The Sizzle

Issue 352 - Wednesday, 15th March 2017


Remote controlled vibrator company was harvesting user info without permission
I love a bit of sex toy tech news, but this sex toy tech news is not sexy, at all. The makers of the We-Vibe, a remote controllable vibrator (so you can get ya partner off while you aren't at home, I guess) was collecting some pretty sensitive data about its users, like what settings they enjoyed and how often they used it and then linking that info to people's email addresses. We-Vibe users didn't agree to this, sued We-Vibe and won US$3.75m in a class action settlement. There's no evidence of the info getting out in the wild, but I assume it'd be kinda embarrassing, perhaps, for the info We-Vibe collected to be made public and associated with you, if owning a remote control vibrator embarrasses you. Or even if it doesn't embarrass you, other prudes could take it against you. They're the ones you gotta worry about.

The ATO & Immigration department are hopeless at IT security
The Australian National Audit Office has investigated the "cyber-resilience" of the Immigration Department, ATO and the Department of Human Services (aka Centrelink) and found that only DHS was up to scratch. The ATO and immigration department are practically waving their dicks in the wind to any hackers that want to infiltrate these pretty damn important government departments. The main concern raised by the audit office was the fact the ATO and immigration don't whitelist applications (so anyone can install whatever they like with practically no detection) and both departments regularly not applying the latest patches to server operating systems because they don't want to take services offline to do so. Well I am shocked that these progressive and innovative government departments suck at computers, absolutely surprised I am.

Microsoft Teams (aka Microsoft Slack) is out of beta
Microsoft has launched its "Slack killer", Teams. It's now available to all Office 365 customers as part of the overall suite and has native apps for Windows (you'd fucken hope so aye), iOS and Android, and can run in a web browser too. Teams has 150 different integrations, just like Slack, so you can get notifications within this chat app that everyone can see. Makes sense to use this over Slack if you're already running the whole Office 365 setup in your business. Individual users of Office 365 (like me and probably you) can't use it. This is proper serious business stuff, not for people in their underwear at home, like me. I heard it has a feature where it turns a webcam on and uses machine learning to check if you're wearing formal business attire before it launches. Unfair, I reckon.

American ISPs will probably be allowed to sell customer browsing info to advertisers
A law preventing ISPs from selling customer web browsing activity info to advertisers has been overturned in the USA. Advertising industry trade groups are over the fucking moon right now, as this gives them the ability to offer big sacks of cash to ISPs and get info on every, single, thing, Americans do on the internet. It's basically the holy grail of advertising. I wonder how long until Telstra or Optus pushes for something like this in Australia? It's probably already happening and we don't even know it.

Wireless headphone battery exploded on a woman's head on a plane
On a flight from Beijing to Melbourne, a woman's headphones exploded. The wireless headphones have a lithium battery inside and we all know how lithium batteries love to explode randomly. She threw the headphones off onto the floor and the crew doused the fire with water, which was so intense, the headphones melted and were stuck to the floor of the cabin. "Passengers were forced to endure the smell of melted plastic, burnt electronics, and burnt hair for the remainder of the flight". The ATSB pisses their pants about this sort of thing, but haven't said what brand or model headphones these are *please don't be Bose*. Imagine if these were in-ear units! Your eardrum would be fucked from the inside out.


Bargains bargains bargains
Jawbone Mini Jambox for $69 (with free delivery) - nice little unit for some basic tunes. JB Hi-Fi has a 70" Soniq 4K TV for $1499 and Aldi has their 65" 4K TV back on the 25th of March for $899. Up to you if the extra 5" is worth $600 (as much as I love big TVs, $600 ain't worth it). Excellent pricing on a refurbished Sony RX100 IV - just $784 (use the CYBER code on eBay). It's the best pocket camera ever. Buy a year's worth of Kogan Mobile service and save 30%. Works out that for unlimited calls & 5GB data, you're only paying $17.26/m (Kogan uses Vodafone's 4G network). Cheap flights to San Francisco direct on Qantas (no LAX transfer), if you're keen. Good place to visit.

Big UK ISP decides to block TeamViewer for everyone
So this is weird, TalkTalk, one of the UK's largest ISPs (think of em like say, TPG, but with more data breaches and slicker branding) suddenly blocked TeamViewer for all its customers. TeamViewer! I use that app very often to remotely support the dummies very nice people, who give me money to help them with their computers, so if I couldn't use it because of an ISP level blanket banning, I'd be very upset. TalkTalk say they've blocked TeamViewer because many of its customers have been hit by tech support scams that use TeamViewer to install malicious software on people's computers. TalkTalk removed the block after a tsunami of "wtf?!" responses to it, but still - what a weird thing to do.

Samsung promises to give US users monthly software updates
Good news-ish Samsung smartphone owners! Samsung USA is pledging to provide monthly Android security updates for unlocked and non-carrier sold Galaxy devices. The updates should start very soon, but unfortunately, it is only for Americans. Maybe if enough Samsung phone owners pressure Samsung Australia, the same could happen here? I'd be way more inclined to recommend Android phones to people (i.e: for the weirdos that don't want a perfectly good and fine iPhone) if there was a vendor offering monthly updates for at least 2-3 years.

Here endeth the sizzle (until tomorrow!)

The Sizzle is curated by Anthony "@decryption" Agius and emailed every weekday afternoon. Like The Sizzle? Like it on Facebook!

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