Aussie Mac Zone ~ Episode 257

Show 257 – Oct 1, 2018

Run Sheet ~ Zarn & Michael

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Our Aussie Apple Ramblings

Story 1

NSW focuses on risk in AU$20m cybersecurity strategy

The New South Wales government on Friday published its cybersecurity strategy, taking a whole-of-government view on how to manage risk, borrowing the framework laid out by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST).

The 20-page strategy focuses on six themes: Lead, prepare, prevent, detect, respond, and recover, that form the state’s Action Plan.

Notably, the strategy points to the creation of a mandatory cyber incident reporting scheme, inter-agency information-sharing, and cybersecurity-focused training for public servants.

During the Auditor-General’s probe, it was revealed that out of the 10 agencies investigated, two have good detection and response processes, four had a medium capability to detect and respond to incidents in a timely manner, and the remaining four had a low capability.

While it was found most agencies have incident response procedures, some lacked guidance on who to notify and when, while some did not have response procedures at all.

The strategy that hopes to remedy this will be guided by the Cyber Security Senior Officers Group (CSSOG), which was established under the office of the government chief information security office (GCISO).


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Story 2

Apple flaw lets hackers steal business passwords

Many businesses choose to spend more on Apple smartphones and computers because they’re supposed to be safer than more affordable alternatives running Android or Windows. But they’re not completely bulletproof.

Researchers have discovered a worrying flaw in one Apple service that allows hackers to steal business passwords from macOS and iOS devices.

Apple has made business customers a big focus in recent years as it looks to steal marketshare from its rivals. It has even entered into partnerships with the likes of IBM, Accenture, and Salesforce to build better business apps.

It seems, however, that you should be careful about using Apple devices in business right now.

Security flaw discovered in Apple Device Enrolment Program

Researchers with Duo Security have discovered a flaw in Apple’s Device Enrolment Program (DEP) — which helps companies manage and secure their Mac and iOS devices — that makes it possible to steal Wi-Fi and application passwords.

The hack involves enrolling a rogue device in the DEP system, then registering it with a company’s mobile device management (MDM) server. There are a number of methods that can be used to do this.

Apple is aware of the problem

Duo has reported this issue to Apple — it did so back in May — but Apple hasn’t confirmed whether or not anything would be done about it.

Apple told Forbes that the possible attacks don’t exploit a vulnerability in its own products, and the company does recommend that businesses use authentication. Nevertheless, Barclay is “confident some changes will be made.”

Please


Story 3

Calls for collaboration in government digital transformation

Former CEO of Telstra believes technology can be the enabler and driver of the future of the Australian public service.

Risk practice in the federal government is inconsistent and sometimes rudimentary, resulting in the limiting of innovation across the Australian public sector, according to CSIRO chair David Thodey.

“There is an obsession with downside risk and little evidence that upside or shared risks are considered,” he said, addressing the CPA Congress in Canberra on Thursday. “This limits innovation and constrains good leaders and employees from getting things done.

“Shared risks are a particularly serious issue for the Commonwealth who need to collaborate with others more often to deliver on large and complicated issues.”

Thodey said that in order for the Australian Public Service (APS) to be capable of delivering on the expectations of the future, public-private partnerships — as well as inter-government collaboration — will be key.

He believes technology can be the enabler and driver of the future of the public service.


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Story 4

NSW driverless shuttle completes first passenger trip

The Smart Shuttle at Sydney Olympic Park will start officially moving passengers next week.

The New South Wales government has welcomed the first passengers on its Driverless Smart Shuttle at Sydney Olympic Park, with the service set to officially start next week, marking stage two of the state’s driverless trial.

Through its Smart Innovation Centre — a hub for the “collaborative” research and development of safe and efficient emerging transport technology — the NSW government in August last year partnered with HMI Technologies, NRMA, Telstra, IAG, and the Sydney Olympic Park Authority to conduct a two-year trial of the shuttle.

Legislation was passed alongside the formation of the hub to approve trials of automated vehicles. The hub has since added the University of Technology Sydney.

The legislation allows government to partner with industry, researchers, and universities to be a testing ground for automated vehicles, with the trial touted as bringing driverless cars a step closer to reality in Australia.


Story 5

​SA Education signs Civica to digitally transform 900 state schools

The Department for Education South Australia has announced a digital transformation initiative it hopes will raise education standards across all government schools and preschools in the state.

Turning to Civica, the Department will be implementing the Civica Education Suite across 900 state schools, including preschools, primary schools, high schools, and various other educational institutions.

The Education Management software-as-a-service solution is expected to improve learning and care, improve analytics and reporting, and improve tools to support management of sites, with the department also hoping to have consistency in systems across sites to improve reliability, support, resourcing, and training.

According to department CIO Scott Bayliss, the SaaS offering will streamline school management tasks and allow teachers to provide individualised learning, as the software can track and report on each student’s progress.


Story 6

How a coding error made 293 Subaru SUVs unusable

A software error has caused Subaru to completely dispose of 293 of its Ascent 2019 SUVs. According to a safety recall report filed with National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), robots at missed critical welds, thanks to improper coding.

The robots missed welds on the cars’ B-pillars which holds the hinges to the second row doors. This gaff reduced the cars’ body strength, and could lead to passengers being injured in a crash.

The company said that there is no physical remedy available to fix these cars, and as such, all of them will be destroyed instead of being refurbished. It added that thankfully, only nine units were sold to the customers; all of them will receive replacements.

Subaru said that the defect was found in cars assembled between July 13 and July 21. However, not all the cars assembled during that time had defects. It discovered the widespread flaw when it launched an internal investigation after it initially spotted a single defective vehicle during an audit in July.

Earlier this month, General Motors had to recall 1.2 million vehicles because a bug caused the Electronic Power Steering system to momentarily malfunction. Although, unlike Subaru’s incident, a software fix was enough to solve the problem. Tesla customers have complained about software crashes multiple times, which had to be fixed through over-the-air updates.

Stout’s 2018 report of Warranty and Recall suggests companies recalled nearly 8 million vehicles in 2017 because of a software or integrated circuit issue.

As vehicles and their production processes continue to rely more and more on software, automakers’ development practices must become more stringent and aim for higher quality releases to ensure customers’ safety.


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Story 7

iPhone XS and XS Max reveals some battery surprises

It’s once again that time when the iFixit team get their hands on the new iPhones and carry out their usual detailed teardown. And as is the case, the teardown of the new iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max has revealed some interesting details that Apple didn’t tell us about during the unveiling.

The first interesting revelation is that the iPhone XS has a smaller battery than the one found inside last year’s iPhone X — 10.13Wh compared to 10.35Wh. According to iFixit, the reason for this is that in moving from a design that featured a dual-battery, the iPhone XS uses a single-celled L-shaped battery. In order to create a battery with six corners, Apple had to add notches to the corners to handle thermal expansion, and this in turn reduced the capacity of the battery.

The iPhone XS Max continues to make use of a dual-battery system, and this has a capacity of 12.08Wh.

As for the waterproofing of the new iPhones being bumped up from IP67 to IP68, the iFixit team couldn’t find any signs of additional seals or gaskets compared to last year’s models, leading them to believe that Apple may have erred on the side of caution and undersold the waterproofing capabilities of the handsets.

iFixit gave both the iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max a 6 out of 10 on the repairability scale, down in part to how easy it is to replace the display and battery, but breaking the back glass still leaves you in a world of hurt.


Some stories

Houston mayor pushes back against proposed ‘robot brothel’

A Canadian company wants to open a so-called “robot brothel” in Houston, but is getting pushback from officials and community groups, with the mayor saying the city is reviewing its ordinances to determine if they address public safety and health concerns potentially associated with the business.

Mayor Sylvester Turner says he’s not trying to be the “moral police” but that this is not the type of business he wants opening in the city.

Kinky S Dolls says it’s opening a “love dolls brothel” in Houston. It opened a similar venue in Toronto in 2017. The company hasn’t returned a call or email seeking comment Thursday.

Google criticised for Chrome change that logs users in without telling them

The issue is complex, but it revolves around how and when people choose to log in to the Chrome browser (which is different than logging in to Google services like Gmail). In past versions of the browser, this was a voluntary step. Doing so means users can sync information like bookmarks, passwords, and browsing history between devices, a feature Google calls “Chrome Sync.” It also means that their user data is stored on Google’s servers — something that some people are understandably unhappy about.

But with Chrome 69, the latest version of the browser, whenever someone logs in to a Google service like Gmail or YouTube, they are now automatically logged in to Chrome as well. This, say critics, is an underhand change that will nudge people into inadvertently sharing more data with Google.

Google remotely changed the settings on a bunch of phones running Android 9 Pie

Yesterday a mix of people who own Google Pixel phones and other devices running Android 9 Pie noticed that the software’s Battery Saver feature had been switched on — seemingly all by itself. And oddly, this was happening when the phones were near a full charge, not when the battery was low. As reported by Android Police, initially it was assumed that this was some kind of minor bug in the latest version of Android, which was only released a few weeks ago. Some users thought they might’ve just enabled Battery Saver without realising.

But it was actually Google at fault.

The company posted a message on Reddit last night acknowledging “an internal experiment to test battery saving features that was mistakenly rolled out to more users than intended.” So Google had remotely — and accidentally — changed a phone setting for a bunch of real-world customers. 

Apple Outlines Metal-Capable Cards Compatible With macOS Mojave on 2010 and 2012 Mac Pro Models

Apple’s new macOS Mojave update is not compatible with mid-2010 and mid-2012 Mac Pros with stock GPUs, but it is supported on 2010 and 2012 Mac Pro models that have been upgraded with graphics cards that support Metal. 

Apple today shared a new support document that provides a list of graphics cards that are Metal-capable, which will be useful for 2010 and 2012 Mac Pro owners who want to purchase a new graphics card to upgrade to macOS Mojave. 

You can check to see if your graphics card is compatible by holding down option while selecting Apple logo to access System Information. Under Graphics/Displays, if “Supported” is listed next to the Metal entry, the graphics card will work with macOS Mojave. 

According to Apple, once a Metal-capable graphics card has been installed in a 2010 or 2012 Mac Pro, macOS Mojave can be downloaded and installed after turning off FileVault.

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