The Sizzle

Issue 191 - Monday, 18th July 2016 - Feels Alright As Long As Something's Happening


Softbank is gonna buy ARM for $32b
Big news today is according to the Financial Times (not linked because of paywall), Japanese telco Softbank is gonna buy ARM. Yeah, the ARM who makes that CPU architecture practically every smartphone and tablet in the world uses. The US$32b deal will be formally announced tomorrow, so expect more details on what the deal looks like then. We can spend the next 24 hours coming up with theories as to why a telco would buy a CPU designer.

Obama announces huge 5G research funding
President Obama has announced US$400m of funding to the National Science Foundation to lead the Advanced Wireless Research Initiative. The AWRI is aimed at 5G and millimeter wave radio tech. Part of the initiative also means that the USA will be the first country in the world to have large chunks of high frequency millimeter wave spectrum available to use. Here's the full Whitehouse press release. Get ready to hear a lot more about millimeter wave wireless tech over the next few years.

SpaceX launches and lands a rocket again
Another day, another successful SpaceX launch and landing. The ninth mission to the ISS has launched, with the cargo escaping fine and the rocket coming back down to Cape Canaveral in one piece. That's the 7th time they've done it this year. This is getting mundane. And that's a good thing.

eWaste laws in Australia are kinda lame
Australia can't handle its e-waste very well. According to the UNSW students that did research into how Australia's e-waste policies compared to other countries, we have a big issue with enforcing the laws - basically nobody gives much of a shit about e-waste enough to bother punishing anyone who flaunts the sorta pissweak laws we already have. ON top of that, the laws we do have, are confusing and groups like local councils and retailers really know what they're supposed to be doing. Here's the full report if you're interested (might need a uni or a library account to read it).

Startups incubating at BlueChilli reckon they're not getting enough love
The large Australian startup incubator, BlueChilli, is in a bit of a shit place right now, with one of the creators of the incubator, Sebastien Eckersley-Maslin copping public criticism from the startups he's supposed to be helping out. The startups involved reckon the dude is never around and the promises of support and assistance in growing their companies aren't happening. According to some lawyers, the deals BlueChilli has been making with startups are pretty one-sided too.


Another eBay tech sale & bargain Lenovo laptop
eBay has another 20% off tech sale with selected stores like Wireless1, Ryda, FutuOnline and others. Low prices on the usual stuff like wi-fi routers & ADSL modems, USB flash drives, SSDs, SD cards and so on. Lenovo is also getting in on the action, selling the E460 with a 14" 1080p IPS screen, 16GB RAM, 256SSD and AMD R7 M360 GPU for only $899. If you wanted a great value for money laptop, this would be it.

Poking around the Great Firewall of China
Nice story on what happens when an infosec nerd goes to China and decides to poke around their Great Firewall. Putting the censorship and freedom of speech issues aside, this is a pretty amazing piece of tech. It uses machine learning to detect patterns in traffic and block even quite sophisticated obfuscation techniques and the firewall makes its own rules on the fly based on what it detects. China's firewall is better than 90% of corporate firewalls I've come across! It's still relatively easy to get around, but I wasn't aware how active the Chinese government is in adapting to new methods of bypassing the firewall.

Abusing 2FA SMSs to make cash via premium service phone numbers
Another cool infosec story - someone managed to skim cash out of those two factor auth SMS phone numbers. Set up your own premium number (i.e a 1900 number) which is pretty easy to do online, set the rate to like, $10/min, enter that number as your 2nd method of authentication and once the SMSs fail to send, a bot will call you to try and verify your identity. When they call this 1900 number instead, they stay on the line for a few minutes, which makes you money. Do that a couple thousand times via a script and you've got a revenue flow! Thanks to Zac for letting me know about this.

Here endeth the sizzle (until tomorrow!)

The Sizzle is curated by Anthony "@decryption" Agius and emailed every weekday afternoon. Today's subject line is from Tribulations, by LCD Soundsystem. Like The Sizzle? Tell your friends!