SCCC Inc., Latest Club News
Great News! Club Meetings Starting Again In January
The committee is aiming to reopen club meeting venues at Caloundra & Buderim after Christmas, in mid January 2021. This is conditional on there being no significant resurgence in the local covid-19 numbers, or another government lock down. Keep an eye on the club "Weekly Bits'N'Bytes" for meeting opening information!
SCCC News Flash
Latest Good, Bad & Ugly Technology News Reports!
11th January 2021 - Greener planes of the future... or just pretty plans?
"There is a really big challenge there. And there is a big expectation from society which we think it is our duty to find answers to," says Sandra Bour-Schaeffer, the chief executive of Airbus UpNext, which evaluates new technologies for the European aerospace giant.
"We believe that we have to go into a really… breakthrough technology," she says.
1st January 2021 - The Sunburst hack was massive and devastating. Here are 5 observations from a cybersecurity expert
An act of cyberwar is usually not like a bomb, which causes immediate, well-understood damage. Rather, it is more like a cancer — it's slow to detect, difficult to eradicate and it causes ongoing and significant damage over a long period of time.
From top-tier cybersecurity firm FireEye to the US Treasury, Microsoft, Intel and many other organisations, the victims of the attack are for the most part firms with comprehensive cybersecurity practices.
6th December 2020 - Structural batteries : Shaping the future of energy efficiency
Batteries in electric vehicles and electronic devices make up a very large proportion of the overall mass. That's a problem. Especially if your vehicle is a plane! But what if you didn’t need to bolt the batteries to any part of the bodywork at all? What if the bodywork itself provided all the energy the car needed?
17th December 2020 - SolarWinds: company at the core of the Orion hack falls under scrutiny
There was not a database or an IT deployment model out there to which the company did not provide some level of monitoring or management, he told analysts. “We don’t think anyone else in the market is really even close in terms of the breadth of coverage we have,” he said. “We manage everyone’s network gear.“
The company earlier this week took down a web page that boasted of dozens of its best-known customers, from the White House, Pentagon and the Secret Service to the McDonald’s restaurant chain and Smithsonian museums.
That dominance, however, has become a liability. On Sunday, SolarWinds alerted thousands of its customers that an “outside nation state” had found a back door into its most popular product, a tool called Orion that helps organizations monitor outages on their computer networks and servers.
2nd December 2020 - A New Technology That Will Dangerously Expand Government Spying on Citizens
If you’re worried about the capability of government to conduct surveillance of citizens engaged in political assembly and protest, or even just personal activity, then you should be aware the technological capability of government surveillance is about to expand exponentially.
Your smartphone in effect becomes a government listening device that detects and accesses all nearby wireless or bluetooth devices, or anything that has a MAC address for that matter. How ‘near’ is nearby is not revealed by the company, or the Air Force, both of which refused to comment on the Wall St. Journal story. But with the expansion of 5G wireless, it should be assumed it’s more than just a couple steps from your smartphone.
3rd December 2020 - Google researchers reveal exploit that let hackers ‘own’ iPhones REMOTELY - but waited 6 months to tell the world
From a distance, he was able to read messages, page through photos, download data, and even watch and listen to the user by activating the phone’s microphone and camera. Even if the user turned AWDL off, he was able to turn it back on.
Thanks to the delay, however, users who halted automatic updates out of concern for the Covid-19 contact-tracing platform Apple integrated into recent versions of their operating system have missed their chance to download the patch for the exploit. While Beer stated that the vulnerability was fixed shortly before the contact tracing platform went live, it’s no longer possible to download the pre-contact-tracing update – meaning privacy-conscious iPhone users are now forced to choose between leaving this backdoor wide open or throwing open the front door.
Physicians’ Health Initiative for Radiation and Environment (PHIRE) is an independent association of medical doctors and associated specialists
The Physicians’ Health Initiative for Radiation and Environment (PHIRE) is an independent association of medical doctors and associated specialists assembled for the purposes of improving education regarding health effects of non-ionising radiation. We collate research produced globally on this issue, share and critique it and also conduct our own research.
Read the 2020 NIR Consensus Statement (PDF) 2020 Consensus Statement of UK and International Medical and Scientific Experts and Practitioners on Health Effects of Non-Ionising Radiation (NIR)
A large list of medical professions and medical scientists are signatories to this consensus statement.
20th November 2020 - Apple to pay $113m to settle iPhone 'batterygate'
Millions of people were affected when the models of iPhone 6 and 7 and SE were slowed down in 2016 in a scandal that was dubbed batterygate.
Apple declined to comment, however, it has previously said the phones were slowed to preserve ageing battery life.
The deal is separate from a proposed settlement Apple reached in March to pay affected iPhone owners up to $500m in a class action lawsuit.
13th November 2020 - How Apple’s New MacBook Air is Changing its Function Keys
Leaving the top row are the Launchpad (F4) and the two keyboard brightness keys (F5, F6). Coming in are function keys for Spotlight (F4), Dictation (F5) and Do Not Disturb (F6).
Previously, these functions could only be accessed with keyboard commands or via the Notification Centre. Now users can enable dictation and the Ask Siri functions with one button, allowing voice commands to become much easier. In terms of accessibility, this is a plus.
4th November 2020 - Microsoft begins killing off the Control Panel in Windows 10
Farewell old friend
This isn't to say that the new Settings app doesn't have any appeal, with its touch-friendly functionality and nice modern theming, but there was always something familiar about the Control panel. A faithful and unchanged friend through the many developments of Windows over the years.
27th October 2020 - An attacker can steal sensitive user data over the phone using smart speakers
Researchers at Georgia Institute of Technology recently showed that a simple attack could allow malicious users to gain access to people's personal information via voice assistants. Their findings, presented in a paper pre-published on arXiv, highlight a number of vulnerabilities and risks associated with the use of conversational agents.
"Another challenge we had to overcome was to make transmission of such sound from a computer stealthy, so that it does not alarm a person who may be nearby," He said. "We achieve this by modulating the tones onto very high frequency (16kHz in our work), or ultrasonic frequency, to make them inaudible to most people."
20th October 2020 - U.S. says Google breakup may be needed to end violations of antitrust law
The U.S. sued Google on Tuesday, accusing the $1 trillion company of illegally using its market muscle to hobble rivals in the biggest challenge to the power and influence of Big Tech in decades.
The complaint pointed to the billions of dollars that Google pays to smartphone makers such as Apple Inc AAPL.O, Samsung and others to make Google's search engine the default on their devices.
This means that rival search engines never get the scale they need to improve their algorithms, and grow, the complaint said.
9th October 2020 - The 8 Most Awe-Inspiring Dams in America
Inside the mountainous ravines of the U.S., there are earthen walls, concrete ones, and sometimes even barricades made out of steel, all working to plug up rivers. Some have even stood for over 100 years, before the land they were on was even part of the Union.
Here's a tour of eight of the most noteworthy.
10th September 2020 - Solar Roof Tiles - should every building generate its own power? | 100% Independent, 100% Electric
Yes, it's a roof, but it's no ordinary roof. This roof that Robert has come to see is made up from 900 solar tiles! These tiles deliver all the benefits of solar, but without the aesthetic compromise of huge panels added onto your roof that require systems and structures to manage the weight and connections. Surely all buildings should have solar?
25th September 2020 - Amazon unveils flying Ring security drone and Luna games service
But one campaign group described the drone camera as Amazon's "most chilling home surveillance product" yet.
"It's difficult to imagine why Amazon thinks anyone wants flying internet cameras linked up to a data-gathering company in the privacy of their own home," said Silkie Carlo from Big Brother Watch.
Amazon said that privacy had been "top of mind" when the machine was designed.
18th September 2020 - Facebook Accused of Watching Instagram Users Through Cameras
Facebook Inc. is again being sued for allegedly spying on Instagram users, this time through the unauthorized use of their mobile phone cameras.The lawsuit springs from media reports in July that the photo-sharing app appeared to be accessing iPhone cameras even when they weren’t actively being used.Facebook denied the reports and blamed a bug, which it said it was correcting, for triggering what it described as false notifications that Instagram was accessing iPhone cameras.
15th September 2020 - Zerologon: Microsoft addressing severe network exploit
A Dutch security firm reported last week that it uncovered a severe Windows vulnerability last month that allowed hackers to take over network administrator privileges with a single click.
Experts view the vulnerability, called Zerologon, as one of the most severe ever to hit Microsoft. It was assigned a score of 10/10, the highest degree of severity under the Common Vulnerability Scoring System.
1st September 2020 - Successful maiden flight for the TU Delft Flying-V
The Flying-V is a design for a highly energy-efficient long-distance aeroplane. The aircraft’s design integrates the passenger cabin, the cargo hold and the fuel tanks in the wings, creating a spectacular V-shape. Computer calculations have predicted that the aircraft’s improved aerodynamic shape and reduced weight will reduce fuel consumption by 20% compared to today’s most advanced aircraft. KLM has been a partner in the project since 2019.
Also due to their support, the project team has been able to build this scale model. It was first presented at the 100th anniversary of KLM in October 2019. Various business partners are now involved in the project, including Airbus. Airbus is also an explicit supporter for the first flight. The partners are working together on a research plan to fine-tune the concept. Next step: providing the Flying-V with sustainable propulsion, taking into account that the design seems highly suitable to carry liquid hydrogen instead of kerosene.
3rd September 2020 - Justice Department reportedly plans to file antitrust case against Google as early as this month
The Justice Department opened its probe into Google last June, reportedly with a focus on its massive search business and other parts of the company. The Justice Department also opened another, broader probe last July to investigate whether big technology firms like Amazon, Facebook, and Google were stifling competition.
The department said the review would “consider the widespread concerns that consumers, businesses, and entrepreneurs have expressed about search, social media, and some retail services online.”
26th August 2020 - Hackers could exploit this nasty Safari bug to lift files from your hard drive.
A bug in Apple's Safari browser could be abused by hackers to leak or steal files from the devices of Mac and iOS users according to a new report from a security researcher.
Co-founder of the Polish security firm REDTEAM.PL, Pawel Wylecial, first discovered the bug back in April and reported it to Apple. However, he decided to go public with his findings after the iPhone maker decided to delay patching the bug until the spring of 2021.
9th June 2020 - People would rather lose their job to a robot than to another person, say researchers – but what happens when ALL the jobs go to robots?
While a robot uprising does not seem to be an immediate concern, the paper suggests that most workers fear a robot takeover in the workplace.
11th August 2020 - Facial recognition use by South Wales Police ruled unlawful
Mr Bridges said: "I'm delighted that the court has agreed that facial recognition clearly threatens our rights.
"This technology is an intrusive and discriminatory mass surveillance tool.
"For three years now, South Wales Police has been using it against hundreds of thousands of us, without our consent and often without our knowledge.
30th July 2020 - Exclusive: Arizona leads multi-state probe into older iPhones slowing, shutting down
SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Arizona is leading a multi-U.S. state investigation into whether Apple Inc’s deliberate slowing of older iPhones violated deceptive trade practice laws, documents reviewed by Reuters on Wednesday showed.
In the ongoing probe since at least October 2018, investigators have asked Apple for data about “unexpected shutdowns” of iPhones and the company’s throttling, or slowing down, of the devices through power management software, documents Reuters obtained from Texas through a public records request showed.
SCCC Latest Article
PhoneGate Alert Update 2020! By Peter Daley
15th July 2020
If you do place one of these mobile phones directly in contact with your body, your exposure level to microwave radiation can be three or more times greater than the maximum Specific Absorption Rate (SAR) government safety level! Independent scientific experts around the world have been saying for decades that the microwave radiation SARs regulatory limits are already set far to high to protect public health, and particularly for children!
Phonegate organization has had some success in having a number of the offending mobile phones sanctioned, or withdrawn from the market, but there is a lot more to this story!
25th May 2020 - Withdrawal of the Razer Phone 2: not seeing the forest for the trees!Extracts:
Since then, in two years, thanks to our action, 23 different smartphone models controlled by ANFR have been found to have SAR levels for the head and body above the regulatory limit of 2 W/kg during ANFR inspections. Four have been withdrawn from the French market. The others have only had their SAR level “updated” (reduced by updating).
However, tests conducted by both ANFR and the journalist Sam Roe for the Chicago Tribune have shown that the local body SAR level is multiplied by a factor of 3 to 4 when measured either at direct skin contact or at 2mm. That of the Razer Phone 2 could reach over 10 W/kg at direct contact with the skin.
“that the representative of the European Commission is hiding behind a staggering technocratic cynicism. His non-reaction shows the extent to which the mobile telephony industry lobbies have knowingly silenced the European authorities. We demand that this new health scandal, Phonegate, be treated with seriousness and a sense of responsibility. The health of hundreds of millions of Europeans citizen is at stake”.
UPDATE to PhoneGate Alert!
Two new smartphones have just been sanctioned for exceeding the SAR level: the Xiaomi Redmi 7 and the Gigaset plus. This is a new advance in our alert action!
However, we have been waiting since last October for the Government to deliver on its promise to update the excessive SAR levels of several hundred mobile phone models. We demand that the commitments made following the recommendations of the French National Health Agency (ANSES) be fulfilled.
The Covid19 crisis does not justify such a delay. The Phonegate scandal is also a real health emergency!
See here the list of the 23 smartphones sanctioned to date:
See also the list of hundreds of models awaiting government intervention :
Please share widely around you until we get the same thing all over Europe and internationally. Together we can do it! The Phonegate Alert team.
Download this free WiFi Safety Guide below, on page 2 it has practical suggestions on how to limit your family's WiFi radiation exposure. https://sccc.org.au/wifi/microwave-safety-chart.pdf
Free WiFi Safety Guide Screen Shot
Read the previous article on "Mobile Phone Safety" https://sccc.org.au/mobile-phone-safety
Disclaimer: This is an amateur volunteer run service. Human error can provide incorrect information, and equipment malfunction can produce false readings. Do not rely on, or take action upon information presented on this web site or at SCCC activities, without further research. Views expressed in the pages, images, or tutorials on the SCCC Inc., web site or presented at venues, maybe the personal opinions of the relevant writers or presenters, and are not necessarily representative of those of SCCC Inc.