused loud noise and vibrations, damaging disks in the facility.

ING suffered a ten-hour service outage thanks to the test gone awry, and had to bring in an additional 70 staff to recover systems.

To mitigate against audio attacks, the researchers modelled a feedback controller that can be deployed via firmware updates to hard drives.



THE Kodi crackdown continues, as sellers of illegal third-party boxes have been dealt a hammer blow mainly with (Amazon and eBay )

Kodi – which offers access to thousands of channels – is being used in millions of homes worldwide.

The software is not illegal, but developers can produce third-party add-ons that provide free access to pirated and illegal content.

The apps and add-ons allow people to stream premium content, like paid sports channels, movie channels and even TV shows for free

The illegal add-ons are being targeted by ISPs, government agencies, broadcasters and rights holders.

Some rogue set‐top box manufacturers and distributors are exploiting the FCC’s trusted logo by fraudulently placing it on devices that have not been approved via the Commission’s equipment authorisation process.”

Amazon and eBay have taken steps to reduce sales of pirate boxes on the grounds of copyright infringement.

However, he added: “Unfortunately, despite your good work in this area, devices continue to make it to consumers through your website.


1 minute video saying that not only the sellers , but also the users  are now being contacted in regards to copyright infringement and in some cases a 10 year jail sentence can be given for repeat offenders.


You Should Reboot your router like the FBI says.

Last week, the FBI recommended rebooting home and small office routers that could have been infected with Black Energy malware, allegedly by sophisticated state-backed Russian hackers. estimate the number of infected devices to be at least 500,000 in at least 54 countries.

But even the FBI acknowledges this step will only “temporarily disrupt” the malware. Here are some questions and answers about the situation:

Q: How can I tell if my router is infected?

A: Well …You probably can’t. Routers aren’t very consumer-friendly things , but most people lack the ability to get deep enough inside the device to tell if it’s infected.

Q: If my router was infected and I reboot, is it then safe?

A: No not necessarily. Turning an infected router off and on again only removes some of the malware — such as elements that could snoop on your internet activity or even overwrite the basic code on your router, thus “bricking” it. But the core infection persists on reboot and there’s no simple way to delete it.

The good news is that last week, the FBI seized and took over the command-and-control of a server and website that sends instructions to all the infected routers, disrupting network that could possibly be used to mount a series of internet attacks. The bad news is that the persistent malware is still in listening mode, awaiting instructions if another is setup.

(Maybe a fix with a firmware update from the manufacturer.)

Q: Do you know which devices are affected?

A: Cisco identified these companies as makers of affected devices: Linksys, Mikrotik, Netgear, TP-Link and QNAP (NAS) devices. It said most of the infected routers are in Ukraine. These type of devices are targeted and are difficult to defend against. They are frequently on the perimeter of networks, with no intrusion protection system (IPS) in place, and typically do not have an available host-based protection system such as an anti-virus (AV) package.


Amazon to block its US website from Aussie shoppers over new GST rules

Australians will be blocked from shopping on Amazon’s international websites and will be restricted to using its smaller local platform in Australia so the e-commerce giant complies with new GST rules on online purchases.

Amazon said on its American website, and other overseas websites that it would no longer ship to Australian addresses from July 1.

Shoppers visiting those websites will be redirected back to Amazon.com.au, so they can then charge the 10 per cent GST to all online purchases that are being shipped to Australia from overseas.

Online trader eBay has also been threatened to block foreign sellers if the tax changes went ahead. Fairfax Media has asked the marketplace platform if it intends to follow Amazon’s lead.

Amazon said delivery companies such as Australia Post, DHL and FedEx should be responsible for collecting the tax instead of vendors such as itself and eBay.

The government doesn’t apologies for ensuring multinationals companies pay a fair amount of tax here in Australia, they say that a level playing field will help Australian businesses grow and create more jobs and opportunities.”