Issue 1473 - Friday 15th October, 2021

In Today's Issue

The News

Services Australia has tripled its spend on Cellebrite phone hacking devices

Don't do anything that'll piss off Services Australia, as they'll use Cellebrite's data extraction tech to siphon information out of your smartphone to use against you. Normally cops use Cellebrite to bypass encryption on locked devices they want to look at in order to solve a crime, but now the department responsible for Centrelink is using it for God knows what. Services Australia doesn't say which of its programs (i.e: Jobseeker, Medicare, pensions) it'll pull out Cellebrite for. What we do know is that spending on Cellebrite by Services Australia jumped from $460,000 last year to $1.2m this year, so they're enjoying whatever it is they're doing.

US state of Missouri upset a newspaper found a flaw in website, labels them hackers and calls the cops

Lots of infosec types are angry with the Governor of Missouri who called a press conference and said "it is unlawful to access encoded data and systems in order to examine other peoples' personal information. We are coordinating state resources to respond and utilize all legal methods available". Wow, must have been a massive cyber attack! Hope those nasty hackers get their comeuppance. Oh, wait - this hacker is a newspaper that found "Social Security numbers of school teachers and administrators were vulnerable to public exposure due to flaws on a website maintained by Missouri's department of education"??? And they "decoded the HTML source code" to get this information?! Outrageous.

HTC's Vive Flow is the latest VR glasses contraption

HTC's got a new VR headset, sorry, "VR glasses" for ya to look stupid wearing - the Vive Flow. Unlike HTC's other headsets that are aimed at gaming and high end performance, the Vive Flow's marketing materials focus on "meditation", "ASMR", "brain training" and "collaborating and socialising". There's little specs available, but the Vive Flow appears to have its own processing unit (some sort of SoC with 4GB of RAM) embedded into the glasses but requires an Android smartphone with HDCP 2.2 to use all its features. Like the Oculus Quest, the Vive Flow supports "six degrees of freedom" but uses fewer cameras than the Oculus, so it could suck. Not available for pre-order in Australia, but in the US it's US$499 and will ship in November.

Something I Saw On The Internet

Venueless looks like a neat way to host an online conference

Online events, whilst inspired by the pandemic, are here to stay. Maybe they'll be augmented with meatspace sessions, but you gotta admit it's nice to be able to watch talks from the comfort of your own home and join a temporary group chat with people into the same thing as you. If you're in the fortunate position to be planning such an event, check out Venueless. I can't remember the event I attended that used Venueless (maybe it was Linuxconf??), but it was impressive enough that me, as someone who has run large-ish in-person conferences, decided to bookmark it so I'd tell you about it.

Friday Forum Update

Here's five interesting discussions over on The Sizzle's paid subscriber forum for you to enjoy over the weekend. If you are not a paid subscriber but want to get involved, visit to get onboard.


The End

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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.‚Äč