Issue 507

Wednesday, 25th October 2017

In This Issue


More NBN shenanigans - reduced CVC costs & gigabit copper fantasy

Bill Morrow was dragged in front of another Senate inquiry yesterday where he revealed that the NBN is in the middle of a major review regarding how it charges RSPs for access. One of the proposals is a special 50 Mbps plan with more CVC attached for a price the RSPs can sell at about the same as a current ADSL service.. Despite how important getting more people to buy 50 Mbps+ plans is, the government is refusing to force NBN to publish a database of maximum attainable speeds for every NBN connection. It's obvious why the government isn't keen - cold hard facts about how shit FTTN is will undermine them. NBN announced at a conference overseas that instead of dreaming about G.Fast, it will actually use it in their FTTC and FTTB networks to sell business customers gigabit speeds. What a coincidence they "announce" this, with no details, this week, of all weeks.

Bad Rabbit - yet another easy to spread cryptolocker

Remember NotPetya? There's a new sorta malware kinda like that called Bad Rabbit that's fucking up computers at Eastern European news agencies, train stations, and airports. Kaspersky has a blog post with details on how it works, saying that "the malware is using hacked Russian media websites to display fake Adobe Flash installers, which when clicked infect the computer visiting the hacked site". Once infected, Bad Rabbit "uses a legitimate, digitally signed program called DiskCryptor to lock targets' hard drives" and ask for a US$283 Bitcoin ransom to unlock it. Microsoft has some info on what to do so you don't get owned by Bad Rabbit.

Twitter makes advertising more transparent so it doesn't get regulated

Twitter's re-jigging its advertising policies in the wake of the US government potentially cracking down on social media services promoting any old crap. Twitter will make an "Advertising Transparency Center" where you can see all the ads running on Twitter and get some info about who's behind them, as well as how long they've been running and all the photos and videos used in that campaign. In addition to that, Twitter will clearly mark if an ad is from a political account and if it is a political ad, users will also be able to see who paid for the ad, how much was spent and who it was targeted to. Twitter, Google and Facebook will be in front of a US government inquiry about this shit next week - this'll give them something positive to say between getting owned by a cavalcade of senators.

Google has plugins for Gmail now

Google's introducing Gmail Add-ons, where developers (right now, just select Google partners) can make what are effectively, plug-ins for the web and Android version of Gmail. According to Google, "With Gmail Add-ons, your inbox can contextually surface your go-to app based on messages you receive to help you get things done faster." Most of the add-ons seem focussed on business sorta stuff, half these services I've never heard of except for Trello (because I had to use it once) and QuickBooks (because they advertise on Planet Money). I could have sworn Gmail already had this sorta thing, but I guess not. They're available now if you wanna check em out.

MSY fined by the ACCC, again, for not handling repairs and refunds properly

The ACCC has fined MSY $750,000, ordered them to do consumer law compliance training and pay the ACCC's legal costs worth ~$50,000 for once again not giving people the right advice when it comes to handling the return and repair of faulty gear. This is the second time MSY has been fined - it had to pay the ACCC $203,500 for doing the exact same thing back in 2012. So all up, MSY has been fined almost a million bucks for not giving a shit when it comes to either giving a refund or fixing a customer's problem. Dodgiest motherfuckers around and these days, they're not that cheap. I only go there because it's close. I bet they'll get fined again in 2020 for doing the exact same thing. Their business model is based on it.

Not News, But Still Cool

Deconvoluting a QR code on TV to get a Bitcoin wallet's private key

A bloke on a French TV show was giving a demo of how to use Bitcoin or something and part of that demo involved showing a screenshot of a QR code of the host's private key, which if you know even the most basic thing about crypto, is a bad thing. But it's okay, the editors of the programme blurred the QR code, so it can't be scanned by some random and the contents of the Bitcoin wallet emptied. Unfortunately for the wallet owner, there were enough clues left in the image despite the blurring, that armed with knowledge of how a QR code is constructed and some basic image editing, Michel Sassano was able to gain the Bitcoin wallet's private key.

The ABC wants to produce your podcast

Got a sweet idea for a podcast? I bet your big ol' brain is full of 'em - the ABC wants to help you make it happen. They've got their own "digital-first audio content production house" and want to get regular people in it producing content that's "original, entertaining and/or important", "say(s) something new in a way we haven't heard before" and "appeal to a targeted and niche audience" (amongst other things). If you feel like you've got something burning inside of you that the world needs to know about in podcast format, tell the ABC about it via this form. You've got until the 17th of November and they even have tips on how to pitch to them. Good luck!

Someone's flashing the cheapo Xiaomi cams with proper firmware

You know those cheap as fuck Xiaomi wi-fi security cameras? These $20 things that are sometimes on sale for under $15? They sound great, but the software is a hot mess. I bought a couple and they were a pain to set up and use as nothing is in English. Well, an enterprising group of people are flashing these cameras with their own software called WyzeCam and it looks like it could be awesome. Unfortunately, they don't seem to be selling the software separately, you gotta buy a camera from them with the software pre-loaded, but at US$20, it's pretty damn cheap. TechCrunch has a pre-release version of the software and they love it. It basically does everything Xiaomi promises the camera would do, but in English and not a buggy mess.

Here endeth The Sizzle.

Want an NBN ISP that doesn't suck? Sign up for Aussie Broadband using my referral code: 1001031 and I get a free month of internet access!

The Sizzle is curated by Anthony "@decryption" Agius and emailed every weekday afternoon. Join us on Slack and chat with other Sizzle subscribers.

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