The Sizzle

Issue 370 - Monday, 10th April 2017


Shadow Brokers release another NSA hack
Old mate Shadow Brokers (remember them dumping some Cisco 0-days they stole from the NSA a few months ago?) are back, this time dropping another cache of NSA goodies, along with an incoherent rant about how Donald Trump is letting them down. This dump in particular includes a Solaris 0-day exploit, which might not sound useful as Solaris isn't that trendy anymore, but I bet lots of important stuff still runs on Solaris.

Hackers set off all 156 emergency sirens across Dallas
Also in naughty hacker news, some prankster in Dallas set off the city's 156 emergency sirens at midnight last Friday, haha. The city couldn't disable them until 1:20AM. That's over an hour of sirens blaring away - awesome and awful at the same time. As a result, Dallas's 911 system was flooded with calls as people thought some shit was going down. Unfortunately we don't know how it was done - the city is keeping that a secret until they can figure out how to prevent it happening again.

Ombudsman's report into Centrelink's RoboDebt reckons it ain't that bad
Remember Centerlink's RoboDebt bullshit? Their poorly setup data matching system that would hunt around various government databases to find evidence people were earning an income whilst receiving government benefits then sending them an automated letter asking them to pay it all back? But it didn't actually do that properly? The Commonwealth Ombudsman has released a report into Centerlink's RoboDebt fuck ups and said yeah, it fucked up, 20% of the debts it found were illegitimate. But overall, the system is ok and just needs some tweaks to be a little more nuanced in how it determines overpayments.

Commonwealth Bank is playing around with a quantum computer simulator
The Commonwealth Bank has created a quantum computing simulator based off UNSW's Centre of Excellence for Quantum Computation and Communication Technology. The simulator runs on Amazon Web Services and was created by a US company called QxBranch that work out of Adelaide. Whilst CBA doesn't think quantum computers will be a thing too soon, it does think it needs to prepare for the day they inevitably come. One of the key things CBA want to use it for is to analyse the massive amounts of data it has on businesses and customers. Apparently CBA is the first bank in the world to fiddle with quantum computing.

Tesla's new slim line designer solar panels
Tesla have announced some new solar panels to go with its fancy Powerwall battery. It has once again partnered with Panasonic (who it also works with to make the batteries in all its cars and Powerwalls) who will help Tesla manufacture these sleek, 325W solar panels in its Gigafactory 2 in Buffalo, New York. Tesla's aim is apparently to make solar panels that look nice on someone's roof. These panels are different to the solar roof tiles Tesla is making too. These panels go on an existing roof. The solar tiles are the roof itself. No word on pricing or availability on these slim-line Tesla solar panels.


4 Corners tonight is about Facebook collecting data on all of us
Tonight on 4 Corners is a program by Peter Greste (yeah the bloke locked up in Egypt) about Facebook, trying to find out what data it has on us and how it is used. Should be interesting. No doubt it'll come up in the watercooler chat at work, or in a discussion with your less tech savvy friends. Though I think most people know by now that Facebook is up to something weird and creepy. Not that it's stopping them using it.

Qantas was giving away Mac Pros for way too cheap
Qantas done fucked up over the weekend, listing a 6-core Mac Pro for sale on their Qantas Store for only 93,000 Qantas points, or, $550 and 5000 points. Normally it's around 700,000 points. Unsurprisingly, Ozbargain went bloody mental and this morning, Qantas put the price back to normal. It's undoubtedly a mistake, but the question now is - will Qantas honour the deal? I managed to snag one on Saturday night and it hasn't been cancelled yet! If the people who ordered a Mac Pro actually get them shipped, expect heaps of brand new Mac Pros to hit eBay and Gumtree for around $2500-$3000.

OpenElec 8 is out and about for the Raspberry Pi
OpenELEC 8 is now out for the Raspberry Pi. It's a neat little Linux distro that's designed to do nothing but run Kodi on your $60 computer. The latest Raspberry Pi 3 Model B will do anything 1080p fine. Good use of a Pi if you already have a USB PSU, micro USB cable, remote and SD card. Once you buy all that stuff and the Pi itself though, you can just get a Xiaomi Mi Box and run Kodi on that for the same price and less fucking around.

Here endeth the sizzle (until tomorrow!)

The Sizzle is curated by Anthony "@decryption" Agius and emailed every weekday afternoon. Join us on Slack and chat with other Sizzle subscribers. Refer a friend and get a month of The Sizzle for free!