Sunday, July 13, 2014

Preparing for Astricon 2014

I will be heading out to Vegas to talk security in October

I have been allocated the following date and time for my talk (but would advise that this may be subject to change):

Date: Thursday, October 23rd
Time: 10.00-10.35am
Track: Security
Title: Making your Asterisk system secure

Have you signed up Astricon yet? 

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Celebrating 137 years of public telephone

Today is the birthday of good old Ma Bell:

The Bell Telephone Company, a common law joint stock company, was organized in Boston, Massachusetts on July 9, 1877, by Alexander Graham Bell's father-in-law Gardiner Greene Hubbard, who also helped organize a sister company — the New England Telephone and Telegraph Company. (Source Wikipedia)

It constantly amazes me that we have come so far from Bell's original design to HD voice, fiber to the home, the internet, mobile phones, smart phones, and VoIP.

In so little time we have gone well beyond anything that could be imagined by the science fiction authors, some of whom influenced the current tech trend.

To please take a min. to think of good ol'Ma Bell and all her children (legitimate or otherwise) that bring you this post today.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Is a Smart House a Smart choice?

Over the past several weeks there have been numerous announcements about smart houses and smart homes.

There was a nice summary about how The smart home is the next battleground: What to expect from the top 3 tech companies? In this article TechTimes explains how 
Google, Microsoft, and Apple getting involved in home automation, it is clear that this will be the next battleground, and at the moment no one truly has the upper hand.
But there are more players looking to get into this market.

There are even do it yourself (DIY) options with articles explaining It is cheap and easy to turn your home into a smart house.
As with any new connected technology there are reasons to be concerned. For example here is a slide show of 4 ‘smart home’ gadgets you don’t want hacked and there are 3 big risks with 'smart homes'.

But for me the biggest concern is stories like how Australian Apple devices hijacked and held for ransom

Now consider that someone could hack your home, change (or deactivate) your alarm, change the access code, play with your heat, etc. 

It reminds me of some of the tricks played by a computer in Robert Heinlein's The Moon is a Harsh Mistress:
Mike had thought up a dandy; his "illness" was wild oscillations in conditioning Warden's residence. He was running its heat up, then down, on an eleven-minute cycle, while oscillating its air pressure on a short cycle, ca. 2c/s, enough to make a man dreadfully nervy and perhaps cause earache.
Do you want someone to have that kind of control over your home? I don't.

Monday, May 19, 2014

As always, Scott Adams gets it right

And this is why we can not kill spam, phishing, and fraud
For every 99 people with a clue there is one that falls for it.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Move to end Bill Shock: Telecoms Slash Data Roaming

(Cross posted between my travel and telecom blogs)

Over the past 18 months or so the telecom industry has been slowly going through a subtle change that affects travelers.

Back in December 2012 Telecom [New Zealand] announced a breakthrough new approach to international data roaming that will slash costs for travellers when using their smartphones and other mobile devices overseas.
A feature is a flat daily rate for data roaming by postpaid customers across major travel markets. Australia roaming will start at a specially reduced rate of $6 a day (Telecom will review the rate in mid 2013). Customers will pay just $10 a day flat rate for data while travelling in the UK, USA, Canada, China, Hong Kong, Macau, Taiwan, and Saudi Arabia. Telecom’s fair use policy applies to these rates.

Telecom’s CEO, Simon Moutter, said the flat rate would make it much simpler for customers to understand data roaming costs and would give them the freedom to make use of their smartphones in the same way they would at home.

“We know data roaming charges have been a pain-point for customers – personally, it was a real bugbear of mine as a customer before I joined Telecom earlier this year. A flat fee provides certainty and puts an end to concerns about nasty bill shocks on your return home.

“It’s also much simpler to follow than any usage-based system – as most customers don’t really know how quickly their phone apps will chew through 1MB, 10MB or 100MB.”
Now other companies have started to follow suit:
On October 20, 2013 “T-Mobile changed the way you can use your smartphone in more than 100 foreign countries” with their T-Mobile's New Global Roaming. While T-Mobile’s Simple Choice plan allows certain customers to roam in about 116 countries as if they were at home.
In March 2014 T-Mobile added 7 countries to Simple Choice Global International roaming list so it is now 122 countries.

MTN cuts cost of roaming across own 'footprint' MTN has introduced its Roam like Home service that enables all its customers to keep in touch with family and friends at affordable rates while travelling in any of the 21 countries that it operates in.

Now the EU parliament votes to abolish roaming end to mobile roaming charges across the EU by 2016, if it is approved by all the member countries.

So, now with only a few SIM cards you can now have unlimited calling and flat rate data in 145 countries:

Country Telecom NZ SIM T-Mobile USA Simple Choice SIM Any MTN SIM Any EU Carrier
Afghanistan T-Mobile as Investcom
Aland Islands T-Mobile
Anguilla T-Mobile
Antigua and Barbuda T-Mobile
Argentina T-Mobile
Armenia T-Mobile
Aruba T-Mobile
Australia T-Mobile
Austria T-Mobile  in 2016
Bahrain T-Mobile
Barbados T-Mobile
Belgium T-Mobile  in 2016
Benin  as Investcom
Bermuda T-Mobile
Bolivia T-Mobile
Bonaire T-Mobile
Botswana  as Botswana Mascom
Brazil T-Mobile
British Virgin Islands T-Mobile
Bulgaria T-Mobile  in 2016
Cambodia T-Mobile
Cameroon  as MTN Cameroon
Canada Telecom NZ T-Mobile
Canary Islands T-Mobile
Cayman Islands T-Mobile
Chile T-Mobile
China Telecom NZ T-Mobile
Christmas Island T-Mobile
Colombia T-Mobile
Costa Rica T-Mobile
Cote d'Ivoire  as MTN Cote d'Ivoire
Croatia  in 2016
Curacao (Netherlands/Dutch Antilles) T-Mobile
Cyprus T-Mobile  as MTN Cyprus  in 2016
Czech Republic T-Mobile  in 2016
Denmark T-Mobile  in 2016
Dominica T-Mobile
Dominican Republic T-Mobile
Easter Island T-Mobile
Ecuador T-Mobile
Egypt T-Mobile
El Salvador T-Mobile
Estonia T-Mobile  in 2016
Faeroe Islands T-Mobile
Finland T-Mobile  in 2016
France T-Mobile  in 2016
French Guiana T-Mobile
Germany T-Mobile  in 2016
Ghana T-Mobile  as Investcom, MTN Ghana
Greece T-Mobile  in 2016
Grenada T-Mobile
Guadeloupe T-Mobile
Guam T-Mobile
Guatemala T-Mobile
Guinea Bissau  as Investcom
Guyana T-Mobile
Honduras T-Mobile
Hong Kong Telecom NZ T-Mobile
Hungary T-Mobile in 2016
Iceland T-Mobile
India T-Mobile
Indonesia T-Mobile
Iran  as MTN Irancell
Iraq T-Mobile
Ireland T-Mobile  in 2016
Israel T-Mobile
Italy T-Mobile  in 2016
Jamaica T-Mobile
Japan T-Mobile
Kenya T-Mobile
Kuwait T-Mobile
Latvia T-Mobile  in 2016
Liberia  as Lonestar Cell
Lithuania T-Mobile  in 2016
Luxembourg T-Mobile in 2016
Macau Telecom NZ T-Mobile
Malaysia T-Mobile
Malta T-Mobile  in 2016
Martinique T-Mobile
Mexico T-Mobile
Moldova T-Mobile
Montserrat T-Mobile
Netherlands T-Mobile  in 2016
Netherlands Antilles T-Mobile
New Zealand Telecom NZ T-Mobile
Nicaragua T-Mobile
Nigeria  as MTN Nigeria
North America & Caribbean T-Mobile
Northern Ireland T-Mobile
Norway T-Mobile
Pakistan T-Mobile
Panama T-Mobile
Peru T-Mobile
Philippines T-Mobile
Poland T-Mobile  in 2016
Portugal T-Mobile  in 2016
Qatar T-Mobile
Republic of Congo  as MTN Congo SA
Republic of Guinea  as Investcom
Romania T-Mobile  in 2016
Russia T-Mobile
Rwanda  as MTN Rwanda
San Marino T-Mobile
Saudi Arabia Telecom NZ T-Mobile
Scotland T-Mobile
Singapore T-Mobile
Sint Maarten T-Mobile
Slovakia T-Mobile  in 2016
Slovenia  in 2016
South Africa T-Mobile  as MTN South Africa
South Korea T-Mobile
South Sudan  as Investcom
Spain T-Mobile  in 2016
Sri Lanka T-Mobile
St. Barthelemy T-Mobile
St. Kitts and Nevis T-Mobile
St. Lucia T-Mobile
St. Martin T-Mobile
St. Vincent and the Grenadines T-Mobile
Sudan  as Investcom
Suriname T-Mobile
Svalbard T-Mobile
Swaziland  as MTN Swaziland
Sweden T-Mobile  in 2016
Switzerland T-Mobile
Syria  as Investcom
Taiwan Telecom NZ T-Mobile
Thailand T-Mobile
Trinidad and Tobago T-Mobile
Turkey T-Mobile
Turkmenistan (No Data network) T-Mobile
Turks and Caicos Islands T-Mobile
Uganda T-Mobile  as MTN Uganda
UK Telecom NZ T-Mobile  in 2016
Ukraine T-Mobile
United Arab Emirates T-Mobile
Uruguay T-Mobile
USA Telecom NZ T-Mobile
Vatican City T-Mobile
Venezuela T-Mobile
Vietnam T-Mobile
Wales T-Mobile
Yemen  as Investcom
Zambia T-Mobile  as MTN Zambia

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Replacing Flappybird with Premium Number Fruad

Much to the dismay of millions of players, the creator of the Flappybird mobile game took it down from Google Play and Apple iTunes app stores.

Now there has been many speculations as to why someone would take down a game that was earning him $50,000 a day in advertising revenue. The various reasons have been stated as:

But regardless of what the real reason is people have come in to fill your Flappybird addiction with replacements or by selling phones with it installed on e-bay (which you can not do anymore).

But you should be wary of FlappyBird replacements -According to a report by Trend Microsystems
All of the fake versions we’ve seen so far are Premium Service Abusers — apps that send messages to premium numbers, thus causing unwanted charges to victims’ phone billing statements.

As the TrendMicro article advises:
We advise Android users (especially those who are keen to download the now “extinct” Flappy Bird app) to be careful when installing apps. Cybercriminals are constantly cashing in on popular games (like Candy Crush, Angry Birds Space, Temple Run 2; Bad Piggies) to unleash mobile threats. Our past entry, Checking the Legitimacy of Android Apps, enumerates some tips on how to do avoid suspicious or malicious apps. Users may also opt to install a security app (such as Trend Micro Mobile Security) to be able to check apps even before installation.         
Always remember in cases like this TANSTAAFL so be careful there are those who are out there to take advantage of you.