Cyber Security: Apple gets hacky hack hacked

When the world’s biggest company has its main computer network hacked, who comes to mind as the culprit? A disgruntled employee? No. A nation-state backed hacker? Think again. An organised crime syndicate? Not even close. 

No, it was a 16-year-old self-confessed fan who “dreamed of” working for Apple.  

The boy from Melbourne is alleged to have hacked into Apple’s mainframe, downloading 90 gigabytes of sensitive files and accessing customer accounts. 

The Age reported that the boy, who cannot be named for legal reasons, saved the files in a folder aptly named “hacky hack hack”. 

Apple has stated that no customer data was compromised in the attack.

Insight by Clare Harris

Blockchain: Australian Government continues to invest in blockchain research

IP Australia has signed up with blockchain firm Agile Digital and secure cloud provider Vault Systems, to carry out blockchain trials. These trials aim to provide a solution to supply chain weaknesses in the food industry, starting with baby formula. The intent is that the blockchain technology will be able to track the export of Australian food produce, including to countries where supply chains may face reliability risks. The technology operates by registering the product’s trademark to a blockchain. Therefore, when an organisation creates or exports a product, it can notarise the trademark’s journey onto a blockchain. 

Customers in China for example, where baby formula imports have previously been tampered with, will now be able to use apps such as the WeChat app to track the product and be provided with information such as the date of production and exportation. If there are any gaps or ambiguities in the product’s journey, this is highlighted to the organisation and the customer as a potential concern.  

The use of blockchain technology is a further step in the Government’s attempt to bring its services into the digital age.

Insight by Rosalind Moffatt

Technology: ACMA sets reserve price for auction of initial 5G spectrum

The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) has released critical information for the upcoming auction of spectrum in the 3.6 GHz band (recognised internationally as the first band for 5G services), including the reserve price for the 350 lots on offer. 

5G (which it is hoped will enable enhanced mobile broadband, large-scale industrial automation and low latency, ‘ultra-reliable’ networks) is seen by many industry experts as being essential to accommodate the 75 billion connected devices estimated to be live globally by 2025.  Reacting to the high prices (and hesitant uptake) seen earlier in early 4G auctions, ACMA is hoping a low reserve price will encourage competitive bidding by telcos eager to claim their stake in a 5G-connected future. 

The auction is expected to be held in late November 2018, and parties wishing to participate must lodge their application by 31 August 2018.

Insight by Bryce Craig 

Internet of Things (IoT): Alibaba and Infineon join forces

China’s Alibaba Cloud (the cloud computing unit of the e-commerce giant) and Germany’s Infineon Technologies (a leading semiconductor manufacturer) have signed a memorandum of understanding to jointly promote uses of the Internet of Things (IoT).

The agreement focuses on the use of IOT applications in the fields of “smart life” and “smart industry” and, according to the parties, will help “facilitate the digital upgrade of Chinese enterprises and cities”. 

Leveraging its substantial experience with Industry 4.0 (the current trend of automation and data exchange in manufacturing technologies), Infineon will collaborate with Alibaba Cloud on its IoT operating system, AliOS Things, and provide technical services. Additionally, the two parties will further explore the planning, implementation and security standards of the IoT, with a view to ultimately enabling SMEs and individuals to deploy and access Alibaba Cloud in a low-cost, highly reliable manner.

Insight by Nikhil Shah 

Technology: Trillion dollar Apple 

It’s rare that we here at Digital Radar comment on the stock market (it’s more the domain of our friends in Corporate Advisory) but we thought the achievement of Apple Inc at the end of last week was worthy of mention. Shares in the tech behemoth and manufacturer of the iPhone closed at US$207.39 on Friday giving Apple a market capitalisation of US$1.002 trillion. It the first publicly-traded US company to crack the US$1 trillion milestone.

To put Apple’s enormity into perspective, it accounts for 4 per cent of the S&P 500 and its revenue exceeds the economic output of Portugal. The company’s shares have increased more than 50,000 per cent since its initial offering in 1980. 

Insight by Mark Ferguson

Blockchain: CBA: Building blockchains for almonds

CBA has announced that it has successfully completed an experimental blockchain project for Pacific National, Patrick and OOCL.  CBA built a blockchain in its Sydney innovation lab which was underpinned by distributed ledgers, smart contracts and the internet of things technology.  The blockchain tracked a 17 tonne shipment of almonds, such that it could be pin-point monitored along the entire length of its journey from Olam Orchards in Victoria to Germany.  IoT provider LX Group assisted CBA in the project by developing the location sensors that were used.

Trade finance and provenance are areas that are ripe for disruption due to their reliance on traditional paper-based systems and the high number of intermediaries in the process.  Blockchain technologies have the potential to revolutionise the way companies keep records secure and authenticate and track goods as they move along complex supply chains.  These benefits are already being recognised by the Australian startup AgriDigital, which is building a private blockchain for agricultural supply chains.  Major US and European banks are also collaborating to build similar systems through joint ventures such as We.Trade and Batavia.            

Insight by Catherine Gamble

Data privacy: Kidtech & cookies: won’t somebody think of the children! 

Much of privacy law assumes that the individual is able to give their informed consent as to how their personal information may be used by others.  While this may be an appropriate paradigm when it comes to adults, it is less appropriate when it comes to children. Children are a major market for digital providers – for example, YouTube and Netflix each offer services that are tailored to the interests of children.  

So, how should the personal information of children who interact with such services be handled?  The CEO of SuperAwesome, a technology provider that specialises in “kidtech” – that is, technology that is tailored to the child-sector – recently questioned the effectiveness of Australia’s regulatory response to the digital privacy of children and foreshadowed increased regulation in Australia in this space.  Such reforms could follow the legislative reforms undertaken in the US (the Children's Online Privacy Protection Rule – or COPPA) and the EU (GDPR). 

Insight by Bryce Craig

AI: RoboShop, coming to a home near you

Technology continues to have a big impact on retail institutions, and the rapid disruption doesn't appear to be letting up anytime soon. Chinese super retailer and Amazon competitor, JD.com has dialled in to the AI space building algorithmic tools to streamline and personalise the online retail experience. Take its ‘poem bot’ as one example of this, an algorithm (that may be the lifesaver to your last minute gift scramble) designed to create a tailored poem to accompany the gift you are buying. The bot is said to create ‘a poem based on the occasion and the characteristics of the person’ presumably disclosed by the shopper.

JD.com has also ramped up its logistical operations unveiling a drone delivery system on the ground and in the sky certain to catch the attention of its competitors. The super retailer offers delivery via a purpose designed delivery bot, with potential capabilities to interact with every day machines such as apartment elevators. Gone are the days of cursing the instruction manual as the delivery bot also has the ability to talk you through the assembly of your purchase whilst measuring your stress levels and detecting emotional changes throughout. The cost of these services to the business and the flow on to customer are unknown however they do make the ‘Jetson life’ seem more of a reality than just fiction.

Insight by Ed Davidson

Automated Vehicles: Australia's place in an emerging industry 

Australia is emerging as a critical player in development of automated vehicles (AVs). Most state governments are now trialling AVs and considering what regulatory reforms will be required. In NSW, for example, a consortium of technology providers, automotive companies, insurers and government departments have been trialling AV shuttles in Sydney Olympic Park since late last year. This is now expanding to a number of regional hubs across the state to ensure that AV developments also meet the needs of rural communities.

In addition to this, a number of home-grown enterprises are cementing their stake in the industry on the global stage. Zoox, an Australian start-up, turned four this year and recently closed a record round of funding for its AV ride-sharing solution that is set to “disrupt the disrupter”. Baraja is rethinking the traditional light detection and ranging systems (LIDAR) that sit at the heart of AVs, by offering a cheaper, in-chassis alternative designed to avoid the signal interference experienced when multiple traditional LIDARs are active in the same location.

Insight by Bryce Craig

IoT: “Can’t talk now, the drone is on the balcony with my groceries"

Sounds bizarre right, but drones that deliver your shopping could be here before we know it. Such is the exponential growth in technology innovation, how will the world’s ‘smart cities’ improve urban living for the ever increasing city population? 

A human-centric approach and embracing technology is key. We can already see this with developments such as: 
(1) intelligent parking – an app that enables drivers to find, navigate to and pay for available parking throughout a city in real time,
(2) multi-modal transport apps – mobile apps that combine all transport modes including trains, car shares and bikes allowing citizens to plan the quickest and greenest cross city journey, 
(3) green buildings – eco-friendly sustainable living in green urban villages, for example Sydney’s transformational One Central Park; and
(4) human-congestion management – sidewalk data hubs collecting data and tracking our movement and feeding this into improved traffic congestion management systems, allowing the seamless movement of people and vehicles throughout our cities, for example the Smart Pedestrian Signals Project in Dubai.

The challenge will be how the public and private sector can work together with citizens to maximise the endless opportunities in a safe, reliable and secure way. A question for later, I can’t answer now, “my driverless taxi is outside”.

Insight by Kevin Stewart

Blockchain: UK city partners with blockchain platform to offset carbon emissions

As businesses and politicians in Australia are divided over the use of carbon offsets, the city of Liverpool in the UK has taken to Twitter to announce its partnership with The Poseidon Foundation in a bid to become the world’s first climate positive city by 2020.

The Poseidon Foundation uses blockchain technology for governments and business to offset carbon emissions by supporting global conservation projects.  For Liverpool City Council, a year-long trial will utilise The Poseidon Foundation’s blockchain platform to offset the carbon impact of all products and services in the city by supporting global forest conversation projects.


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