In This Issue


NZ budget leaks, Treasury claims it was hacked

Big news in NZ today is that the opposition party got its hands on the federal budget days before its official release. The Treasury claims it has "sufficient evidence to indicate that its systems have been deliberately and systematically hacked" and has called in the police to find out what's gone on. Security experts in NZ reckon it was simply uploaded to a web server prior to its launch tomorrow and whoever did it forgot to lock it down. Hanlon's razor is rarely wrong.

Home Affairs briefed on how it can practically use its powers under the Assistance and Access Bill

The Guardian got hold of a Home Affairs departmental briefing regarding the practical implementation of the Assistance and Access Bill. It’s about what we expected, but what’s interesting are some examples of stuff cops can legally ask basically anyone for, like "a social media company helping to automate the creation of fake accounts; a mobile carrier increasing the data allowance on a device so surveillance doesn't chew up users' data; blocking internet messages to force a device to send messages as unencrypted SMSes; and a data centre providing access to a customer's computer rack to allow installation of a surveillance device".

ACCC sues Sony for not giving people refunds on faulty downloaded games

The ACCC is suing Sony for "telling customers it did not have to give them refunds for faulty games that had been downloaded, or more than 14 days since purchase" and if they did agree to a refund, it would only give store credit instead of cash. According to the ACCC, "Consumer guarantees do not expire after a digital product has been downloaded", so Sony can't continue on its bullshit just because it's online rather than a physical copy of a game.

Victorian hospitals really suck at securing patient data

The Victorian Auditor General took a look at the IT systems of a few Victorian hospitals and found them to be absolutely appalling when it comes to keeping patient data private. No password managers, no 2FA, staff easily phished, tailgating into ICT infrastructure areas and "auditors were able to access patient data using default credentials on a third-party system". To make matters worse, the Health Technology Solutions division of the Department of Health and Human Services doesn't even adhere to its own recommendations it provides to hospitals to secure their shit. Embarrassing.

Laptop highlights from Computex 2019

Computex is in full swing over in Taiwan and there's been a few mildly interesting laptop related announcements from various OEMs. HP has a range of wood trimmed laptops called Envy Wood that apparently contain real wood. Dell redesigned the popular XPS 13 and gave the XPS 15 an OLED screen. Asus have a wacky laptop with dual 4K displays (the second screen is basically Apple's Touch Bar on steroids). Intel announced 10th-gen, 10nm CPUs (code named Ice Lake) shipping in June that are barely any faster than the 14nm CPUs we have now.

Not News, But Still Cool

Intel’s prototype dual-touch screen fabric clad notebook looks cool

Intel has shown off a prototype device called "Twin River" that puts dual 12" touch screens in a folding fabric portfolio and packs a 15W TDP processor. It looks amazing. Imagine two iPads in portrait mode side-by-side, in a nice fabric case, but only as thick as one iPad. The cooling on this thing is great too, as it has some weird "incredibly thin vapor chamber cooling solution" and special fabric that allows the heat to dissipate without a fan. If anyone remembers Microsoft's Courier concept, this is pretty much it. Twin River is very much a prototype, but I hope it becomes something I could buy one day.

Astronomers concerned all those Starlink satellites are visually polluting

It's no secret that I'm really into SpaceX's Starlink program to launch 12,000 satellites that'll cover the globe with internet access. Something I never thought of (because I'm not an astronomer) is how bright all those satellites will appear in the night sky. In summer the satellites will be visible all night due to the angle of the sun, adding an incredible amount of visual pollution. Néstor Espinoza, an astrophysicist at the Max Planck Institute for Astronomy, in Heidelberg, said: "It's basically a private company staining our sky for everyone. It’s interesting that there's no consensus about it. No one asked us". Add this to the list of things to be pissed off with Elon Musk about I guess.

Cheap Dahua security cams, iTunes gift cards, Sony WH-1000XM3 headphones, Logitech Harmony Elite remote, Foxtel Now box, CEBIT free tickets

📡 Aussie Broadband is the best ISP I've used since Internode's glory days. Their CEO gives talks at AUSNOG about their network and they even have network utilisation charts for every NBN POI. Their pricing isn't the cheapest, but if you want an ISP that's fast & reliable, give them a shot. Use my affiliate link or my referral code (1001031) and we both get $50 credit on our next bill.

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

The Sizzle is created on Wathaurong land and acknowledges the traditional owners of country throughout Australia, recognising their continuing connection to land, water and community. I pay my respect to them and their cultures, and to elders both past and present.​