Issue 1513 - Monday 13th December, 2021

In Today's Issue

The News

Log4j has a massive security hole everyone's rushing around to patch

A huge vulnerability in Log4j (a common Java-based logging utility used on many websites) is causing IT departments around the world to be working way harder than they should be for mid-December. According to Sophos' Naked Security blog, this flaw is an "uncomplicated, reliable, by-design remote code execution (RCE), triggered by user-supplied data that may ironically be getting logged for auditing or security purposes" and Cloudflare reckons it is "likely one of the most serious vulnerabilities on the Internet since both Heartbleed and ShellShock". Minecraft is ripe for abuse, so if you're running a server for the kiddies, update it.

UK agrees to extradite Julian Assange to the USA

The UK High Court has granted the USA's request to extradite Julian Assange. The US promised the UK he will be treated humanely, but still, the USA literally planned to kidnap or assassinate him! He's appealed, but in the meantime he is rotting away in a UK prison despite not being guilty of anything. Julian is a bit of a maligned figure in Australia but he's an old school hacker. I read about Julian's (aka Mendax) antics in Suelette Dreyfus' book Underground when I was 13 and it was probably formative for my current views on computers and digital rights, so I have a soft spot for the dude and hope he can return to Australia a free man soon.

Australia continues splashing in the tech diplomacy kiddie pool alongside the USA

Australia, Japan and the USA are paying for a nice bit of fibre optic cable to hook up Micronesia, Kiribati and Nauru to the existing HANTRU-1 cable. Chinese companies were gonna do it but we swung our dicks first. It's the least we could do for these countries before drowning them in a decade thanks to our refusal to cut the use of fossil fuels. Also in tech diplomacy, Australia has joined other US allies in pledging to address "the misuse of certain dual-use technologies that can lead to human rights abuses" and ensure that "critical and emerging technologies work for and not against democratic societies". China and Russia were not invited.

Something I Saw On The Internet

Five nerdy DIY things I spotted recently


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.