Show 387 – July 6, 2021
Run Sheet ~ Zarn & Michael
Our Aussie Apple Ramblings
Firstly, sorry we have not been here for a couple of weeks. I have had a cough again. Talk for a minute, cough for 5.
Story 1 ~
MS Akamai apologises after outage left Australia’s major banks and airline systems offline
ZDNet reports ~ A cyber attack was not the cause behind an Akamai outage that took down the systems of Commonwealth Bank of Australia, Australia Post, and Virgin Australia.
Akamai confirmed an outage of one of its Prolexic DDoS ( distributed denial-of-service ) services was to blame for taking down the online services of some of Australia’s major banks and airline systems on Thursday afternoon.
The company assured the issue was not caused by a system update or a cyber attack, and detailed that a routing table value used by its Prolexic DDoS services was “inadvertently exceeded”.
“The effect was an unanticipated disruption of service,” the company said.
The US-based service provider, which promotes itself as “the world’s largest and most sophisticated edge platform”, said it detected the issue immediately and impacted customers were alerted within seconds. Issues started to appear at approximately 2:20pm AEST on Thursday.
“The impact was limited to Akamai customers using version 3.0 of the Routed service,” the company confirmed in a post.
“Many of the approximately 500 customers using this service were automatically rerouted, which restored operations within a few minutes. The large majority of the remaining customers manually rerouted shortly thereafter.”
Affected customers included three of the four major Australian banks — Commonwealth Bank of Australia, Westpac, and ANZ — as well as Australia Post and Virgin Australia. Each of them took to Twitter to inform customers of the problem.
Story 2 ~
ZK Optus hit by widespread network outage
itnews reports ~ on a similar vein, Optus suffered a widespread outage of its mobile and internet services on last Friday, with users in cities across Australia experiencing problems for several hours.
Customers started complaining of service issues across the country’s east coast just before 10:30am AEST on Friday.
Ookla’s Downdector service showed spikes in outage reports in Sydney and Brisbane, which are both under lockdown, as well as Melbourne and Canberra.
The telco’s website, including network status page, and app was also briefly down.
Optus confirmed the outage at just after 11am, and said it was working to restore the impacted services as soon as possible.
“Optus is aware of an outage that may be impacting Optus services. We are aiming to restore these services as a priority,” it said on Twitter.
“We thank customers for their patience and will provide an update as soon as possible.”
Optus told iTnews at 2:30pm on Friday that while “fixed, 4G and 5G services have been restored”, some 3G users may still be experiencing issues.
All services were restored by Saturday.
“Following an incident yesterday which caused some Optus customers to experience service issues, all fixed, 3G, 4G and 5G services have been restored,” a spokesperson said
“Keeping customers connected is our priority and we apologise for any inconvenience caused.”
MS ~ trouble is, I know family who were still having issues on Sunday afternoon, with the support number having a recoding saying Optus is aware that issues were trying to be resolved!
Story 3 ~
MS Labor Bill would force Aussie organisations to disclose when they pay ransoms
The federal opposition has introduced a Bill to the House of Representatives that seeks to require organisations to disclose when they plan on paying criminals following a ransomware attack.
ZDNet again, The federal opposition has introduced a Bill to Parliament that, if passed, would require organisations to inform the Australian Cyber Security Centre (ACSC) before a payment is made to a criminal organisation in response to a ransomware attack.
The Ransomware Payments Bill 2021 was introduced in the House of Representatives on Monday by Shadow Assistant Minister for Cyber Security Tim Watts.
According to Watts, such a scheme would be a policy foundation for a “coordinated government response to the threat of ransomware, providing actionable threat intelligence to inform law enforcement, diplomacy, and offensive cyber operations”.
The ransom payment notification scheme created by the Bill, Watts said, would be the starting point for a comprehensive plan to tackle ransomware. It follows his party in February calling for a national ransomware strategy focused on reducing the number of such attacks on Australian targets.
At the time, Watts, alongside Shadow Minister for Home Affairs Kristina Keneally, declared that due to ransomware being the biggest threat facing Australia, it was time for a strategy to thwart it.
The Bill introduced by Watts would require large businesses and government entities that choose to make ransomware payments to notify the ACSC before they make the payment.
“This will allow our signals intelligence and law enforcement agencies to collect actionable intelligence on where this money is going so they can track and target the responsible criminal groups,” Watts said. “And it will help others in the private sector by providing de-identified actionable threat intelligence that they can use to defend their networks.”
Story 4 ~
ZK Beware, This Bizarre Wi-Fi Network Name Can Break Your iPhone
iDROPNEWS reports ~ Every so often we see reports about how weird text strings can break things on an iPhone, but in this case, we’re seeing a new twist on the age-old problem.
One security researcher has discovered that a specially formatted Wi-Fi network name can wreak havoc on your wireless connectivity.
Traditionally, these sorts of problems have affected the Messages app, which is why Apple has baked in some pretty hardcore messaging security technologies in iOS 14.
This latest one, however, comes from an area that most of us wouldn’t have expected — a Wi-Fi network name that will confuse your iPhone or iPad to the point of shutting down your Wi-Fi connectivity entirely.
The flaw was discovered by security researcher Carl Schou, who found that creating a Wi-Fi network with the name “we are not repeating here” and joining it permanently disabled the Wi-Fi on his iPhone.
Schou noted that after doing this, he was unable to join any Wi-Fi networks, even after rebooting his iPhone.
According to BleepingComputer, which first reported on Schou’s findings, the problem occurs on both an iPhone XS running iOS 14.4.2 — which was the model that Schou first encountered it on — and any iPhone running iOS 14.6.
Story 5 ~
MS ACCC cites Vodafone and TPG merger for increasing mobile phone plan costs
ZDNet yet again, Competition watchdog argues that three look-alike players have resulted in consumers paying more.
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) said on Monday that the big three mobile operators — Telstra, Optus, and Vodafone — have jacked up postpaid mobile phone plan pricing and increased prices on prepaid customers by reducing expiry periods.
The ACCC said Telstra has increased its postpaid prices by AU$5 to AU$15 a month, Optus has raised prices by AU$6, and Vodafone has spiked its prices by AU$5 and AU$40 coupled with “heavy discounting and temporary bonus inclusions”.
For prepaid plans, the watchdog said Telstra has reduced 35 and 42-day plans down to 28 days, which was effectively a 25% to 50% increase, Optus kept its prepaid plans stable, while Vodafone increased its prepaid plans by 25% by reducing its 35-day recharge down to 28 days.
ACCC chair Rod Sims took the opportunity to take a swing at the Federal Court decision to approve the TPG-Vodafone merger in February 2020.
“The ACCC opposed the merger of TPG and Vodafone because we were concerned it would lead to higher mobile prices, and result in three similar providers with little incentive to compete strongly,” Sims said.
“Despite evidence showing the three mobile network owners reacted strongly to the potential competitive threat of a new TPG network, the court considered that the merger would be pro-competitive, allowing Vodafone to compete more effectively against Telstra and Optus.
“When markets end up with a smaller group of large look-alike players with stable positions, competition is muted and consumers pay more.”
Consumers could save up to AU$25 a month if they switched to other providers with similar data inclusion, the ACCC said.
“We suspect many customers who have recently had their mobile provider justify a price increase with higher data usage would prefer the previously available lower monthly fee in exchange for a lower data allowance,” Sims said.
“Before changing over, we encourage consumers to compare different providers’ geographic coverage, and consider their individual needs, as not all providers offer the same coverage.”
TPG hit back against the claims from the ACCC, with a spokesperson saying they were “simplistic and misleading”.
“The ACCC’s conclusions even contradict its own Communications Market Report which found prices paid by customers are down 16.7 per cent in 2020 compared to 2019,” the spokesperson said.
“The ACCC is out of touch to suggest that mobile providers, as commercial businesses, are not competing hard for customers every day. The bottom line is, we are offering better value and a better network experience because we’re able to compete harder for customers after the merger.”
The company added the prices cited by the ACCC were not the ones paid by customers due to “rolling promotions”, and that customers were paying 50% less.
MS my personal experience is that Telstra upped my account by $5 / month recently WITH NO added benefit
Story 6 ~
MS Picture-in-picture is finally coming to YouTube for iOS users
thanks to Mashable, it’s finally on its way, folks. YouTube will allow iOS free users to keep consuming content in the background — at least, kind of.
It comes in the form of a picture-in-picture (PIP) feature, where you’ll be able to exit the YouTube app and still have your video play in a smaller screen that remains on the screen. This is different from the previous minimise feature, where users can make their current video play in a smaller screen but only while they’re still browsing within the YouTube app.
There is a catch, of course. According to MacRumors, the PIP feature is coming to Premium subscribers first (it’s currently rolling out). But YouTube does promise that the feature will be available to all users, paying or not, sometime soon.
How To ~
MS Apple Public Betas are out ~ important word being Beta
So far I have installed the iPadOS 15 on my Gen5 iPad, Beta 1 & 2 and my Gen1 iPad Pro 12.9, Beta2 without issues
Also Public Betas of tvOS 15, watchOS 8 and iOS 15.
The only issue I have come across is a Shortcuts issue in iOS15. It wont open a particular file after appending 2 lines of text to it. Also I had to add the suffix to the file name in the Shortcut.
It is a Shortcut that adds a date and time, add a line, add town name, add a line to a text document when I connect and dis-connect CarPlay.
BUT remember these are Betas and can change over time!
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Over to Zarn for the sign off
ZK The now infamous “Sign Off”