Weekly Tech News Roundup 27/3/2017

Internet down? Could be the sun, google maps update allows location sharing, “unpatchable” flaw turns antivirus software against you.

With the approaching solar equinox there is a possibility you might see a loss of signal for TV, radio, telephone and internet services.

Between March 26 and April 6, locations around Australia could experience disruptions to communications and media services which happens around the same time each year.

In this story from the ABC, it is understood that services delivered over satellite could be disrupted by the sun as we pass through the autumnal equinox. The equinox is a time of the year where the length of days and nights are equal and this also means that the sun is in a position that puts it from our view directly behind geostationary satellites used to service Australia.

The effect can be imagined like a small torch in front of a powerful spotlight which would make it really hard to pick out the light from the torch. Similarly, there is a period of time where the microwave radiation from the sun as a backdrop drowns out the microwave emissions from a satellite.

The table below shows where people around Australia might be affected by the event which could last for a few minutes and will only have an impact on services that rely on satellite links including the NBN’s SkyMuster satellite service.

Where you are When you might notice an outage (all times local)
Adelaide April 3 at 10:59am
Brisbane April 1 at 11:38am
Canberra April 3 at 11:35am
Darwin March 26 at 10:55am
Hobart April 6 at 11:34am
Melbourne April 5 at 11:33am
Perth April 2 at 9:18am
Sydney April 3 at 11:36am

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Coming soon : share your real time location with friends using Google maps.

In this blog post from Google you can soon share your actual location within the Google maps app with your friends and contacts.

In the past there was Google Latitude which I used while I was on a long distance project so my wife and kids could track my movements as I drove almost 3000km around Western Australia’s metro, South West, Great Southern and Goldfields regions. Fun for the kids to track my journey on the map and reassuring for better half to know where I was at certain times.

That went away a few years ago but now Google Maps is getting an update to bring back that function.

The feature will be rolled out that will allow you to tap on the blue dot representing you on the map or open the side menu revealing the share function. From here you can choose who you share your location with and for how long so if you are travelling to a meeting you can keep people up to date with your ETA without having to report in.

Very handy and a welcome catch up to Apple’s Find My Friends feature but with Google Maps, everyone can play.

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“Unpatchable” 2012 feature turns antivirus into malware.

Security researchers Cybellum have uncovered a security flaw in all versions of Windows XP to Windows 10 that exploits the Application Verifier, a programming testing tools that allows programmers to load code directly into running processes for testing purposes.

The flaw allows malicious code to rewrite code libraries that will effectively turn antivirus software in particular into malware with extremely high level access to the system.

Giving further weight to the debate against installing antivirus software, this flaw is currently only a proof of concept needing physical access to the computer but it would not be hard to imagine attackers finding creative ways to trick victims into deploying the malicious patch for them.

The following Antivirus and Internet Security brands have been found to be vulnerable.

  • Avast (CVE-2017-5567)
  • AVG (CVE-2017-5566)
  • Avira (CVE-2017-6417)
  • Bitdefender (CVE-2017-6186)
  • Trend Micro (CVE-2017-5565)
  • Comodo
  • ESET
  • F-Secure
  • Kaspersky
  • Malwarebytes
  • McAfee
  • Panda
  • Quick Heal
  • Norton

If you are using any security or antivirus products from these brands, you are urged to check for recent updates (at the time of publishing only Malwarebytes and AVG had released patches with Trend-Micro planing to release a patch soon), remove the software and rely on Microsoft’s Windows Defender that comes with Windows.

Even though Cybellum had tested with antivirus programs the issue also has potential to affect all applications including Windows itself.

More on this over at TheHackerNews.com.

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