Issue 1376 - Monday 31st May, 2021

In Today's Issue

The News

Microsoft discloses more hacks from the same group that popped SolarWinds

Microsoft is saying that a fresh round of attacks aimed at government agencies, think tanks, consultants, and non-governmental organizations was kicked off last week by Nobelium - the same crooks that ripped SolarWinds a new arsehole last year. They used the US Agency for International Development's account at Constant Contact, an email marketing service, to send legit looking phishing emails to "about 3,000 email accounts at more than 150 different organizations" claiming to have "new information" on 2020 election fraud, but actually contain malware that according to Microsoft, provides "persistent access to compromised machines". Microsoft doesn't explicitly say how Nobelium got access to Constant Contact, but reading between the lines, it's likely info gained in the SolarWinds hack helped.

AHRC raises many good points about human rights and technology

The Australian Human Rights Commission wants the government to set up a AI Safety Commissioner and while they're at it, stop the use of facial recognition technology and algorithms in decision making processes. This point of view has come about after a 3 year investigation, the results of which are published in a report titled "Human Rights and Technology". The AHRC wants to make it a "a legal obligation that individuals are notified when AI is materially used in making an administrative decision, and that a decision cannot be made using AI if the reasons or technical explanation for it cannot be produced". Yet another series of good and sensible things our government will ignore.

Amazon's mesh network, Sidewalk, goes live June 8th

Amazon Sidewalk is launching soon in the USA. I've mentioned it here once or twice, but if you forgot it's a radio network that uses either Bluetooth LE or the 900 MHz band (LoRa or Amazon's own protocol) to "help simplify new device setup, extend the low-bandwidth working range of devices to help find pets or valuables with Tile trackers, and help devices stay online even if they are outside the range of their home wifi". Essentially it's Apple's Find My network, but beefed up. What's shitting people however, is Amazon leeching up to around 500MB of data per month from users with Sidewalk bridge devices (e.g: Amazon devices connected to wi-fi and have Bluetooth or a 900MHz radio) unless you opt out. This is US only, but if it goes well there I don't see why Amazon wouldn't do the same here.

Something I Saw On The Internet

Upcoming game Humankind feels like Civilization, but different

I stumbled across a game called Humankind lately and it looks like a re-interpretation of one of my all time favourite video game series, Civilization. I didn't know this but there's a whole genre of games like Civilization called "4X games", where the aim is to "explore, expand, exploit and exterminate", and Humankind is one of them. It doesn't come out until August 21st, but there's heaps of videos showing off the gameplay, as the developers of Humankind have been highlighting their work on YouTube as they inch closer to release. I can't really tell how it differs that much from Civ, but I look forward to dropping $60 or whatever on Steam for it in late August. Might treat myself to a new GPU too if the crypto miners piss off.

Bargains

The End

📻 Self Explained - Cherry Glazerr

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