The Sizzle

Issue 135 - Thursday, 28th April 2017


Another cryptolocker worm is doing the rounds and screwing up insecure IT systems
Well, it happened again - another cryptolocker is running around the internet that takes advantage of NSA exploits revealed by ShadowBrokers back in April. Today it's a variant of Petya (the media is actually calling it Petya, even though it isn't the same as malware previously known as Petya) and it works works in a very similar way to WannaCry. It can spread to computers that are already patched and uses a fake Microsoft signature to fool AV software into thinking it's a genuine Microsoft program - sneaky. Companies such as shipping outfit Maersk, WPP (massive ad agency), DLA Piper (a huge global law firm), Merck (big pharmaceutical company) and even little old Cadbury in Tasmania being virtually shut down because of it. Krebs, MalwareTech and The Grugq have all the info you need on Petya.

EU fines Google €2.24b for abusing its market power against price comparison sites
Google got slapped with a €2,424,495,000 fine by the EU over its Google Shopping feature. After a few years investigating, the EU decided that Google is abusing its market power by placing Google's own price comparison service ahead of results from other search comparison sites. It has to stop doing that in 90 days or will get more fines. Google's response to the largest anti-trust related fine ever handed out by the EU is that they totally disagree, reckon Amazon and eBay are just as dominant as them, so Google has done nothing wrong and will probably appeal this decision.

2 billion people use Facebook once a month
Facebook now has 2 billion monthly active users. Over a quarter of the world's population logs in to Facebook at least once a month. That's pretty damn crazy. Dunno what to make of this - is it good? Is it bad? How many of those users are bots? Is the world better off that 2 billion people use the same platform to communicate? Has Facebook been a positive thing for society? (Facebook goes to great lengths to appear that it is) Does it even matter? Will Zuck run for President of the USA? (probably not) What will Facebook do to get another 2 billion people online and using its products? What happens when the entire world is connected? Will that be good?

Fair Work investigating Uber's driver contracts
The Fair Work Ombudsman is investigating Uber's driver contracts. A group of drivers complained to the FWO that despite working 40-hours a week, they earn less than minimum wage and that they are not self-employed, like Uber argues, as Uber controls everything they do except the times they work - not a typical arrangement for someone self-employed. This happened in London not too long ago, with their employment court saying that its drivers are not self-employed and should be entitled to earn the "national living wage" for their efforts. Of course Uber appealed that decision and we're still waiting for the outcome. As a former UberX driver (I stopped because they cut rates too many times, the ATO said you gotta pay GST out of your end and increased their commission to 25%), it's great to see the same spotlight put on Uber locally.

Pandora to cease in Australia & Guvera are dodgy bastards
The music streaming service you've heard of, but probably don't use, Pandora, is closing its Australian operations in a few weeks and will no longer be available for Aussies to use. A Pandora rep told Mumbrella that basically, Australia wasn't that keen on Pandora so they're gonna focus on the USA instead. Dunno why they couldn't just keep it going without an AU office, but whatever. It joins Rdio (who Pandora purchased, then killed) JB Hi-Fi Now, Mog and Guvera in the streaming service graveyard. Speaking of Guvera, ASIC is looking into their dodgy attempts to raise capital and The Australian (possibly paywalled) has news of an "elderly farmer with rapidly failing cognitive functions" that invested $8.7m in Guvera, is now suing them for ripping him off. Truly dodgy stuff.


Parts of Adelaide to get gigabit internet for $100/m
I mentioned South Australia's GigCity internet ambitions recently, as it got a bit more funding in the SA state government's latest budget. Today, they announced who will deliver this wonderful gigabit fibre internet service. EscapeNet, a local ISP, has got the job and in the 12 locations proposed for the GigCity project, you'll be able to get 1TB of bandwidth at gigabit speeds, with "guaranteed bandwidth and business-grade support" for $180/m. An absolute bargain. For smaller businesses, there's even an unlimited gigabit internet option for $99.90! Fuck yeah! Go eat a dick NBN, this is what I'm talkin' about! I know it's a very different situation to the NBN, but you know what, the NBN could totally offer this to the FTTP customers, if the government changed their mind about how the NBN is funded and had a re-think as to why the NBN exists.

Planet of the Apps is bad and everyone at Apple should feel awful they made it
Everything that's wrong and awful about Apple's Planet of the Apps TV show has been collated into a 7 minute video that's spot fucken on. It covers every issue I had with the show, like the stupid escalator pitch (with an actual escalator), the moronic "investors" that sell sham and useless products, the weird and unhealthy focus on busting your arse to the point of mental breakdown and the fact you have to get Apple MUSIC to watch a TV SHOW. Planet of the Apps is positively the worst thing Apple has ever done. Yeah, even worse than the ROKR and every single once of their useless mice.

Another 1hr vid - Peter Freedman, boss of Rode talking about how awesome Rode is
A few people contacted me saying they enjoyed that 1hr video of Tony Seba talking about how green tech will be rapidly adopted. So here's another 1hr long video from my collection of long YouTube videos - it's Peter Freedman, the founder and boss of Rode microphones talking at the Audio Engineering Society Melbourne Section about how he got started, how he's able to manufacture such great gear in Australia instead of China and how Rode became so successful. I love how he realises that automation is the way forward for Australian manufacturing, marketing is absolutely vital to the success of any product, that the free trade deals done with China and South Korea are a massive boon to his business and that he's dying for skilled Australian engineers and works with local unis to create a pipeline from the classroom to his lab.

Here endeth the sizzle (until tomorrow!)

The Sizzle is curated by Anthony "@decryption" Agius and emailed every weekday afternoon. Join us on Slack and chat with other Sizzle subscribers. Know someone who could use a bit of Sizzle in their life? Buy them a gift subscription!