Episode 590 – Aussie Tech Heads Shownotes

posted in: Show Notes

Thousands of Android devices hit with ad-clicking bot malware

The scam’s, which was uncovered by RiskIQ, initial introduction to a device starts with a pop-up ad telling the device owner that the battery may be having issues and running down too quickly. The malware is able to determine the brand and model of the device by parsing the user-agent server-side and embedding the processed brand and model information in the script that renders the pop-up.

The ad offers to solve this problem by connecting the user with a power saver app.


malware has the ability to control their phone, the user also has a small ad-clicking backdoor installed.

“While it may seem benign, the ad-clicker also steals information from the phone, including IMEI, phone numbers, phone type/brand/model, location, and more,” RiskIQ said.

The device then is registered with a command and control server and starts to look for ad-clicking assignments which will generate income for the malware’s creators. The ad-clicking bot runs in the background and does not use much power.

ACMA rules that telcos must roll back customer internet if there are NBN delays

Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA)


The new Service Continuity Standard will require that carrier service providers (CSPs) and NBN Co do not disconnect existing broadband services for customers until a new NBN service is working and has been tested.


CSPs must provide a legacy service or replacement service to customers within three working days in most scenarios if the migration is unlikely to be completed by then. The time limit is extended to five working days for urban areas and 10 days for rural areas.

If the CSP did not supply the previous service, they will have 15 working days to connect a legacy service.


ACMA chair Nerida O’Loughlin said 16 percent of households were left without internet or a phone service for more than a week when moving their services to the NBN


ACMA said it would announce further rules that will require telcos to undertake line testing by the end of July

BBC releases computer history archive



A slice of computing history has been made public, giving people the opportunity to delve into an archive that inspired a generation of coders.

The Computer Literacy Project led to the introduction of the BBC Micro alongside programmes which introduced viewers to the principles of computing.

It included interviews with innovators such as Bill Gates and Steve Wozniak.

The BBC hopes the 1980s archive will encourage today’s youngsters to become involved in computing.

With the release of the archive, viewers can now search and browse all of the programmes from the project.

They will be able to:


  • watch any of the 267 programmes
  • explore clips by topic or text search
  • run 166 BBC Micro programmes that were used on-screen
  • find out the history of the Computer Literacy Project


The man who was fired by a machine


The story of Mr Diallo’s sacking by machine began when his entry pass to the Los Angeles skyscraper where his office was based failed to work, forcing him to rely on the security guard to allow him entry.

“As soon as I got to my floor, I went to see my manager to let her know. She promised to order me a new one right away.”


Then he noticed that he was logged out of his work system and a colleague told Mr Diallo that the word “Inactive” was listed alongside his name.

His day got worse. After lunch – and a 10-minute wait for a co-worker to let him back into his office – he was told by his recruiter that she had received an email saying his contract was terminated. She promised to sort out the problem.

The next day he had been locked out of every single system “except my Linux machine” and then, after lunch, two people appeared at his desk. Mr Diallo was told that an email had been received telling them to escort him from the building.


At the time, he was eight months into a three-year contract and over the next three weeks he was copied into emails about his case.

“I watched it be escalated to bigger and more powerful titles over and over, yet no-one could do anything about it. From time-to-time, they would attach a system email.

“It was soulless and written in red as it gave orders that dictated my fate. Disable this, disable that, revoke access here, revoke access there, escort out of premises, etc.


It took Mr Diallo’s bosses three weeks to find out why he had been sacked. His firm was going through changes, both in terms of the systems it used and the people it employed.

His original manager had been recently laid off and sent to work from home for the rest of his time at the firm and in that period he had not renewed Mr Diallo’s contract in the new system.


After that, machines took over – flagging him as an ex-employee.

“All the necessary orders are sent automatically and each order completion triggers another order. For example, when the order for disabling my key card is sent, there is no way of it to be re-enabled.

“Once it is disabled, an email is sent to security about recently dismissed employees. Scanning the key card is a red flag. The order to disable my Windows account is also sent. There is also one for my Jira account. And on and on.”


He decided to move to another job.

Internet is losing its memory: Cerf


Speaking in Sydney on Wednesday, Cerf issued a blunt call to action that a digital preservation regime for content and code – especially on the web – must be quickly put in place to counter a throwaway culture that will deny future generations an essential window into life in the past.

“We have a big problem. I call it the digital dark age


The internet’s big pitfall, as Cerf sees it, is that as technology evolves and changes, everything from photos to documents, records, applications and social media could cease to be functional in as little as a decade, as old formats and standards are superseded.

It’s not so much the end of history – rather its that the file format is no longer supported and no one bothered to keep a back-up. But there is a recovery plan.


Think of all the papers we read now, especially academic papers that have url references. Think about what happens 10, 20, 50 years from now when those don’t resolve anymore because the domain names were abandoned or someone forgot to pay the rent.”


Enter Archimedes of Syracuse of mathematical fame from ancient Greece.

“Archimedes wrote some things about count computation [around] 300BC. These were lost. A good friend of mine purchased the palimpsest and went through a huge amount of trouble to get the Greek out of [the vellum which] had been erased,” Cerf said

Drawing his fingers closer together to illustrate, Cerf said that “Archemides was this far away from the calculus. He was talking about infinitesimals in the same way that [Isaac] Newton did in the 1600s.”

The loss was that around 2000 years passed before Archimedes’ calculus was rediscovered.


NBN Co’s top user downloads 23.6TB a month





  • NBN Co has revealed that the top user on its network is pulling down 23.6 terabytes of data a month.
  • The figures show that the top 14 percent of users on the NBN are driving half of all traffic downloads on the network and that just six percent of users are responsible for half of all uplink traffic.
  • The Top Uplink is – uploading 14 terabytes of data a month.
  • The average user uploads about 17.5GB of data and the Median uplink usager is a shade under 7GB a month.
  • NBN Co’s numbers showed that the network starts to get busy at about 7am each day, maintaining those traffic levels until school finishes and kids arrive home.
  • It then starts to spike into the peak period of 7pm to 11pm, but doesn’t properly start to tail off until after 1am.





IoT-enabled cows

Aussie startup develops implantable monitor.



  • Sydney-based startup Livestock Labs has developed an implantable monitor for cattle designed to collect and transmit a range of biometric data to enable farmers to better manage their herds.
  • The product, EmbediVet, will notify a farmer when a cow is on heat, when it is stressed, and even provide the farmer with information on the quality of meat produced when the cow is slaughtered, according to Livestock Labs.
  • Implanted under the chin using local anaesthetic, the trackers will transmit data such as consumption of food and water, number of steps taken and health indicators like temperature and changes in heart rate. This could allow producers to remotely monitor and detect early the onset of illness, distress or labour,” it says.
  • This data will be managed through a smartphone app with built in alerts. Other potential uses for the tracker extend to traceability, genetic feedback and identification.


Smart locks, lights and speakers are the latest weapons of domestic abuse





  • People who called into the help hotlines and domestic violence shelters said they felt as if they were going crazy.
  • One woman had turned on her air-conditioner but said it then switched off without her touching it. Another said the code numbers of the digital lock at her front door changed every day and she could not figure out why. Still another told an abuse help line she kept hearing the doorbell ring, but no one was there.
  • These stories are part of a new pattern of behaviour in domestic abuse cases and is tied to the rise of smart home technology.
  • Internet-connected locks, speakers, thermostats, lights and cameras marketed as the newest conveniences are now also being used as a means for harassment, monitoring, revenge and control.
  • Abusers — using apps on their smartphones, which are connected to the internet-enabled devices — would remotely control everyday objects in the home, sometimes to watch and listen, other times to scare or show power. Even after a partner had left the home, the devices often stayed and continued to be used to intimidate and confuse.
  • when people get restraining orders, they need to ask the judge to include all smart home device accounts known and unknown to victims. Many people do not know how to ask about this yet, But even if people get restraining orders, remotely changing the temperature in a house or suddenly turning on the TV or lights may not contravene a no-contact order.