Issue 734

Monday, 1st October 2018

In This Issue


Elon Musk & Tesla fined $40m by the SEC & made to quit Tesla's board because of that tweet

Elon Musk has come to an agreement with the SEC over his cheeky "funding secured" tweet. From the SEC's press release: "Musk and Tesla have agreed to settle the charges against them without admitting or denying the SEC's allegations. Among other relief, the settlements require that: Musk will step down as Tesla's Chairman and be replaced by an independent Chairman. Musk will be ineligible to be re-elected Chairman for three years; Tesla will appoint a total of two new independent directors to its board; Tesla will establish a new committee of independent directors and put in place additional controls and procedures to oversee Musk's communications; Musk and Tesla will each pay a separate $20 million penalty. The $40 million in penalties will be distributed to harmed investors under a court-approved process". Musk said that he will pay Telsa's $20m fine by buying $20m of shares. Not having to admit guilt (but he is so fucking guilty of it) and remaining as CEO strikes me as Musk getting off easy.

90m users impacted in Facebook access token hack

Facebook has been forced to log out approximately 90 million of its users because "hackers have been exploiting a vulnerability in Facebook's site code that impacted a feature called "View As" which lets users see how their profile appears to other people". This vulnerability "allowed them to steal Facebook access tokens which they could then use to take over people’s accounts". The danger is over now, as those access tokens have all been reset, but the billion dollar question now is did those hackers also get access to 3rd party sites that let you log in with your Facebook credentials? Faceobok reckons, technically, yes, but there's no proof of that having happened (yet). My favourite part of this mess was the hacker threatening to expose Mark Zuckerberg's Facebook account, but changing their mind and trying to claim a bug bounty instead.

SA Health's electronic patient admin system is a $470m dollar dog's breakfast

The South Australian government is seriously considering scrapping the $470m electronic patient administration system that's been nothing but trouble for SA Health since its introduction in 2013. Despite this botched system, users of it do not want to return to paper based systems. They simply want the electronic system to work properly. So now there's a review into the system and chances are it'll be scrapped and replaced with something new. If the existing system is kept around, it needs a major upgrade, as according to the SA Health CEO, "we're on version two and there’s a version seven around or something like that, so it needs to be updated". Nice to know there's outdated electronic medical records systems being operated by the SA government. Throw this shitshow on the pile of all the other government IT disasters folks.

California passes its own net neutrality laws, pissing off the FCC & Federal govt

California has given a big fuck you to the FCC and passed their own net neutrality laws. This new law prohibits ISPs operating in California from "blocking or throttling lawful traffic and from requiring fees from websites or online services to deliver or prioritize their traffic to consumers. The law also bans paid data cap exemptions (so-called "zero-rating"), and says that ISPs may not attempt to evade net neutrality protections by slowing down traffic at network interconnection points". Unfortunately, the federal government has sued California, saying that "under the Constitution, states do not regulate interstate commerce—the federal government does". Interesting how this is so vehemently defended in the US, but in Australia we don't bat an eyelid at Optus offering free Spotify or Netflix or Vodafone offering $15 passes to watch Stan or use Instagram.

Judge thwarts the DoJ's attempt to make Facebook wiretap Messenger voice calls

Remember a few weeks ago I mentioned that the US Department of Justice wanted to force Facebook into developing a way to listen in on phone conversations between Messenger users so it could catch some MS-13 gang members? A Californian judge has prevented that from happening. The ruling is sealed, so we don't know what reasoning the judge used to prevent Facebook doing the DoJ's dirty work. So yeah, if you're a criminal wanting to chat to your criminal buddies about criminal conspiracies, use Facebook Messenger's voice feature - the cops don't know how to listen in. The court documents did show that law enforcement had access to Messenger text messages though. Just use Signal anyways.

Not News, But Still Cool

What's an Atlassian anyways?

John McDuling's latest column reminds us that nobody outside a bunch of nerds or stockmarket types knows about Australia's arguably most successful technology company, Atlassian (if you don't know, they make the shovels lots of programmers are using during the coding gold rush). It's co-founder Mike Cannon-Brookes, just purchased Fairwater, Australia's most expensive home for $100m. The second most expensive home, Elaine, is next door to Fairwater and is owned by the other Atlassian co-founder, Scott Farquhar. All up Atlassian is worth ~$30b and if it was listed on the ASX instead of the NASDAQ, it would be up there with Woolworths, Telstra and Transurban - yet ask your garden variety politician about Atlassian, they'd think you're calling them an alsatian dog and demand you cease verballing them.

Get paid to make your internet connection part of a botnet!

So you know how I sold you all a bunch of Orange Pi Zeros running Pi-Hole to blocks ads and people jokingly said I was building a botnet of innocent people to monetise? Well someone's gone and done that. I shit you not, there's someone on Facebook giving people money to plug little boxes into your router. This guy on Reddit found one their housemate hooked up to their network and was told "they'd receive $15 a month through direct deposit and all the device will do is run ads for other people when they visit roommates Facebook page". What it's actually doing is anyone's guess (I reckon it's doing a MitM attack to intercept weak TLS connections and be a clean proxy server sold on the darkweb) - I'd love to see this given to a security researcher and analysed properly.

Cheap games, PS4 controller, Sennheiser BTNC headphones, Samsung SSDs & USB flash drives, eBay Plus and B&O Play speakers

That's it, see ya tomorrow!

Glitoris - Spit Hood