Technology Stories Making Headlines August 2019

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Queensland Debuts Driverless Car

The Queensland Government has launched what it is calling “the most advanced automated vehicle in Australia” completing a six kilometre trip around suburban streets in Brisbane’s south without driver intervention. At a level four on the automation scale, the $1.5 million, purpose-built Renault ZOE2 can travel fully autonomously but a human driver can still take control if required. Granted a
permit to allow for testing on predefined public roads in the suburb of Shailer Park, it has previously undergone extensive off-road testing at the nearby Mount Cotton Driver Training Centre. The ZOE2 is now set to travel to other locations around Queensland to continue testing.

Hacker Takes Control of Invoicing

The ACCC has warned as part of National Scams Awareness Week, that scammers are set to make a record haul from Australians amid claims the one business lost $50,000 after its invoicing system was compromised. Forecasted to hit $532 million by the end of 2019, the ACCC has said that investment-related scams continue to generate the biggest losses, account for almost half of all monies fleeced. “Many People are confident they would never fall for a scam, but often it’s this sense of confidence that scammers target” said Delia Rickard, deputy chair of the ACCC.

Capital One Data Breach

Believed to be one of the largest in banking history, Capital One has revealed that the personal details of about 106 million individuals across the US and Canada were stolen in a hack with the alleged hacker arrested after reportedly boasting about the breach online. The data stolen included names, addresses, and phone numbers of people who applied for its product. Other information obtained included credit scores, limits, balances and payment history’ however, credit card account numbers were not accessed. With the information unlikely to be used for fraud, Capital One are continuing to investigate the breach and notifying those affected.

Mice May be Great Listeners

A research team at the University of Oregon Institute of Neuroscience are working on training mice to understand irregularities within speech, a task that the animals can do with remarkable accuracy. It is hoped that eventually, the research could be used to help detect deep fakes before they are able to spread online. One of the project’s researchers has said “The goal is to take the lessons we learn from the way they do it, and then implement that in the computer”. Rewarded each time they correctly identified speech sounds, the mice have been accurate up to 80% of the time and whilst it isn’t perfect, it could be extremely valuable input.

Australia Headhunting Tech Talent for Permanent Residency

The federal government will ramp-up its efforts to attract senior technology leaders, researchers, developers and experts under a newly established scheme which actively seeks out talent to permanently migrate to Australia. Quietly launched in June and dubbed the Global Talent Independent Program (GTIP), the Minister for Immigration, Citizenship, Migrant Services and Multicultural Affairs is expected to flesh out crucial details about how the headhunting model will work. 5000 places have been set aside within the permanent migration program with Home Affairs officers to be placed in key overseas locations to seek out the very best people in high growth industries and encourage them to come to Australia.

Australian Telcos Fined

Seven Telcos including Activ8me, Aussie Broadband, Flip TV, Hello Broadband, Mate Communicate, My Net Fone and Telechoice have been fined for not being up-front about how slow their internet speeds might be on the National Broadband Network. The breaches related to a lack
of information about plans and network speeds resulting in each Telco being fined $12,600. Introduced a year ago, the Telcos were required to publish a fact sheet with information about their NBN services, including how slow they might be during peak times and were also ordered to “line test” new services to ensure everything was working properly. The fined Telcos are no longer in breach of the rules.

Deep Fake Scam

After a series of ‘deep fake’ recording were used to scam senior financial managers overseas earlier this month, Australian Businesses are being warned to treat audio messages with caution. Cyber Security firm Symantec has tracked at least 3 successful attacks on private companies where chief executives were impersonated to convince financial managers to transfer money with each case employing artificial intelligence programs to manipulate audio or video. In cases reported by the BBC, scammers used customary background noise to mask the less convincing words in their recording. Businesses are being advised to listen carefully for anything out of the ordinary in important phone calls, particularly if the circumstances are suspicious.


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About the author:

Geoff Stewart

Geoff Stewart

Geoff Stewart is a highly experienced and skilled IT Challenger at Surety IT. His knowledge is based on years of industry experience having created customised, stable, well performing systems both for multi-national companies in the UK and Australia and Surety IT customers.

Surety IT’s mission is to address and overcome the 4 biggest problems businesses have with their IT systems and support which are: poorly performing systems, unreliable systems, unresponsive IT support and poor IT related advice.

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