The Sizzle

Issue 222 - Tuesday, 30th August 2016 - Hypodermic People Poking

The next two weeks of The Sizzle will be in "lite" mode, with just three news stories and one interesting link. My mum's in the hospital, which has been taking up a fair bit of my time, then next week I'll be going to Adelaide to visit my in-laws. Normal Sizzle will resume 12th of September. Sorry for the reduced content.


Apple event, new iPhones and stuff, September 8th
Apple has announced an event for the 7th of September at 10AM - which is Thursday the 8th of September at 3AM in Melbourne. Everyone reckons we will see new iPhones, and possibly new Apple Watches. The poor old Mac might get some love too. iOS 10 and macOS Sierra will come out of beta as well. Meanwhile, Apple is looking at a billion Euro tax bill ruling from the EU due to Ireland giving Apple illegal tax breaks.

E-voting system attacks in Illinois and Arizona have the FBI alert
The FBI revealed that a few state elections in the US have been the victims of hacking. The FBI believes foreign hackers got in to electronic voting systems in Illinois and Arizona. In Illinois, the personal info of about 200,000 people was obtained by hackers - which while sucks, isn't necessarily going to impact the validity of those who vote (but may make some people think twice about enrolling to vote, reducing representation). In Arizona, "malicious software" was loaded onto a government employee's computer, which the FBI believes was possibly part of a bigger attempt to impact e-voting there. I can't wait to see what the Russians have in store for the presidential election later this year!

Facebook's algorithms are causing trouble in meatspace
Facebook sacked all its meatbag human editors on Friday, which were responsible for what people see on the all important "Trending" sidebar. Three days after the humans got the arse and Facebook gave full control of the trending content to an algorithm, a fake story involving someone famous in America but I've never heard of (Megyn Kelly?) managed to become the most trending item, despite its fakeness. Humans 1 - Robots 0 (when it comes to news). Facebook also copped a bit of shit for suggesting patients of a psychiatrist should be friends. Somehow Facebook knew this psychiatrist has links to these people that happened to be her patients, assumed they were friends or colleagues and thought they should all be mates on Facebook. Humans 2 - Robots 0 (until they kill us all, Skynet style).


Hacking via the backdoor gets results
This debrief of how someone managed to break in to a hardened webserver as part of a competition is an excellent story of how a system is only secure as its weakest link, despite how much effort you put in to making the front door thick and heavy as possible. I won't ruin the story as to how the competition was won, but the dude did end up winning the MacBook, haha.

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 Pattern Against User, by At The Drive In. Like The Sizzle? Tell your friends!