Remember the WannaCry ransomware that was going around last year and the 2014 Sony movies hack that exposed how dumb movie executives are? The US Treasury has charged and sanctioned Park Jin Hyok, a North Korean who "worked as part of a team of hackers, also known as the Lazarus Group" for those hacks. "Park used a series of online personas for social media platforms, including on Facebook and Twitter, to send malicious links to individuals involved in the production of "The Interview", the complaint said. The malicious links carried North Korean-controlled malware". Meanwhile, North Korea could just be playing along with Trump's attempt to control their nukes because their hacking skills are way more useful than a nuclear bomb for terrorising the west. Makes sense to me, but I'm no geo-political warhawk expert.
Twitter has finally, permanently banned Alex Jones and Infowars. "The incident that inspired Twitter to action appears to have been a series of tweets containing a nine-minute Periscope video of Jones and his camera operators confronting CNN reporter Oliver Darcy. In the video, Jones lambastes Darcy as "the equivalent of like the Hitler Youth" and accuses him of "smiling like a possum that crawled out of the rear end of a dead cow". Interesting timing, as this happened the day after Alex Jones was literally stalking Twitter's CEO Jack Dorsey around Washington DC, which culminated in this amazing renaissance-esque photo that is so 2018, it hurts.
Anandtech noticed that many recent Huawei smartphones (P20 Pro, Honor Play and Mate 10) have been detecting when a benchmark app is run and disabling thermal & power throttling features in order to juice the numbers. The difference isn't a few percent here or there either - it's literally double the performance and very deliberate, as Anandtech uses custom versions of benchmarking tools to evade vendors detecting the benchmark. A dog act from Huawei, who in repsonse are basically saying "well other smartphone makers in China do it, so we have to as well". As a result of Anandtech's reporting, UL (who make loads of benchmarking tools like 3DMark), has shitcanned Huawei's smartphones and tablets from their benchmark result database.
Employees at Amazon's Melbourne warehouse have called it a "hellscape" and said they've "never worked anywhere as harsh", in an interview with Fairfax about what it's like to work there. Each day, workers have to share an "Amazon success story", then managers lead a team chant, jumping around and shouting words like "Quality!", "Success!", "Amazon!", or "Prime!". Workers have handheld scanners with literal countdown bars telling them how much time is left to pick the next item. "Workers who did not meet performance targets would leave for the day and then be sent a text message telling them their next shift had been cancelled". Looks like the same sort of contempt Amazon has for workers in the US has been applied here too.
Fuji has joined the new mirrorless camera party, announcing the X-T3, an update to the popular X-T2. The X-T3 looks more or less the same as the X-T2 (which is a good thing, as it looks great), but now has a fancy 26MP APS-C sensor, new image processor that brings 4K/60P video recording (eat shit Canon), dual SD card slots (eat shit again Canon), full sensor phase detection AF, faster metering and a new and improved EVF. It's not a full frame sensor like Canon or Nikon's new announcements, but it's still a gorgeous unit for true photography enthusiasts without a big budget for full frame lenses and bodies. The X-T3 will go on sale in the US on September 20th and start at US$1,449.95 for body only, or US$1,899.95 for an 18-55mm lens kit. No AU pricing right now.
The Five Eyes governments have a legitimate concern that criminals are using secure chat apps to plan and commit crimes and most sane people agree that there should be a way for law enforcement to intervene. That means it's inevitable legislation forcing tech companies to open up secure communications for law enforcement will sail through Australian Parliament in the coming months. What isn't so obvious though, is how law enforcement access should work. As this EFF article explains, keeping things secure, whilst also providing a way for cops to listen in, isn't easy. The Assistance and Access Bill (aka the encryption backdoor law) is open for public comment until the 10th of September, so if you have thoughts on this topic, give the government a piece of your mind. There's a slim chance they might listen and avoid a colossal privacy fuck up.
That's it, see ya Monday!