2019 Newsletter: 39/61 — PreviousNext — (Attach.)

Sydney Harbour

Hello and Welcome,

Meeting This Week:

Penrith Group - Saturday Aug 3rd - 2:00 pm - 5:00 pm

The meeting normally starts with a Q&A session around the table to enable members to share problems, advice and computer tips.

The group will then discuss any further technology or computer topics of interest.

Meetings Next Week:

Friday Forum - Friday Aug 9th - 9:30 am (10:00 am meeting start) - 12 noon
Communications - Friday Aug 9th - 1:00 pm - 3:00 pm

Current & Upcoming Meetings:

55 2019/08/03 - 14:00-17:00 - 03 Aug, Saturday - Penrith Group
56 2019/08/09 - 09:30-12:30 - 09 Aug, Friday - Friday Forum
57 2019/08/09 - 12:30-15:30 - 09 Aug, Friday - Communications
58 2019/08/13 - 17:30-20:30 - 13 Aug, Tuesday - Programming
59 2019/08/17 - 13:30-16:30 - 17 Aug, Saturday - Web Design - TENTATIVE
60 2019/08/20 - 09:30-12:30 - 20 Aug, Tuesday - Tuesday Forum
61 2019/08/20 - 12:30-15:30 - 20 Aug, Tuesday - Main Meeting - DAYTIME-MEETING
62 2019/08/23 - 09:30-12:30 - 23 Aug, Friday - Digital Photography

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Tech News:

“Warning: free hotel wifi is a hacker's dream”:

See The Guardian article by John Naughton | Sun 7 Jul 2019 16.00 AEST.

Hotel systems are so leaky it's worth investing in your own virtual private network.

You've just arrived at the hotel after a delayed flight and a half-hour wrangle with the car-hire firm. And then you remember that you've forgotten to pay last month's credit card bill, and there'll be an interest charge if you wait until you're back at base. But — hey! — you can do it online and help is at hand. The receptionist is welcoming and helpful. They have wifi and it's free. Relieved, you ask for the password. "Oh, you don't need one," he replies. "Just type in your room number and click the box."

Phew! Problem solved. Er, not necessarily. At this point the human race divides into two groups. Call them sheep and goats. Sheep are sweet, trusting folks who like to think well of their fellow humans. Surely that helpful receptionist would not knowingly offer a dangerous service. Also, they find digital technology baffling and intimidating. And they cannot imagine why anything they do online might be of interest to anyone.

Goats, on the other hand, have nasty, suspicious minds. They believe that many of their fellow humans may be up to something. They believe that, in this networked world, only the paranoid survive. So when they see an open, free wifi network they smell a rat. And they would never, ever send confidential information via such a channel.

Sadly, in this particular context, the goats are wiser than the sheep. They know that hotel chains have become a coveted target of hackers. Many of the industry's biggest operators have reported data breaches in recent years, including big names such as Hilton, InterContinental, Marriott and Hyatt. Most of these attacks, according to Bloomberg, are focused on the property management systems (PMS) used by hotel chains to take reservations, issue room keys and store credit card data.


In the meantime, what can travelling holidaymakers do to protect themselves? The short answer is to invest in — and install — virtual private network (VPN) software on any device that travels with you. A VPN functions as an encrypted tunnel to a special server located somewhere on the internet. If you connect to the Observer through a VPN, for example, then the VPN server connects to the paper on your behalf. And because all the traffic is encrypted it's gobbledegook to any snooper, which means that you can safely use hotel (and café) wifi networks wherever you go.

Read more »

“Why is iTWire checking my browser?”:

Samsung says Galaxy Fold issues fixed, launch in September by Sam Varghese | Thursday, 25 July 2019 11:51.

iTWire checking my browser before going to web story
Checking my browser

[ The above delaying message has appeared in my browser when trying to access some iTWire articles in recent weeks.

I'm using the Vivaldi browser and the delay is often up to 30 seconds. It doesn't happen every time — probably a cookie thing.

Can anyone explain this behaviour? Some sort of DDoS vetting by Cloudflare? — Ed. ]

Smartphone manufacturer Samsung Electronics has announced that it has fixed the issues that caused it to put off the release of its Galaxy Fold foldable device and will be releasing it in selected markets in September.


Read more »

“US calls for backdoors in apps that use encryption”:

See the iTWire article by Sam Varghese | Wednesday, 24 July 2019 10:24.

The United States has called for the creation of backdoors in apps that use encryption, arguing that consumers should accept this risk to allow law enforcement access to encrypted communications.

In a speech to an international conference on cyber security in New York on Tuesday, attorney-general William Barr said: "While we should not hesitate to deploy encryption to protect ourselves from cyber criminals, this should not be done in a way that eviscerates society's ability to defend itself against other types of criminal threats."

"In other words, making our virtual world more secure should not come at the expense of making us more vulnerable in the real world. But, unfortunately, this is what we are seeing today."

On Twitter:

Jake Williams @MalwareJake Replying to @MalwareJake

If you report on the US (or a "friendly" government) requesting/demanding/whining about encryption backdoors, it's your DUTY to ask whether we're okay with every country on the planet accessing the backdoors too. This is Pandora's Box. It was never meant to be opened.

bSAMS @bobsams8 Jul 23 Replying to @MalwareJake

Like, surely they can see that if a back-door is purposefully built into a product, that aggressors will do everything in their power to be able to access that same back door. Then, suddenly all these duty cell phones become spy tools.

Barr called on technology firms to do more to provide government in gaining access to devices once they had a legal order to do so.

He did not rule out the passing of legislation to force technology companies to create backdoors, in the same way that Australia has done.

Read more »

“ISP backs NBN Co's efforts to make gigabit speeds possible on HFC”:

See iTWire article by Sam Varghese | Monday, 22 July 2019 10:10.

The NBN Co's efforts to make it possible to get gigabit speeds on HFC will help alleviate the scaling problem that exists due to the pricing model for CVC, according to the head of a small ISP.

Damian Ivereigh, chief executive of the Launceston-based Launtel, told iTWire in response to queries that he was looking forward to having the technology turned on.

"We would also like to see how the service performs in the real world with multiple services, given that HFC is by its nature a shared infrastructure," he added.

Earlier this month, the NBN Co said it had achieved trial download speeds of 994Mbps on the HFC network, using next-generation DOCSIS 3.1 technology.

The trials were conducted in Templestowe in outer Melbourne and the company said they demonstrated the potential for around 2.5 million homes and businesses that use or are due to be connected to the HFC access network across Australia.

The rollout of the national broadband network is due to be completed next year, with fibre to the home (brownfields and greenfields) going to 1.9 million premises, fibre to the node supplying 4.7 million, fibre to the curb 1.4 million, fixed wireless 600,000 and satellite 400,000.

Read more »

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Bob Backstrom
~ Newsletter Editor ~

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