The Sizzle

Issue 55 - Friday 18th December, 2015 - I'm Richard

This is the last daily issue of the Sizzle for 2015. I'm taking a two week break from scrounging around the Internet for news and will be releasing two weekly wrap-ups instead. You'll hear from me again on the 27th of December and the 3rd of January. The regular daily emails will resume on the 4th of Jan.

Huuuuge thanks to all 135 paid subscribers who make The Sizzle possible! It's something I've wanted to do for a while and I'm so happy to see that it's been relatively well received, with only 2 people unsubscribing once they sign up. Not everyone digs it (getting around a 10% conversion from trial to paid at the moment), but those that do seem to really love it and it makes me so happy to know you're all getting value out of it.


Luddite judge shuts down WhatsApp in Brazil for half a day
WhatsApp has a decent level of security and is used by over 100 million Brazilians, so it's no surprise it's used by Brazilian organised crime to well, organise their crime. In Brazil it was used to organise a murder and the judge in the case wanted access to WhatsApp's records. WhatsApp ignored the court and the judge ordered WhatsApp be shut down for 48 hours as punishment. WhatsApp is so popular in Brazil it would be like closing down Facebook or disabling all the telephones in Australia because Facebook or Telstra didn't give the court info it can't get access to, inconveniencing the entire country because of one judge's tech illiteracy.

The people involved in the huge rort that was Ultranet will get their comeuppance soon
If you've Victorian, you may have heard the words Ultranet referenced before, in regards to schools and education. It was a $180m project designed to be an online learning management system (kinda like Blackboard of Moodle), rolled out around 2006 to 2010 and ultimately ditched in 2013 as it was goddamn useless. The Victorian government has announced that the results of an investigation into corruption into the education department carried out by IBAC will be heard in February 2016. Hopefully they expose how corrupt IT projects can be and it sends a message to all the other crooks in that industry.

Juniper notice some "unauthorised" code in ScreenOS that allows access to VPN sessions on its gear
Juniper are a huge networking hardware company. They sell routers, switches, security gateways and VPN devices. Juniper gear is used by many, many businesses and governments and telcos, so news that there's been unauthorised code placed into ScreenOS (the OS used on many of Juniper's products) has gone unnoticed until now is pretty fucking bad. Somehow, malicious code was placed inside official releases of ScreenOS that allowed hackers to intercept VPN connections. We don't know where the malicious code came from - could have been a naughty Chinese or Russian hacker, maybe it was the NSA (they love doing this), we might not ever know.

Blackberry's CEO made the awful decision to blog his opinions on encryption and privacy
Blackberry's CEO (a reminder of who that is) thinks people give a shit about him or his company and decided to dribble out a blog post practically calling Apple, Google and Microsoft traitors for not allowing law enforcement access to iOS devices. Just like how you wouldn't give Pakistan access Blackberry messages? Or the time you did

give access to the Indian government

? Look up hypocrite in the dictionary and you'll see John Chen's face, right next to Homer's near the definition for stupid, fraud and lucky. The comments on the blog post are almost 100% shitting on Chen's opinion.

Apple shuffles around some executives and make Phil Schiller head of the App Stores
Apple's executive team got a decent shake-up overnight, with Jeff Williams inhabiting Tim Cook's old role as COO and Johny Srouj has been bumped up to SVP of hardware technologies. A new bloke named Tor Myhren is now VP of marketing communications. What's most interesting in this announcement is that Phil Schiller, one of the few OG execs left, will be the heading up the App Store now, splitting it from the reign of Eddie Cue's iTunes team. Hopefully now the iOS and Mac App Stores will get the love they desperately need.


GTA Liberty City Stories comes to iOS
My favourite gaming franchise, without a doubt, is Grand Theft Auto. I never owned a PSP long enough to play the original release of Liberty City Stories, but that doesn't matter now as it's been released and remastered for iOS. Apparently Liberty City Stories is one of the better written in the franchise and was designed specifically for mobile play (the PSP), so definitely worth a look if you want a game to get stuck into over the holidays.

Check out this catalogue of eavesdropping devices available to US law enforcement
The Intercept has received a leaked a catalogue of mobile eavesdropping devices available to US law enforcement. When I say catalogue, I mean, an actual shopping catalogue of devices used to locate people via their mobile phone and listen in on phone calls and intercept SMS. These things were once exclusively used by the NSA or CIA to get bad dudes overseas, maybe even the FBI to bust large criminal organisations - but now they're targeted at local police as well, in the ever growing militarization of cops there, with budgets to burn. I'd love to know how widespread these are in Australia.

Justin Hall's story of sharing too much info on the net shows how much it's changed from the sweet innocent 90s
The story of Justin Hall will either be bizarre as fuck to you or totally 100% relatable. For a dork like me, it's 100% relatable. Justin loved sharing stuff about his life on the Internet (as do I) and during the 90s it was fun and great, until it backfired. He's made a documentary about his time on the Internet and how the Internet has influenced his life so deeply. I loved this slightly awkward but very personal video so much and want to give it a big hug.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! Here endeth the sizzle (until the 27th of December)

The Sizzle is curated by Anthony "@decryption" Agius and emailed every weekday afternoon. Like The Sizzle? Tell your friends!