Show 388 – July 13, 2021
Run Sheet ~ Zarn & Michael
Our Aussie Apple Ramblings
Story 1 ~
MS Aussies have lost over AU$7 million to remote access scams already this year
ZDNet reports ~ Older Australians are still letting scammers access their computers with AU$7 million lost already this year, mostly to those over the age of 55.
In the first six months of 2021, Australians lost over AU$7 million by letting scammers access their home computers — up 184% when compared to last year.
The latest data from the ACCC’s Scamwatch reveals so far this year almost 6,500 Australians have reported phone calls from scammers trying to convince them to download software that gives access to home computers and their bank accounts.
“Remote access scams are one of the largest growing scam types in Australia. Scammers take advantage of the digital world and the fear of fraud and cybercrime to access people’s devices and steal their money,” ACCC deputy chair Delia Rickard said.
“These types of scams target and impact all people and can be convincing.”
People aged 55 and over lost over AU$4.4 million, accounting for almost half of total losses. Young people reported losing on average AU$20,000 and eight Indigenous Australians, some in remote communities, lost a total of AU$38,000, across 84 reports.
The ACCC said the scammers pretend to be from organisations such as Telstra, eBay, NBN Co, Amazon, banks, government organisations, police, and computer and IT support organisations.
Telstra was impersonated 1,730 times, with reported losses of AU$1.95 million, followed by NBN Co with 1,023 reports and reported losses of AU477,980.
The scammer’s modus operandi is to create a sense of urgency to make victims provide access to their computers via remote access software. A common tactic used by the scammers, too, is to say the victim has been billed for a purchase they didn’t make, then convince the victim their device has been compromised, or account “hacked”, as a result.
“The scammer will pretend to assist you or ask you to assist them to catch the scammer,” the ACCC cautioned. “They will tell you to download remote control software such as AnyDesk or TeamViewer.”
Once the scammer has control of the device, they will ask the individual to log into applications such as emails, internet banking, or PayPal accounts, which is how they obtain the log-in credentials.
“It is really important not to let anyone who contacts you out of the blue access your devices, as once you give them access, you have no way of knowing what the person will do to your computer or what programs they may install,” Rickard added.
“If you receive contact from someone claiming to be from a telecommunications company, a technical support service provider or online marketplace, hang up. If you think the communication may have been legitimate, independently source the contact details for the organisation to contact them. Don’t use the contact details in the communication.”
“Also, don’t click on any of the links.”
Australians in 2020 lost a total of AU$8.4 million to remote access scams.
So as the family and friends tech people WE must keep telling them what NOT to do!!
Story 2 ~
ZK Epic Games antitrust case against Apple gets go-ahead in Australia as we await US ruling
9TO5Mac reports ~ We’re still awaiting a US ruling in the Epic Games antitrust case against Apple, but the games company has now received the go-ahead to take the same case to court in Australia.
Apple had successfully blocked legal proceedings in the country, arguing that the matter was already being decided in the US, but Epic has now managed to get that ruling overturned – at least, for now …
There can’t be many people in the tech world who aren’t aware of the basics in the dispute. Epic Games argues that Apple holds monopolistic power over iOS apps, and uses that power in anti-competitive ways.
Specifically, it argues that developers have no option but to allow Apple to take a 15% or 30% cut of their revenue from iOS apps and in-app purchases. The Cupertino company doesn’t allow them to use alternative payment platforms within apps, and doesn’t even let them tell users where else they can subscribe.
Epic took Apple to court in the US, both parties made their arguments and we’re now waiting for the judge to make a ruling.
The smart money is on some kind of compromise, either determined by the court, or enacted by Apple, to fend off the many other antitrust pressures the company faces, both in the US and in many other countries. I’ve argued previously that a compromise ruling by the judge might actually be the best outcome for Apple.
Epic Games antitrust case in Australia
Epic tried to make the same case in Australia. Apple argued that this was inappropriate, since the matter was already before a US court, and that case should complete first. The court agreed, but Epic appealed.
The Australian Financial Review reports that Epic has now won its appeal, and can bring the case to trial.
Story 3 ~
MS Apple stock hits record joins big tech party
FOX Business reports ~ At $2.4T Apple is the world’s most valuable company.
Apple is joining the big tech investor party that’s been underway already this year.
Shares of the world’s most valuable company are sitting near record levels after reaching the milestone, the first since January 26 of 2021, as tracked by Dow Jones Market Data Group, last week.
“The big money flows are heading right now into Amazon, Apple, Google, Facebook, Microsoft with a smattering of others and I think it continues at least into earnings which is about three weeks away,” said Gary Kaltbaum, Capital Management President. Apple is set to report earnings after the close of trading on July 27.
Despite its gains, Apple is still lagging its big-tech peers including Google with a 44% rise. Microsoft and Facebook are up over 25%+ apiece and Amazon has gained 13.5% recently hitting a fresh all-time high as CEO Andy Jassy took over from founder Jeff Bezos this week. With Apple up only 9.4%
G#1 ~ ZK
Pokémon GO surpasses $5 billion in revenue as it turns 5 years old
9TO5Mac again ~ Pokémon GO is celebrating its 5th anniversary this week and next with in-app events and more. Along with the milestone, new data is out showing the hit AR game bringing in a grand total of over $5 billion since its launch in 2016.
Sensor Tower shared a new report highlighting Pokémon GO’s continued growth when it comes to players’ in-app spending. When comparing the first half of 2021 to 2020, revenue for the game was up an impressive 34% at $642 million for iOS and Android.
Impressively, that marked the biggest increase in 1H revenue since the game launched. But 2020 ended up being the game’s biggest year ever with a total of $1.3 billion in revenue, so to top that, Pokémon GO will need to continue its growth in the 2H 2021.
Other interesting data from Sensor Tower includes the US being the all-time top revenue generator for the game with almost 37% of the total $5B+. Pokémon GO has over 600 million total downloads across iOS and Android with the US leading that metric as well.
To date, Pokémon GO has picked up approximately 632 million downloads. The U.S. ranks No. 1 for installs, generating 115.5 million downloads, or 18.3 percent of the total. Brazil ranks No. 2 for installs, while India rounds out the top three.
While $5 billion from one game is a massive success, when looking at the bigger picture, that represents just 5% of the total $100 billion that the Pokémon franchise has created since debuting in 1996.
#1 ~ MS
A parody of iconic musicals, “Schmigadoon!” is a new musical comedy series executive produced by Lorne Michaels and starring Emmy Award nominee Cecily Strong and Emmy Award winner Keegan-Michael Key as a couple on a backpacking trip designed to reinvigorate their relationship when they discover a magical town in which everyone is living in a studio musical from the 1940s.
They then discover that they can’t leave until they find “true love.”
#2 ~ MS
My wife and I have been enjoying
All the shows, Home Before Dark, Mosquito Coast, Lisey’s Story and Physical.
With more coming soon including Central Park, CODA and Ted Lasso!
Story 4 ~
MS Apple expands universal App Store + Apple Store gift cards to Canada and Australia
Last year in the US, Apple overhauled its gift cards taking them from two separate products to a single one that works with the App Store/iTunes Store and Apple Stores. Now the new Apple Gift Cards have launched in Canada and Australia.
Spotted by Basic Apple Guy on Twitter, the unified Apple Gift Cards launched with a new landing page showing up on the company’s Canadian website today. And we noticed at 9to5Mac that they are also available in Australia.
We previously noted the trouble with the old approach of two separate types of Apple gift cards:
The similarity between the two types of cards meant that customers often purchased Apple Store Gift Cards when they really wanted App Store credit, or tried to use App Store & iTunes Gift Cards at a physical Apple Store. Apple even offered a page dedicated to explaining the difference.
Like the Apple Gift Card in the US, the launch in Canada and Australia means you can buy and send physical or digital versions of the unified gift cards with a variety of designs to choose from.
Standard denominations come in $25, $50, $100, or you can choose a custom amount. Apple still accepts old gift cards which remain valid for the products or services they were originally designated for.
And you can also add money directly to your Apple Account Balance.
ps iTunes gift cards can be found on special at stores like Woolies and Coles. This may change now that that you could buy a Mac at 10%-15% off with these new cards.
But keep a look out and let us know!
Story 5 ~
MS Experts warn of drive failures impacting users of Apple’s AirPort Time Capsules
9TO5Mac again ~ Experts are warning of a potential flaw that could affect Mac users who still rely on Apple Time Capsules for backup. Even though Apple discontinued the Time Capsule in 2018, the product is still in use by many Mac users, and a flaw in the Seagate drive inside could put data at risk.
The news was first reported by the German data recovery company Datenrettung Berlin (via Golem). In the Time Capsules, Apple used Seagate Grenada hard drives. These drives are now suffering from an apparent design flaw that is leading to abnormally high failure rates, according to Datenrettung:
We must assume that this is an error in the design of the Seagate Grenada hard drive installed in the Time Capsule (ST3000DM001 / ST2000DM001 2014-2018). The parking ramp of this hard drive consists of two different materials. Sooner or later, the parking ramp will break on this hard drive model, installed in a rather poorly ventilated Time Capsule.
The damage to the parking ramp then causes the write/read unit to be destroyed and severely deformed the next time the read/write unit is parked. When the Time Capsule is now turned on again or wakes up from hibernation, the data disks of the Seagate hard drive are destroyed because the deformed read-write unit drags onto it.
Datenrettung says that this failure in the Seagate drive design is the cause behind nearly every Time Capsule failure it has seen. It says that while data recovery is sometimes possible, it requires “very high effort,” and in some cases, the data is not fully recoverable.
Datenrettung recommends that users with a Time Capsule with 2TB or 3TB of storage look for an alternative backup solution. The folks at iFixit have a detailed guide on how you can swap the hard drive in an AirPort Time Capsule for something more reliable.
Replacement how to
Story 6 ~
ZK NSW Education Dept downed by cyber attack
Goes offline just before the start of a new term.
INFORMATIONAGE reports ~ The NSW Department of Education was hit by an apparent cyber attack on Wednesday.
In a notice published on Thursday, the department said it took precautionary measures, shutting down many of its systems including the online portal teachers were using in preparation for the new school term.
“The timing of this creates considerable challenges for staff as we prepare for the start of Term 3,” Georgina Harrisson, NSW Education Secretary, said.
“Thankfully, our teams have been able to isolate the issues and we are working to reactivate services as soon as possible.”
NSW Police confirmed for Information Age that its was made aware of the incident on Wednesday afternoon and its cyber detectives are investigating the matter.
With NSW heading into its third week of lockdown, students in the greater Sydney area will be forced to start the first week of a new term in online classrooms.
Some people joked on social media that the security came from a disgruntled ICT student looking to get a few extra days off school, likening it to the modern day version of pulling a fire alarm, but the education department assured students and teachers alike that systems would be back online by Monday.
“I am confident we will have the issue resolved soon and want to reassure teachers and parents that there will be no impact on students learning from home next week,” Harrisson said.
“Whilst we are confident all systems will be back online before Day 1, Term 3, we are making information to support home learning available on our public website so that preparations for the start of term can continue.”
Few concrete details about the incident have emerged beyond the statement from the NSW Department of Education and confirmation from NSW Police, but the state government does have some form when it comes to being victimised in cyber space.
State departments were caught up in the Accellion data breach earlier this year including Transport for NSW which subsequently had 250GB of organisational data published to the dark web.
And Service NSW was hit by an attack on its email system – which was its primary method of data transfer at the time – that saw attackers disappear with 3.8 million documents affecting 186,000 NSW residents.
An investigation into that incident found Service NSW “did not accord with best practice cyber security measures” and the state’s cyber agency even admitted earlier this year that the NSW government had a low cyber security maturity level.
How To ~
MS Reminder with a bit of time on some our hands
Go and tryout Today at Apple at Home
MS Show Promotion
Show notes link each week on show upload, the link being
there you will see the last 6 weeks shows notes
MS Email us at Michael or Zarn @ aussiemaczone.com.au
ZK However your listening to us please give us a rating. It helps others find us
MS Apple News ~ Aussie Mac Zone
(remind ~ how to Favourite)
Thanks to our supporters you our listeners!
Over to Zarn for the sign off
ZK The now infamous “Sign Off”