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Cyber Safety

Image Matrix Tech on Sky News: Telstra releases 5 Years of 5G EME testing

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In Sunday’s segment on Sky News Australia (Weekend Edition with Tim Gilbert) we took at Telstra’s release of five years of real-world testing data on 5G safety. Electromagnetic energy levels were found to be around 1000 times below the safety limits. Telstra tested 5G in real world settings where consumers are using it every day, such as in cafes, shopping precincts, sports fields, schools, CBDs, residential streets, as well as inside homes and apartments. Testing also included EME (Electromagnetic Energy levels) measurements across a number of distances – for example, from directly opposite a 5G site, to measurements in the next suburb, and also testing while running the 5G network at high capacity. Overall, throughout testing, 5G EME levels (under high capacity) are similar to those produced by the existing 3G and 4G technology. However, 5G is far more efficient, providing faster connections and greater capacity at these similar EME levels.

Finding 1: 5G EME levels 1000 times below safety limits

Finding 2: 5G EME levels are similar to 3G and 4G (but 5G is also more efficient)

INSTAGRAM ADDS NEW FEATURE TO BATTLE CYBERBULLYING

Instagram has enhanced its blocking feature. Now, when you block someone, you’ll have the option to block other accounts they may already have, making it more difficult for them to interact with you again on Instagram. Many bullies or trolls create multiple accounts so this is an attempt to stamp that out.

There are also improvements to Hidden Words to protect people from seeing scammy message requests or offensive stories replies.

Expanded use of nudges to encourage more people to pause and reflect before they say something that could be hurtful in comments or message requests.

NEW ROBOTICS COMPANY USING IMITATION TO TRAIN ROBOTS

Eventually robots will be able to watch a human do a task – repeat it – with no coding knowledge required.

Ally Robotics is rapidly making a name for itself in robotics. By making the programming task simple – no coding – it opens the door for any business to use robots. It’s starting with the food/service industry. An industry struggling with labour. The robot arm can wear different skins to suit the job. A recent survey for Nala Robotics found up to 58% of Americans have either eaten food prepared by a robot or would be willing to do so.

Robots are improving by the day. Cassie was invented at the Oregon State University College of Engineering and produced by Agility Robotics. Cassie set a Guinness World Record for the fastest 100 metre by a bipedal robot.

An impressive 24.73 seconds.

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Cyber Crime

Scammers Prefer Friday and Saturday Says Telstra

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Scammers are getting to know their targets very well. After analysing data from 2022 and 2023, Telstra says Australians are more likely to receive a dodgy text message on a Friday or a Saturday.

Telstra says it blocks on average 11% more scams on Friday and Saturday than any other day of the week. The big telco’s security operations also noted that scammers like to hassle Australians between 1am and 4am.

DJURO SEN APPEARS ON SKY NEWS WEEKEND EDITION TO DISCUSS TELSTA SMS SCAM DATA

By targeting Thursday and Friday scammers are clearly trying to take advantage of Australians when they are out partying or distracted by other weekend duties, like sleep. SMS is a preferred method because it usually involves a quick response and during these hours it’s a strategy that appears to be working.

The good news is we get a bit of a reprieve on Sundays with Telstra reporting it blocks almost 20% fewer scam messages compared to the weekly average.

But the overall numbers show that we are just keeping ahead of the bad guys. It’s important to remain vigilant as Telstra blocks an average of 11 million scam SMS messages every month – an increase of 69% year on year.

You can find more information on scams from Telstra here.

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AI

What You Need to Know Ahead of Windows Recall Release

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Microsoft’s next generation AI powered Copilot+ PCs will soon be available but one controversial Windows feature has already undergone a drastic overhaul. RECALL is – as Microsoft says – ‘a new way to instantly find something you’ve previously seen on your PC’ using on device AI.

Every few seconds Recall takes a snapshot of what appears on your screen. These images are analysed locally by AI so you are not sending anything to the cloud. Recall can then offer you a timeline of your computer use through a visual interface. It really is like having a ‘photographic memory’ of all the apps, websites, images and documents that you’ve interacted with on your PC.

Obviously this would be a treasure trove for cyber criminals if they could access it. Security experts are worried it could be abused once a user logs into their device. Once the drive is decrypted, the history recorded by Recall is potentially accessible by a bad actor.

As I mentioned in the Sky News Weekend Edition segment above, Offensive Cybersecurity Advocate, Alexander Hagenah, an ethical hacker, created TotalRecall to encourage Microsoft to make changes. And thankfully Microsoft did make changes.

“Even before making Recall available to customers, we have heard a clear signal that we can make it easier for people to choose to enable Recall on their Copilot+ PC and improve privacy and security safeguards,” said Corporate Vice President Windows + Devices Pavan Davuluri.

“With that in mind we are announcing updates that will go into effect before Recall (preview) ships to customers on June 18.”

So, not only has Microsoft made Recall opt-in only, users will also need to take more security steps to activate and actively use the feature once logged into Windows 11.

Recall is now off by default

RECALL SECURITY CHANGES

  1. If you don’t proactively choose to turn it on, it will be off by default.
  2. Windows Hello enrolment is required to enable Recall. In addition, proof of presence is also required to view your timeline and search in Recall.
  3. Additional layers of data protection including “just in time” decryption protected by Windows Hello Enhanced Sign-in Security (ESS) so Recall snapshots will only be decrypted and accessible when the user authenticates. In addition, we encrypted the search index database.
Windows Hello enrolment is required to enable Recall

MORE SECURITY NOTES ON RECALL

  • Snapshots are stored locally. Copilot+ PCs have new NPUs (Neural Processing Unit) and this allows on device AI processing. No internet or cloud connections are used to store and process snapshots. Microsoft says your snapshots are yours and they are not used to train the AI on Copilot+ PCs.
  • Snapshots are not shared. Recall does not send your snapshots to Microsoft. Snapshots are not shared with any other companies or applications. Recall doesn’t share snapshots with other users who are signed into the same device, and per-user encryption ensures even administrators cannot view other users’ snapshots.
  • You will know when Recall is saving snapshots. You’ll see Recall pinned to the taskbar when you reach your desktop. You’ll have a Recall snapshot icon on the system tray letting you know when Windows is saving snapshots.
  • Digital rights managed or InPrivate browsing snapshots are not saved. Recall does not save snapshots of digital rights managed content or InPrivate browsing in supported web browsers.
  • You can pause, filter and delete what’s saved at any time. You can disable saving snapshots, pause them temporarily, filter applications and websites from being in snapshots, and delete your snapshots at any time.
  • Enterprise and customer choice. For customers using managed work devices, your IT administrator is provided the control to disable the ability to save snapshots. Your IT administrator CANNOT enable saving snapshots on your behalf.

Microsoft also posted on its blog:

“In our early internal testing, we have seen different people use Recall in the way that works best for them. Some love the way it makes remembering what they’ve seen across the web so much easier to find than reviewing their browser history. Others like the way it allows them to better review an online course or find a PowerPoint. And people are taking advantage of the controls to exclude apps they don’t want captured in snapshots, from communication apps or Teams calls, or to delete some or all their snapshots. This is why we built Recall with fine-grained controls to allow each person to customise the experience to their comfort level, ensuring your information is protected and that you are in control of when, what and how it is captured.”

I’m attending the Australian launch of CoPilot+ PCs at Microsoft, so if there are any more changes, I’ll report back to you.

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Bitfender

Avoid Being Scammed: Bitdefender Scamio Now in WhatsApp

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Revealed First on Sky News Weekend Edition Tech Chat with Djuro Sen

Bitdefender’s excellent AI chatbot – Scamio – is now integrated with WhatsApp. Scamio is a free service that analyses suspicious links, texts or QR codes. I started using the web app when it first launched and now I’ve been testing it within WhatsApp.

On your phone, click here to add Scamio as a contact in WhatsApp. From there you’ll have to login/create a free Bitdefender account. Once you’re connected, simply drop suspicious content, like a link or text message into a conversation with Scamio. Describe how you received the possible scam and what concerns you have about it.

 Scamio analyses and provides a verdict in a few seconds, sometimes a bit longer, along with recommendations on further actions. It’s a great contact to have in your database.

The conversational manner in which the checking takes place also makes it easier to understand what potential problems you could be facing.

Bitdender says, “Scamio was developed to disrupt criminal operations as threat actors rapidly increase adoption of AI and large language models and use of popular messaging apps and online services to steal money, credentials, and personal data. ”

The QR code option is a good one to look at I believe. Many people just automatically scan and click without checking if the site is legitimate. According to the Global State of Scams – 2023 Report, 76 per cent of respondents encountered an online scam at least once a month.

It definitely pays to stay alert.

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