Issue 777

Monday, 3rd December 2018

In This Issue


Marriot hotel chain exposes the private details of 500m customers

Late Friday arvo, the hotel chain Marriott revealed that the details of over 500m guests at its Starwood properties have been exposed to hackers. Whilst Marriott made the announcement recently, the hackers were pilfering data since 2014! Marriott didn't know until now. In a statement, Marriot said that "for approximately 327 million of these guests, the information includes some combination of name, mailing address, phone number, email address, passport number, Starwood Preferred Guest account information, date of birth, gender, arrival and departure information, reservation date and communication preferences" - that's a juicy dataset! Keep an eye on Have I Been Pwned.

More Assistance and Access Bill shennanigans

On Friday afternoon the Parliamentary Joint Committee of Intelligence and Security failed to reach a bipartisan agreement on the Assistance and Access Bill - the first time ever in that committee. Labor said that they'd agree to the bill with some amendments, but the Libs said to fuck off and to pass it in full or else. Over the weekend, the Libs expressed their anger, with the PM saying that because the ALP wants to slow things down to consider the law, "Labor are quite happy for terrorists and organised criminals to chat on WhatsApp, leaving our security agencies in the dark" and that "there is no excuse for this type of weakness". Energy Minister Angus Taylor then accused Labor of "running a protection racket for terrorists" and Finance Minister Mathias Cormann said that "Labor are using excuses" and "want terrorists to be able to communicate with each other beyond the reach [of law enforcement agencies]". Good discourse, very informed debate. Tim Watts (an ALP MP) has a good Twitter thread explaining all the shit going on with this bill.

Japan's NHK starts broadcasting 8K TV

Japan's NHK is now broadcasting 8K content on free to air TV. Not some bullshit tests either, but a proper permanent channel of 8K content at a 120Hz refresh rate. They're calling it Super Hi-Vision and its capable of handling an image with 7680 x 4320 pixels, 120 frames per second and 12-bit colour. Audio on this TV channel is 22.2 surround sound. There isn't a lot of content though (looks like the same 4 programs repeated all day, hah) and you need a special set top box and satellite dish to get the signal - oh an 8K TV would help too, but it'll still look really nice on a 4K TV. Seeing as this is broadcast via satellite, I wonder if you can receive the signal here in Australia? It'd be awesome to view the Tokyo Olympics at 8K 120fps!

Village Roadshow has donated $6.7m over the years to the Libs & ALP

The Guardian has done some digging and discovered that Village Roadshow has donated $6.7m to both the Libs and ALP since 1998. They've bumped up the donations when they've wanted a favour and it seems the politicians listen. It's probably not a surprise that money talks over in Canberra, but it's just so gross how by simply splashing a few hundo grand a year (chump change for Village) and sucking up to pollies, that they got their own sweet law made to block websites serving up pirated media and then got that law expanded a few days ago to block even more sites they don't want to exist on the internet.

Government has $10m of grants so small businesses can get penentration tests

Cyber security is a big problem for small businesses (and big business it seems, haha) as they lack the skills to secure their network themselves. They also are notorious cheapskates and won't pay someone else to do it for them. To remedy that, the federal government has as pot of $10m to hand out as grants worth up to $2100 to small businesses to get penetration testing. That's right, businesses with under 19 employees will get cheap pen tests so they can find out how easy it is for someone to pwn them. Full details of the Cyber Security Small Business Program are available at

Not News, But Still Cool

Free UniFi management software hosting for your Ubiquiti setup

Do you use Ubiquiti's UniFi gear? Don't like having to run the UniFi management software on a local box or don't want to shell out for a Cloud Key? Chuck it in the cloud! HostFi is basically web hosting designed specifically for a UniFi instance that you can hook your devices up to and be able eto access from anywhere in the world. It's designed for systems integrators who look after the UniFi setups of multiple clients, but there's no reason why you can't stick your own individual UniFi instance there either. It's free for a single site. I'm not sold on hosting networking admin interfaces in the cloud, but that's what the kids do these days.

Australia's power grid is so filthy, a hybrid emits less CO2 than an EV

I spent most of my weekend investigating the CO2 output of an EV versus a hybrid car, because that's the sort of thing a dork like me does in his free time. You can read it (along with heaps of other EV related articles I write for free because it brings me more joy than this computer shit lately) over on Drive Zero. The TLDR is that a Prius will emit less CO2 than an EV charged from the filthy VIC, QLD or NSW grid, even when including the full "well-to-wheel" emissions generated by the manufacture and distribution of petrol. That's how fucking awful burning coal for electricity is and the east coast of Australia still around 80% of its electricity from coal.

Cheap Jabra Move headphones, Nintendo Switch, iPhone XR, Kindle, iTunes cards, 11" iPad Pro, BioShock Collection, DAB radio, DJI Mavic Air drone

That's it, see ya tomorrow!

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