Posted: 26 August, 2016

Warning: iPhone Users Urged to Update Software ASAP

IPhone Users Urged to Update Software After Security Flaws Are Found

Apple has issued a patch to fix a dangerous security flaw in iPhones and iPads after researchers discovered that a prominent United Arab Emirates dissident's phone had been targeted with a previously unknown method of hacking.

The thwarted attack on the human rights activist, Ahmed Mansoor, used a text message that invited him to click on a web link. Instead of clicking, he forwarded the message to researchers at the University of Toronto's Citizen Lab.

The hack is the first known case of software that can remotely take over a fully up-to-date iPhone 6.

Experts at Citizen Lab worked with security company Lookout and determined that the link would have installed a program taking advantage of a three flaws that Apple and others were not aware of. The researchers disclosed their findings on Thursday.

"Once infected, Mansoor's phone would have become a digital spy in his pocket, capable of employing his iPhone's camera and microphone to snoop on activity in the vicinity of the device, recording his WhatsApp and Viber calls, logging messages sent in mobile chat apps, and tracking his movements," Citizen Lab wrote in a report released on Thursday.

The researchers said they had alerted Apple a week and a half ago, and the company developed a fix and distributed it as an automatic update to iPhone 6 owners.

Apple spokesman Fred Sainz confirmed that the company had issued the patch after being contacted by researchers.

The Citizen Lab team attributed the attack software to a private seller of monitoring systems, NSO Group, an Israeli company that makes software for governments which can secretly target mobile phones and gather information. Tools such as that used in this case, a remote exploit for a current iPhone, cost as much as $1 million.

NSO Chief Executive Shalev Hulio referred questions to spokesman Zamir Dahbash, who said the company "cannot confirm the specific cases" covered in the Citizen Lab and Lookout reports.

Dahbash said NSO sells within export laws to government agencies, which then operate the software.

"The agreements signed with the company's customers require that the company's products only be used in a lawful manner," he added. "Specifically, the products may only be used for the prevention and investigation of crimes."

Dahbash did not answer follow-up questions, including whether the exposure of the tools use against Mansoor in UAE and a Mexican journalist would end any sales to those countries.

NSO has kept a low profile in the security world, despite its 2014 sale of a majority stake for $120 million to California private equity firm Francisco Partners. That company's chief executive, Dipanjan Deb, did not return a call on Thursday. In November 2015, Reuters reported that NSO had begun calling itself "Q" and was looking for a buyer for close to $1 billion.

Sarah McKune, senior legal adviser to Citizen Lab, said Israel tries to follow the strictures of the Wassenaar Arrangement, which puts controls on the international sale of nuclear and chemical weapons technology and more recently cyber intrusion tools.

NSO may have had to apply for an export licence, she added, saying that raised questions about "what consideration was given to the human rights record of UAE."

The Israeli embassy in Washington did not respond to an email seeking comment.

NSO marketing material says that it also has capabilities for Android and BlackBerry devices. No version of the software has been exposed, indicating it remains effective.

Citizen Lab did not directly accuse UAE of carrying out the attack on Mansoor with NSO gear called Pegasus, but it said other NSO attacks on critics of the regime were connected to the government.

It also said a Mexican journalist and a minority party politician in Kenya had been targeted with NSO software and that domain names set up for other attacks referred to entities in Uzbekistan, Thailand, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, and other nations, suggesting that other targets lived in those nations.

A call to the UAE embassy in Washington was not immediately returned.

The market for "lawful intercept," or government hacking tools, has come under increased scrutiny with revelations about authoritarian customers and noncriminal victims.

Two popular vendors, Hacking Team of Italy and Gamma Group of the United Kingdom, have had their wares exposed by researchers or hackers.

Mansoor had previously been targeted with software from both of those companies, according to Citizen Lab.

"I can't think of a more compelling case of serial misuse of lawful intercept malware than the targeting of Mansoor," said one of the Citizen Lab researchers, John Scott-Railton.


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Tags: iPHone

Posted: 26 August, 2016

The Top 10 Highest Paid Actors

Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson has topped a Forbes magazine list of the world's highest paid actors with an estimated 2016 payday of $A84.7 million.

Johnson, 44, has come a long way from his days as a WWE superstar The Rock, knocking Robert Downey Jr. off the top spot and more than doubling his 2015 earnings, largely thanks to his action comedy Central Intelligence.



The List

1. Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson $US64.5 million

2. Jackie Chane $US61 million

3. Matt Damon $US55 million

4. Tom Cruise $US53 million

5. Johnny Depp $US48 million

6. Ben Affleck $US43 million

7. Vin Diesel $US35 million

8. Shah Rukh Khan $US33 million

8. Robert Downey Jr. $US33 million

10. Kumar Akshay $US31 million 

Veteran Harrison Ford crept onto the list for the first time since 2009 thanks to his return as Han Solo in the blockbuster new Star Wars: The Force Awakens movie and video game. Ford, who also is to reprise his role as adventurer Indiana Jones in 2019, ranked 20th with earnings of about $US15 million.

Forbes estimates earnings, before taxes and management fees, from movies, TV and commercial endorsements.

The Rock responds

The Rock who is considered one of the good guys in Hollywood, took to Twitter to respond to the many congratulations he recieved in his usual tongue in cheek and humble fashion.


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Posted: 26 August, 2016

US Swimmer Ryan Lochte Formally Charged By Rio Police

US swimmer Ryan Lochte's fibs have come back to bite him again, he's been formally charged with filing a false robbery report over an incident during the Rio 2016 Games.

A Brazilian police statement said Lochte would be informed in the United States so he could decide whether to introduce a defence in Brazil.

The indictment will also be sent to the International Olympic Committee's ethics commission, the statement said.

Lochte initially said that he and fellow swimmers Jack Conger, Gunnar Bentz and Jimmy Feigen were robbed at gunpoint in a taxi by men with a police badge as they returned to the Olympic Village from a party August 15.

However, security video suggested the four actually faced security guards after vandalising a gas station restroom.

Lochte left Brazil shortly after the incident. Three days later, local authorities took Conger and Bentz off an airliner heading to the United States so they could be questioned about the robbery claim.

The charges in Brazil raise questions about the future for Lochte, who is planning to take time off from swimming but wants to return to compete in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. He has 12 Olympic medals, second only to Michael Phelps among US male Olympians.

Lochte lost four major sponsors early this week over the controversy, including Speedo USA and Ralph Lauren.


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Posted: 26 August, 2016

Italy Earthquake's Death Toll Hits 250

Photo: Getty Images

The death toll from a devastating earthquake in central Italy has climbed to at least 250 and could rise further with rescue teams working for a second day to try to find survivors under the rubble of flattened towns.

The 6.2 magnitude quake struck a cluster of mountain communities 140km east of Rome early on Wednesday as people slept, destroying hundreds of homes.

Dozens of emergency workers with sniffer dogs clambered over piles of debris trying to find anyone still buried beneath, while cranes removed huge slabs of fallen masonry and trucks full of rubble left the area every few minutes.

A violent aftershock on Thursday afternoon sent rescuers fleeing as stones fell from the already severely damaged bell tower of the 15th century church of St. Augustine in Amatrice.

Aerial video taken by drones showed swathes of Amatrice, last year voted one of Italy's most beautiful historic towns..

Rescuers working through the night and illuminated by banks of lights saved a 10-year-old girl, pulling her alive from the rubble where she had lain for about 15 hours.

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Posted: 25 August, 2016

Victorian Bloke Finds Gold Nugget Worth $250K


(Image: Macquarie Film Corporation, The Nugget)

A Victorian man has made the unbelievable discovery of a gold nugget worth over $250,000.

The location has remained undisclosed as the prospector isn't keen on too many people flooding to the area in a gold rush - but it is believed to be on the southern edge of the 'Golden Triangle' in central Victoria.

Here is Channel Nine's report of the discovery:

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Posted: 25 August, 2016

Sydney's Busiest Buses Revealed

The busiest bus route in Sydney is the 400 from Burwood in the west to Bondi Junction via Sydney Airport.

Data from NSW's Opal electronic ticketing system shows that bout 16,000 journeys are taken on the 400 service which is the only bus that passengers can get to the airport on a typical week day.

Sydney commuters will now be able to avoid the crowds by checking how crowded buses are before they arrive at their bus stop using a new upgraded app.

It has already been adopted by the 'NextThere' app, which rolled out the feature on Wednesday.

Busiest Bus Routes

The 400 from Burwood in the west to Bondi Junction via Sydney Airport.

In the evenings
M20 buses between Sydney's CBD and the fast-growing Green Square precinct in the inner south.

In the mornings
- The 900 bus that provides a shuttle around central Paramatta.
- The 617X from Rouse Hill to Sydney's CBD feature among the most crowded
- The 891 from Central Station to UNSW
- The 55C "Gong Shuttle" in Wollongong.

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Posted: 25 August, 2016

WATCH: Devastating Drone Footage Of Italy Earthquake Aftermath

Italy's Fire and Emergency department (Vigili del Fuoco) has shared this heartbreaking drone footage of the damage at the heart of the hardest hit town, Amatrice -

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Posted: 25 August, 2016

Too Many Aussies Still Relying On Dr Google

Health experts say too many young Aussies are still putting their faith in "Dr Google". 

A new survey shows almost four out of five young Australians turn to online medical advice for personal health issues, not even considering visiting a GP.

It's prompted warnings for people to be a little wiser about "dodgy" online health sites.

The research, commissioned by health advocacy group NPS MedicineWise, has found the majority of people aged 18-34 go online to source health-related information.

Almost 80 per cent of the survey's participants admitted they will sometimes or always look up information about their health conditions on the internet to avoid seeing a health professional.

The Galaxy Research survey also showed 20 per cent of participants would use Facebook to ask questions about medicines.

NPS MedicineWise spokeswoman and pharmacist Aine Heaney says people need to be a bit more discerning.

"They need to be aware that there's lots of dodgy information that's on the internet these days."

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Posted: 25 August, 2016

Dolmio Creates Wifi-Blocking Pepper Grinder

3,500 Pepper Hackers Up For Grabs In Australia

Pic: Dolmio

Dolmio are bringing families together again at the dinner table.

The company behind the pasta sauce brand have created a pepper grinder that has the power to block Wi-Fi connection. *Cue the screams of millions of tweens worldwide*

The grinder can disable up to four devices for 30 minutes by connecting and interrupting your home's Wi-Fi network.

The aim of the campaign is to showcase how special family meal times can be without the interruption of technology. 

Dolmio also surveyed Aussie households, finding nearly two-thirds of family arguments stemmed from using tech at the table.

While, 38 per cent of parents felt like they had no way of stopping technology being at the table, one in three homes unsuccessfully attempting to ban phones and tablet use.

Now, here's the BEST BIT about the Pepper Hacker, Dolmio's giving 3,500 of them away to Aussie customers.

Entry to the competition is now open, Dolmio products purchased between 24th August, 2016 and 27th September 2016 are eligible to enter.

Look for the sauce jars with the special 'Pepper Hacker' label.

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Posted: 25 August, 2016

Fears Aussie Missing After Deadly Italy Quake

Death toll continues to climb.

Pic credit: Getty Images

UPDATED 8.15am: 

Italian rescue workers are continuing to work through the night...sifting through the rubble of hundreds of fallen buildings, in the hope of finding survivors of the deadly earthquake. 

Authorities have now confirmed the death toll hsa reached 159. That number is climbing by the minute, as bodies are discovered.

This morning, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has said there are no confirmed reports of Australians being injured or killed in the shake. DFAT is still working to make contact with anyone in the area at the time.  

EARLIER: DFAT is making urgent enquiries with consular staff on the ground in Italy... after unconfirmed reports of at least one Australian missing following yesterday's deadly quake. 

The 6.2 magnitude shake hit around 3.30am local time (Wednesday afternoon Australian time) about 100 kilometres north-east of Rome.

So far, at least 120 people - including children as young as 18 months old - have been confirmed dead. 

The Prime Minister, Matteo Renzi, expects that number to climb. 

"This is not a final toll,"

 "It is a pain without limits."

The desperate search for survivors is continuing. So far, more than 360 people have been pulled from the rubble with varying injuries. 

Hundreds more are listed as missing, dozens feared trapped in the rubble of fallen buildings. 

If you, or someone you know, is in Italy at the moment.. the latest advice from SmartTraveller is: 

Australians in Italy should follow the advice of local authorities. If you have any concerns for the welfare of family and friends in Italy you should attempt to contact them directly. Australians in Italy who require consular assistance can contact the Australian Embassy in Rome on +39 06 852721.

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Posted: 24 August, 2016

BREAKING NEWS | Massive Earthquake In Italy


Map showing effected area (USGS)

A magnitude 6.1 earthquake has struck central Italy, with reports of damaged buildings and blackouts near the epicentre Rieti and residents fleeing their homes and running into the streets.

Media have also reported people trapped under rubble.

The quake struck just after 3.30am and was felt across a broad section of central Italy, including the capital Rome where people in homes in the historic centre felt a long swaying followed by aftershocks.

The European Mediterranean Seismological Center put the magnitude at 6.1 and said the epicentre was northeast of Rome, near Rieti. The US Geological Survey put the magnitude at 6.2.

The mayor of Amatrice near Rieti, Sergio Perozzi, told state-run RAI radio that there were downed buildings in the city centre and that the lights had gone out.

He said he was unable to get in touch with emergency responders or reach the hospital.

``What can I tell you? It's a drama,'' he said.

In 2009, a 6.3-magnitude earthquake struck in the same region and killed more than 300 people. The earlier earthquake struck L'Aquila in central Italy, about 90km south of the latest quake..


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Posted: 24 August, 2016

Aussie Athletes Arrive Home From Rio

Squad Treated To Huge Welcome Home Celebrations In Sydney

Pic: AAP (edited)

An emotional return for Australia's Olympic athletes, the squad touching down in Sydney this morning to a massive welcome home party of family and friends.

Flag bearers Anna Mears and Kim Brennan led the squad off this Qantas flight, followed by our Gold medallists.

There was quite a bit of excess baggage, we brought home 29 medals, 8 of them gold.

Most athletes said they were keen for a sleep in their own bed and were eyeing off a decent coffee.

There's be no down time for gold medallist Catherine Skinner though, who will head straight back into competition.

"This event has just qualified me for the world cup final," she told Seven.

"I'd planned to have a few months off, put the gun away and relax a bit, but all those plans have been thrown out the window!"

While, swimmer Mack Horton seemed quite chuffed to be home, greeted by an ecstatic mum and dad.

"It's a bit of a shock sitting down for 13 hours then going straight down into a big crowd of people, i'm a bit shaky but doing alright," he said.

The gold medallist didn't seemed phased about trolling he'd received from China fans, after sledging rival Sun Yang.

"The only thing that's suffered is my social media, I got over 500 comments on one of my posts, but personally I'm not really affected."

Meantime, the Australian government has urged athletes to use condoms for at least the next two months, to stop the possible spread of Zika virus.


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