Weekly Tech News Roundup 7/11/2016

A good hack involving a novelty item and Alexa, a new ISP looms over Australia, headache for Red Cross data breach continues.

There are bad hackers that scare us and then there are good hackers that delight us.

You all remember that weird singing fish that hung on walls all over the world back in the 2000’s right? A motion activated fish that would move and burst into song when anyone walked by. A very clever developer named Brian Kane decided to give this novelty toy some brains and purpose by splicing in the Amazon Alexa an intelligent assistant that has been released as an open source project.

Now instead of belting out “Don’t Worry, Be Happy” or “Take me to the River” this Big Mouth Billy Bass can give you the weather, control your smart home, set alarms, read you the news and buy things from Amazon.

For some, this might be a joke but for others this is a sign of things to come where you can inject intelligence and even a little spark of personality into everyday objects.

It is only a matter of time until someone makes a smart Furby.

For the original article from The Verge, go here.

A new entrant into the ISP market is coming. Should the big players be worried?

my_republicSingapore based MyRepublic has been operating in the Island-Nation of Singapore as well as Indonesia and New Zealand and now has its sights set on Australia with an expected Aussie launch on November 15.

Taking swipes at the fibre-to-the-node FTTN design of the NBN, MyRepulic is aiming squarely at the market with rumoured NBN plans offering unlimited data 100Mbps download speeds and 40Mbps up for $59.95/month for fibre-to-the-premises FTTP customers.

A really attractive offering on the face of it for people already able to pick up FTTP services. For the rest of the NBN on FTTN there may be a wait to see what MyRepublic has to offer.

For the article on Kotaku, go here.

For the Cnet story, go here.

To go to the MyRepublic Australia page, click here.

As expected, fraudsters and scammers take advantage of recent Red Cross data leak.

redcrossbloodlogoIt was the biggest data leak in Australian history and the response from AusCERT and Red Cross Blood Australia was satisfactory but that has not stopped cybercriminals from attempting to dupe unsuspecting people out of giving over sensitive information.

The scammers are attempting to get individuals to tap on links in SMS messages that could expose them to filling in unauthorised forms or download suspicious files.

It is suspected that the scammers are using this opportunity to test the method before embarking on a bigger campaign.

The blood service has reported the issue to AusCERT, which has been working with the organisation to handle the data breach, and is warning customers to disregard any such messages.

“We would never communicate this type of issue in this way,” a spokesperson for the blood service told iTnews.

“We remind all donors to remain vigilant, and [we] have updated our info.donateblood.com.au website with more advice about suspicious messages. If you receive any other messages that look suspicious, they should be disregarded and deleted.”

The likelihood that these scammers might have a copy of the leaked database is low as the only two known copies of the database have been destroyed and were only in the hands of trusted cybersecurity researchers.

For the IT News story, click here.

For official word from Red Cross Blood Australia, click here.