Episode 596 – Aussie Tech Heads Shownotes

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It’s a big day for Google, and Android today with the announcement of Android 9 being released as well as naming the version: Android Pie. As well as naming the latest version of Android after a tasty treat, Google has also unveiled the latest Android lawn statue at the Google plex. The unveiling was fittingly planned for 3:14pm – you know, Pi, the approximate value of the ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter (about 3.141592..) – in front of the Googleplex where the statue denoting the current version of Android is placed before being moved either in front of building 44 (where the Android team is based) or down in front of the Google Merchandise store on Landings Drive.

A recently discovered flaw in WhatsApp could allow hackers to modify and send fake messages). Researchers at the Israeli cybersecurity firm Check Point said the vulnerability gives a hacker the possibility “to intercept and manipulate messages sent by those in a group or private conversation” as well as “create and spread misinformation.” The New York Times reports:

WhatsApp acknowledged that it was possible for someone to manipulate the quote feature, but the company disagreed that it was a flaw. WhatsApp said the system was working as it had intended, because the trade-offs to prevent such a deception by verifying every message on the platform would create an enormous privacy risk or bog down the service. The company said it worked to find and remove anyone using a fake WhatsApp application to spoof the service. “We carefully reviewed this issue and it’s the equivalent of altering an email,” Carl Woog, a spokesman for WhatsApp, said in a statement. What Check Point discovered had nothing to do with the security of WhatsApp’s so-called end-to-end encryption, which ensures only the sender and recipient can read messages, he said.

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A new company called Audius, lead by entrepreneur and DJ Ranidu Lankage, has raised $5.5 million to build a blockchain-based alternative to Spotify or SoundCloud. “Users will pay for Audius tokens or earn them by listening to ads,” reports TechCrunch. “Their wallet will then pay out a fraction of a cent per song to stream from decentralized storage across the network, with artists receiving roughly 85 percent — compared to roughly 70 percent on the leading streaming apps. The rest goes to compensating whomever is hosting that song, as well as developers of listening software clients, one of which will be built by Audius.” From the report:

Audius plans to launch its open-sourced product in beta later this year. But it’s already found some powerful investors that see SoundCloud as vulnerable to the cryptocurrency revolution. Audius has raised a $5.5 million Series A led by General Catalyst and Lightspeed, with participation from Kleiner Perkins, Pantera Capital, 122West and Ascolta Ventures.

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An investigation carried out by Federal Communication Commission’s own inspector general officially refutes controversial claims that a cyberattack was responsible for disrupting the FCC’s comment system in May 2017, at the height of the agency’s efforts to kill off net neutrality. The investigation also uncovered that FCC officials had provided congressional lawmakers with misleading information regarding conversations between an FCC employee and the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s cybercrime task force. A report from the inspector general’s office (OIG) released Tuesday afternoon states that the comment system’s downtime was likely caused by a combination of “system design issues” and a massive surge in traffic caused when Last Week Tonight host John Oliver directed millions of TV viewers to flood the FCC’s website with pro-net neutrality comments.

 

Investigators were unable to “substantiate the allegations of multiple DDoS attacks” alleged by then-FCC Chief Information Officer David Bray, the report says. “At best, the published reports were the result of a rush to judgment and the failure to conduct analyses needed to identify the true cause of the disruption to system availability.” [Here’s an excerpt from the report:] “While we identified a small amount of anomalous activity and could not entirely rule out the possibility of individual DoS attempts during the period from May 7 through May 9, 2017, we do not believe this activity resulted in any measurable degradation of system availability given the minuscule scale of the anomalous activity relative to the contemporaneous voluminous viral traffic.”

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Palm’s smartphone return appears to still be on track for 2018. From a report:

Last year, an executive at TCL confirmed that the dearly departed mobile brand would be making a comeback as part of the smartphone conglomerate’s portfolio, and with a little under five months left in the year, the ‘PVG100’ has hit the FCC and WiFi alliance. The handset was spotted by Android Police, but we don’t really have much more to go on than a name and a couple of WiFi bands. As the site notes, however, the absence of 5GHz support leads one to surmise that this won’t exactly be a barn-burning flagship. The handset also looks to be running Android 8.1 — not really a surprise, given that Android Pie is still limited to Pixel and a smattering of other devices.

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Last month, the BBC headed to court to track down the person who leaked an incomplete scene featuring Jodie Whittaker’s Thirteenth Doctor. New court documents suggest that the British broadcaster has yet to find the perpetrator, and is hoping Microsoft can help. At a federal court in Washington, the BBC requested a DMCA subpoena targeted at a OneDrive user who shared the infringing material online late June. TorrentFreak reports:

In an effort to track down the source of the leak the BBC has taken the matter to the U.S. courts. Last month it obtained a DMCA subpoena from a California federal court, ordering the forum tool Tapatalk to identify the source of an infringing post. Whether this resulted in any useful information is unknown, but a few days ago it became clear that BBC is still investigating the matter. In a separate effort, BBC Studios have filed a request for a DMCA subpoena at a Federal court in Washington. This time it’s directed at Microsoft. According to the BBC, a user of Microsoft’s OneDrive stored and shared a copy of the leaked file, titled “IMG_ l563.TRIM.MOV.”

 

“The infringing material includes, without limitation, an unauthorized copy of copyrighted video content from Season 11, Episode 1 of Doctor Who, for which BBC Worldwide Limited t/a BBC Studios (Distribution) is the exclusive licensee,” the BBC writes. According to the BBC, the footage in question was stolen from the studio. Through the subpoena, the company hopes to find out more about the source of this leak, to prevent similar situations going forward. It asks Microsoft to hand over any relevant information that can help to identify the account holder who uploaded the video, which was added to OneDrive back in June. This includes “any name, account name, address, telephone number, email address, birth date, profile photo, device information, browser information, location information, information from others (e.g., Facebook or Google+) and time posted.”

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