NSW Police reveals hybrid cloud push for core systems – Strategy – Cloud – Software- Tempemail – Blog – 10 minute

NSW Police is planning to adopt a hybrid cloud platform to host the state’s future core policing systems.
The force revealed plans for the cloud platform through a restricted expression of interest process last week.
It represents the final piece of the puzzle in the once-in-a-generation overhaul of the state’s 24-year-old core operational policing system (COPS).
Chief information and technology officer Gordon Dunsford told iTnews the proposed hybrid cloud platform would be used to host a range of the force’s frontline IT solutions.
He said the IT solutions would include the force’s proposed integrated policing operating system (IPOS), which is expected to replace the legacy COPS system.
NSW Police has been trying to replace COPS – currently used for everything from the logging of criminal incidents to intelligence gathering and the pressing of charges – since 2015.
After restarting the procurement in October 2018 following a brief pause, the force shortlisted three contenders in the first half of last year to provide IPOS.
IPOS will contain modules for core police functions like investigation management, evidence and forensic data management and investigation and charge and custody management.
It will also replace NSW Police’s decade-old Fujitsu computer-aided dispatch system, which the force had originally tendered for separately.
But almost two years after the procurement for IPOS began, and almost a year after the suppliers were shortlisted, the force is yet to settle on a preferred supplier for IPOS. 
iTnews understands an announcement on the preferred supplier is now expected in the coming weeks.
Dunsford said the decision to go down the path of hybrid cloud had been taken “due to the significant co-existence required with legacy on premise IT systems for a number of years to come”.
“We view a hybrid cloud strategy gives NSWPF flexibility and access to high end capacity and compute such as multimedia analytics in GPUs,” he said.
Dunsford said the platform would build on the force’s work with Melbourne-based Amazon Web Services partner Versent to develop a “high-level cloud reference architecture (CRA) for NSWPF”.
He said that this CRA “has been used to input some of the business requirements in our EOI, though it was developed to be “intended to be independent of any particular cloud platform”.

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Lithuania reveals how Chinese spies recruit via LinkedIn – Security- Tempemail – Blog – 10 minute

Australia’s intelligence chiefs might be a little coy over the exact tactics used by hostile intelligence services to snare sources on professional networking sites like LinkedIn, but it’s a different story in Lithuania where social tradecraft has is now on full public display.   
Intelligence services Lithuania have provided key details on how individuals in the Baltic nation are targeted by Chinese spies on the Microsoft-owned professional networking site LinkedIn, to recruit sources in government departments and key industry sectors.
In its 2020 Tempemail Security Threat Assessment [pdf], the Lithuanian Ministry of Defence and the State Security Department intelligence agency (VSD) noted that thousands of LinkedIn users in the country and elsewhere in the world have received offers from fictitious Chinese companies to become consultants or to take up employment with them.
The companies are a cover for Chinese intelligence, which is exploiting LinkedIn’s dominant position as a recruitment site.
Civil servants, information technology specialists, defence sector employees, scientists and experts in specific fields are targeted by the Chinese to become spies.
VSD said the Chinese use LinkedIn’s messaging platform, with requests for consultancy services from targets.
Targets are asked to provide analytical assessment of trends in specific countries, and summaries of public and non-public political and military information, VSD said.
The LinkedIn accounts have Western first names and Chinese surnames, and fake photos that are sometimes generated with artificial intelligence.
Use of poor English characterise the accounts, and the Chinese companies usually have no history or don’t exist, with the description of their activity being abstract and often meaningless, VSD said.
To lure Lithuanians into working for them, the Chinese spies offer payment in advance for consultancy services and employment with confidentiality required.
Targets are also offered trips to China with all expenses covered.
The Chinese intelligence operatives arrange meetings in hotels that look like regular job interviews.
Their goal is to get the target to agree to the next meeting being held in China, and will follow up through communications channels outside LinkedIn such as email, and mobile apps like WeChat.
“The ultimate goal of the Chinese intelligence is to recruit targets in China.
Such operations are extremely cheap and pose no risk to Chinese intelligence officers,” VSD wrote.
China has partially overlapping strategic interests with Russia, and the two countries often coordinate positions on military and intelligence operations, VSD said.
The Lithuanians’ threat assessment comes after the Australian Security Intelligence Organisations (ASIO) in October last year warned business and government about how LinkedIn is being used by hostile intelligence agencies as a cultivation tool.
ASIO asked that people and companies operating in sensitive sectors should be far more judicious about what they reveal on LinkedIn and other social media, as providing too much information would help fulfil a wide range of intelligence objectives from hostile agencies.
Being exposed to hostile intelligence agencies has not prevented ASIO or Lithuanian government departments from using LinkedIn for recruitment. 

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Samsung reveals its Galaxy Z Flip clamshell phone in Oscars commercial – Blog – 10 minute

In brief: Samsung is set to announce its clamshell-style handset at an Unpacked event tomorrow, but the company has just revealed the device in a commercial aired during the Academy Awards.
Samsung is expected to unveil three Galaxy S20 phones and the Galaxy Z Flip at tomorrow’s event, but the Korean tech giant used the Oscars’ huge audience to tease the folding handset. The commercial was tweeted by Nilay Patel, editor in chief of The Verge.

Samsung just showed off the entire Z Flip during its Oscars ad. Small print says screen crease is normal, heh pic.twitter.com/uBesJ0FonT
— nilay patel (@reckless) February 10, 2020

Samsung still didn’t confirm that the phone would be called the Galaxy Z Flip—it was at one point rumored to be named the Bloom—but it looks as if Z Flip is the name it’s going with.
The ad shows the device from multiple angles, the way it opens and closes, and the small exterior screen, which has sliders that can be used to accept or reject a phone call. We also see how the phone can be propped up and used for video chatting with someone.
Last week, a tweeted video showed what’s alleged to be the Galaxy Z Flip. The phone’s folding mechanism looks smooth, with the user able to open it with one hand.

Samsung Galaxy Z Flip – First Hands On Video pic.twitter.com/4b8Uzt5kRB
— Ben Geskin (@BenGeskin) February 2, 2020

Still no official word on pricing or a launch date for the Z Flip. XDA Developers’ Max Weinbach believes it will be $1,400, which is $100 cheaper than Motorola’s Razr rival. He also said that the phone would likely launch on February 14 and that the Galaxy S20, S20+, and S20 Ultra would be available on March 6.

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Apple patent reveals foldable device with innovative hinge mechanism – Blog – 10 minute

Why it matters: For several years now, we’ve seen evidence that suggest Apple is working on a foldable phone. Now, the company has been granted another patent for such a device, but this one comes with an innovative hinge that should prevent it from experiencing issues found in similar handsets.
Reports that Apple has been working on a foldable go back to 2016, and we’ve seen several patent applications hinting at what the final design might look like—including one that resembles the Motorola Razr.
Today, the US Patent and Trademark Office granted an Apple patent—discovered by MacRumors—that describes a foldable device with a hinge that “ensure adequate separation between the first and second portions when the housing is bent.” When unfolded, the movable flaps extend to cover the gap, and the flaps retract when the phone is folded.

Image courtesy of MacRumors
The hinge has been an issue for several foldable devices, with many handsets, including the Galaxy Fold and Huawei Mate X, displaying screen creases when unfolded. Motorola’s Razr uses a design that avoids this thanks to its different design (below) but there have been complaints that it creaks when folded. Should Apple implement its patent’s design in a future iPhone or iPad, it could prevent screen creasing, though as with all patents, there’s no guarantee this will ever become an actual product.

While Samsung experienced a slew of problems with the Galaxy Fold, leading to many people questioning whether the devices had a future, a redesigned version was eventually released. It has only sold 400,000 units since September, lower than the company’s 500,000 target.

Several companies, including Xiaomi, Oppo, LG, and Lenovo either have or are developing foldable devices, while Apple has been slow to join the bandwagon. Company co-founder Steve Wozniak thinks this is a mistake on Cupertino’s part.
“Apple has been a leader for quite a long time in a few areas such as touch ID, facial ID, and easy payment with the phone. They’re not the leader in areas like the folding phone, and that worries me because I really want a folding phone,” said the Woz. “It’s one of those new technologies that catch my attention.”

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Telstra reveals broadband tax rules may be defined after bill is passed – Telco/ISP- Tempemail – Blog – 10 minute

Telstra says advice it has received from the Department of Communications suggests broadband tax laws will be pushed through parliament in their current state, with any lack of clarity left to regulators to navigate after the fact.
The telco wants the government to apply the tax to “services in operation” – a commonly used industry term – rather than to “premises” as the legislation currently stands.
While residential addresses usually only have one service per premises, Telstra argues leasing arrangements in commercial buildings make it harder for telcos to work out how many “premises” there are for the purpose of applying the tax.
Telstra regulatory principal Ivan Cook told a parliamentary hearing late last week that “in the residential market the arrangements are relatively simple.”
“You generally have one access line to one premises with one customer with one broadband service,” he said.
But in commercial buildings, “an end user may have multiple broadband services delivered to a single premises or multiple adjacent or non-adjacent premises,” Cook said.
“There may be several distinct access networks daisy-chained to bring the broadband service to the end user. 
“Enterprise end users are far more likely than residential customers to reconfigure their premises – expand, contract, combine – over time.”
Cook said that if enterprises are to pay the broadband tax, what constitutes a “premises” needs to be clearly defined.
“We would need to know exactly how many premises they had on a monthly basis, and ‘premises’ itself is not defined in the legislation,” he said.
“Is it based on a particular set of leasing-arrangement facts or something else?
“It would need to be laid out. I don’t know how your average business or organisation would be able to deal with that if there weren’t very clear guidance.”
Cook indicated Telstra had been in long-term discussions with the Department of Communications on the issue, resulting in some minor changes to explanatory notes accompanying the legislation.
However, Telstra has since revealed that the legislation is likely to go before parliament with “premises” left undefined – and it will be up to regulators after the fact to “clarify” and then police it.
“The Department has indicated that, to the degree there is a lack of clarity in the way the tax is to be applied, the ACMA [Australian Communications and Media Authority] will have a role to play in providing the necessary clarity,” Telstra said.
“In Telstra’s view it is unreasonable for a tax to be so unclear in its application that the drafters foresee an ongoing need for clarification by a regulatory agency even after the tax has taken effect.”
After years of delay, the government is hoping the broadband tax – called the regional broadband scheme or RBS – will be passed and in place by July 2020.
Money it collects will go towards the future costs of NBN Co’s fixed wireless and satellite networks.

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$15bn a year: YouTube reveals its ad revenues for the first time | Technology – Blog – 10 minute

Google’s YouTube advertising revenues topped $1bn a month in 2019, the company announced on Monday, the first time it has revealed how much money the streaming service brings in.
But the news was not enough to satisfy investors who sold off shares in Alphabet, Google’s parent company, when it announced revenues for the last quarter that were below expectations. Shares fell 4% after the markets closed.
Sundar Pichai, Alphabet’s chief executive, has promised more transparency at the company following his elevation and the decision of founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page to step down from day-to-day operations.

In his first quarterly earnings release as head of Alphabet, Pichai revealed YouTube had revenues of $15.15bn in revenue in 2019, with $4.72bn in the fourth quarter alone. The figures do not include YouTube’s non-advertising revenue, like subscriptions for YouTube TV, which are included in Google’s other revenue segment.
Google’s fast growing cloud business, where it is fighting for market share with Amazon and Microsoft, generated $8.92bn in revenue in 2019, with $2.61bn generated in the fourth quarter.
Overall revenues jumped 17.3% to $46bn, below analysts’ forecasts of $46.94bn and the company’s worst fourth-quarter revenue growth since 2015. The company made a profit of $10.6bn over the quarter and $34.4bn over 2019.
“Our investments in deep computer science, including artificial intelligence, ambient computing and cloud computing, provide a strong base for continued growth and new opportunities across Alphabet,” said Pichai.

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Report reveals hackers infiltrated UN servers in Geneva and Vienna last year – Blog – 10 minute

What just happened? In an apparent espionage operation launched in July 2019, hackers were able to compromise IT systems of UN offices in Geneva and Vienna. The incident was not disclosed by the organization, even to its employees, citing its undetermined nature and scope. A senior UN IT official recently confirmed the complex cyberattack that’s estimated to have leaked 400 GB of data.
According to The New Humanitarian, IT officials at the UN’s Geneva offices seemingly became aware of the hack a month later after it took place and issued an alert to their tech teams in August 2019.
“We are working under the assumption that the entire domain is compromised. The attacker doesn’t show signs of activity so far, we assume they established their position and are dormant.”
The publication also managed to obtain a confidential UN report mentioning “dozens of UN servers” – including systems at its human rights offices and HR department being compromised, some administrator accounts breached, along with identified vulnerabilities, containment efforts and a section titled: “Still counting our casualties.”
UN spokesperson Stéphane Dujarric, classified the incident as “serious” and noted that the breach was not publicly disclosed as its exact nature and scope could not be determined.

Keeping with the “cover-up culture” generally prevalent in such situations, the incident was not disclosed to the affected staff, who were asked to change their passwords after the breach. The only informed parties included internal IT teams and the chiefs of the UN Office at Geneva and the UN Office at Vienna.
The attack reportedly used some unknown malware and exploited a flaw in Microsoft SharePoint (CVE-2019-0604), a patch for which had been made available for months, but not applied.
The compromised data is said to include personnel records and information on thousands of commercial contracts, as hackers gained admin access on the network and ended up infiltrating over 40 servers across the organization’s offices in Vienna and Geneva, including its high commissioner’s office for human rights.
Given the UN’s unique diplomatic status, the organization is under no legal obligation to report the breach to a regulator or the public and is also not subject to Freedom of Information requests. However, keeping affected employees uninformed during such events goes against established cyber security practices, which brings into question the world body’s preparedness against such attacks and risks damaging its reputation and effectiveness in managing global affairs.

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Steam reveals its most popular games in December – Blog – 10 minute

In a nutshell: Did you buy any games on the Steam platform last month? Maybe you received a gift card as a Christmas present and splashed out on some titles. If so, was one of them in Steam’s list of best-sellers for the month of December?
As it always does with these things, Steam hasn’t listed the games in any particular order. There are a few games you’d expect to see, such as Halo: The Master Chief Collection and Red Dead Redemption 2.
There are also some names you wouldn’t expect; it appears Nancy Drew: Midnight in Salem is more popular than you’d imagine, and there are a few other titles in there you might not have heard of. Check out the full list at the bottom of the page.
What’s especially interesting is, as noted by PC Gamer, one of the top twenty games is VR Paradise Gentlemen’s Club, but it appears to have been removed from the main list of 20 games, leaving only 19—though you can still see the cover in the background (below). It’s also listed in the top 20 on the Steam blog, but clicking on it leads to a site error.

Steam notes that only a handful of tags applied to multiple games on the list: Action (9 games), Adventure (9), RPG (7), Indie (6), and Casual (6). The top free games of the month were Ylands, Paunch, Ironsight, Endless World and Inferna.
Valve recently revealed its best-selling games of 2019. They include PUBG, Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice, Total War: Three Kingdoms, and, despite being released on Windows back in 2015, the ever-popular GTA V.
Top selling games in December based on revenue generated during the first two weeks after launch:

Halo: The Master Chief Collection
Nancy Drew: Midnight in Salem
Day of Dragons
Darksiders Genesis
Red Dead Redemption 2
Endless World Idle RPG
Nostos The Lost Home
Ashen
GTFO
Boneworks
Dragon Quest Builders 2
Hades
Hurtworld
Last Year
Transport Fever 2
Vampire: The Masquerade: Coteries of New York
Sayonara Wild Hearts
Winter Resort Simulator
DJMAX Respect V

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Telstra reveals 4x cost gap on 5G site builds – Telco/ISP- Tempemail – Blog – 10 minute

Telstra is expecting wide variation in the cost of deploying its 5G network, with some “macro” 5G sites four or more times more expensive to build than others.
The telco revealed the cost discrepancy in a regulatory filing on Tuesday night, adding a fresh dimension of uncertainty to what is already shaping to be an expensive build exercise.
Carriers are re-farming existing spectrum for 5G but are also likely to be in the market for more via an auction planned for late 2021.
They must also deploy 5G without the presence of Huawei equipment owing to a government ban; Huawei commissioned research this week claiming its exclusion means telcos are paying a deployment mark-up of “nearly 30 percent” or “up to $300 million extra annually … over the next decade.”
On top of equipment and spectrum costs, telcos like Telstra are also still trying to navigate evolving 5G standards and use cases.
According to Telstra, there are difficult decisions being made now as to how much capability to build into the 5G network now versus later into the future.
“The cost to deploy any new macro 5G site can vary easily by a factor of three-to-four fold simply based on the capabilities and future flexibility we want to build in upfront,” Telstra said.
“This is because 5G is an evolving technology with many of its capabilities only becoming enabled in core technology and devices over the next three-to-five years. 
“There are choices to be made on whether a bare bones site deployment is made to service the current capabilities only or whether to expend much more per site with an aim not to have to revisit as new use cases and demand develops.”
Coinciding with its presence at the annual Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas earlier this month, Telstra said it had 800 5G sites live nationwide across 26 cities.
The telco also said it had “nearly 100,000 5G services to our network … with a quarter of the phones we’ve sold since July 2019 5G-compatible.”
Telstra is offering 5G connectivity free to all customers with a compatible device for at least a year, though it ultimately plans to charge extra when users are in a 5G zone.

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NBN Co reveals active Sky Muster users within 25km of city centres – Telco/ISP- Tempemail – Blog – 10 minute

NBN Co has revealed for the first time the number of active satellite users within a 25 kilometre radius of most major Australian capital cities.
The network builder disclosed the numbers under freedom of information (FoI) on December 18 last year. [pdf]
This in itself is remarkable – it’s only the third time since December 2017 that a FoI lodged with NBN Co has been successful.
But it also provides the most accurate picture to date of how many premises in otherwise urban zones prove too hard to connect to the NBN using anything other than Sky Muster.
The FoI reveals there are 1033 premises connected to Sky Muster that are geographically within a 25km radius of the GPO in Sydney, Brisbane, Adelaide, Perth, Melbourne and Hobart. Almost half are within 25km of Adelaide’s GPO.
iTnews has confirmed these are all premises with active Sky Muster connections.

For several years there’s been interest in the number of metropolitan fringe premises that NBN Co is putting in the Sky Muster footprint because the cost-to-serve with other access technologies was too high.
One cause for concern is that rural and remote users could be disadvantaged if too many people connect to Sky Muster. Already, they mostly pay more and receive less quota than NBN users on other access technologies.
Back in March 2017, a dump of NBN rollout data by electorate – again, released via FoI – showed 4013 premises in “urban” electorates had been allocated Sky Muster.
It’s unclear how the number of “urban” premises eligible for Sky Muster has changed since.
But the new set of numbers shows appears to show that, as with the rest of the Sky Muster footprint, many premises eligible to connect don’t do so.
A connection rate of 1033 out of 4013 eligible premises is around 25 percent take-up; that’s more or less the same as the footprint wide take-up rate of 23 percent.
It also shows that urban Sky Muster users are unlikely to pose major capacity problems for other satellite users, given they are a bit over one percent of all active Sky Muster users.
NBN Co notes that distance from a city’s general post office building isn’t an accurate determinant for access technology.
“It is important to note that distance from a capital city’s GPO is not necessarily an indicative measure of whether a given premises can expect to be connected to the NBN via satellite vs. fixed line or fixed wireless services,” it said.
“It is NBN Co’s practice to deploy Sky Muster satellite services where providing fixed line or fixed wireless connections to that area would be unworkable.”
It would also be instructive to know how the number of active Sky Muster premises changes if a smaller radius is used, since a 25km radius applied to some capitals quickly encompasses some semi-rural areas; however, iTnews was unable to gain that point of comparison at the time of publication.

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