The Sizzle

Issue 93 - Wednesday, 24th February 2016 - Selling And Eating Dixie Ice Creams


MouseJack vulnerability exploits poor security in wireless keyboards and mice
Security researchers Bastille, have found a way to listen in on the data comms of non-Bluetooth keyboards and mice and bypass standard encryption via an ability in many wireless systems to allow unencrypted communication as a last resort. They've dubbed it MouseJack. Someone can be within range of your keyboard's wireless dongle and input commands that allow them to do whatever they want with your computer like install a rootkit or transfer files off the computer. Obviously, not cool. Bluetooth devices aren't impacted by this issue.

Mesh wi-fi for the home, Eero, is out now (in the USA)
Eero takes the wi-fi range extender concept and makes it way easier. Just plug one Eero unit into your modem (or NTD if you're on NBN) and chuck other Eero units wherever you want them to improve wireless coverage - Eero's software figures everything out for you. It looks good, is a piece of piss to use and needs no cabling. It's expensive (US$499 for 3x of em) and not out in Australia yet, but I can see this being very popular just due to its ease of use and relatively nice looking design, even if it's not the fastest or cheapest. Here's a review from CNet.

Network Ten is going HD, bringing all the Aussie FTA channels into the 20th century
The last TV network to announce that they're upgrading their main channel to HD was Ten and they announced yesterday that on the 2nd of March they'll finally take the leap. Nine and SBS already do it, Seven announced they'll do it before the AFL season starts (which is March 24th) and the ABC will go HD for ABC1 in June.

MasterCard planning selfie based authentication
Passwords, PINs and pass-phrases kinda suck. We forget them, so we make them memorable or short and that leaves them open to easy hacking. There's fancy ways of proving you are who you are with things like Intel's RealSense cameras and biometric scanners that look at your eyes or fingerprints. MasterCard has decided that the ubiquitous front facing camera on your smartphone is good enough and will use it to verify transactions via its app in lots of countries except Australia.

Still more Apple vs. FBI stuff
Bill Gates has come out in support of the FBI on getting access to all our personal info, but then backed down saying he didn't say that (but he really did). Meanwhile, Most Americans don't agree with Apple and think Apple should unlock phones for law enforcement when required. In recently unsealed court briefs, the Department of Justice has actually asked Apple to unlock 12 iPhones, further giving credit to Apple's claim that the FBI's request isn't simply about this one specific iPhone used in the San Bernardino terrorist attack, but is an attempt to set a precedent for Apple to unlock every iPhone the government wants unlocked, for whatever reason. Meanwhile, our two main political parties don't believe in strong encryption.


Nice price for a 55" Sony 1080p LCD with Android TV built in
If you're like me and not a fan of 4K panels when 99% of your content is 1080p, but still want a good quality large-ish TV, then JB Hi-Fi has your back. They're selling the Sony 55" KDL55W800C for $1096, a very reasonable price. Has 4x HDMI ports and built-in wi-fi. Android TV is pretty nice as well, which can work as a built-in Chromecast as well as some decent standlone apps.

Avast's experiment shows how careless people are connecting to unknown wi-fi
Avast have done what I've always wanted to do but haven't been bothered to. They set up a bogus wi-fi network in Barcelona airport during MWC and set up some SSIDs called Starbucks", "Airport_Free_Wifi_AENA" and "MWC Free WiFi". Over 2,000 users connected to them in just 4 hours. Avast are "good guys" so didn't do anything bad with their access points, but someone not so nice could have done a lot of damage. At least funnel all your traffic through a VPN when connecting to random wi-fi.

Airtax - easy way to file those annoying business activity statements for GST
This was shown to me by Sizzle reader @hughstephens - PricewaterhouseCoopers have developed an app called Air Tax, that allows people who are Uber drivers to file simple BASs to the ATO. Unlike other small businesses, there is no threshold for Uber drivers to collect GST, so even if you make $10 a quarter driving, you need to file a BAS. What an elegant way of dealing with something usually craptastic. Apparently it can be used by anyone, not just Uber drivers, but it's really focussed on those driving for Uber.

Here endeth the sizzle (until tomorrow!)

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