AFP Investigating Hoax COVIDSafe SMS Messages

For your free ISO 27001 - Information Security Management System - Gap Analysis Checklist, please click here. The Australian Federal Police are investigating fraudulent messages that have been sent to people’s phones prompting them to log their personal movements, masquerading as the government’s new COVIDSafe application. The message is playing on fears about the government’s COVIDTrace app, which, as of Tuesday, had nearly 2.5 million downloads. It tells the recipient that “the COVIDsafe App has detected you are now +20km from your nominated home address.” “Please register your reason for travel by calling 1300 1MY GOV (+61 1300 169 468) within 15 minutes of receiving this SMS (10:12am AES

This Pandemic Gave Us A Crash-Course In Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs

The COVID-19 pandemic has forced organisations of all shapes and sizes to reevaluate their way of operating. By this stage, it’s no secret that businesses have had to go back to the drawing board and innovate with new ways of moving forward in line with the stringent health regulations hitting the economy. There is, however, one key ingredient to this organisational ‘soul searching’ that I believe would transform their chances at impacting people’s lives positively, which in turn helps them transform the lives of their employees, as well as their bottom line. Way back in 1943, Abraham Maslow presented a paper to the Psychological Review publication titled “A Theory of Human Motivation”, wher

Footwear Retailer Sees “Seismic Shift” To Online Sales; May Close 522 Stores

Footwear retail giant, Accent Group - who owns popular stores like DC Hype, Athlete’s Foot and Platypus - has said that the chain will move its focus from brick-and-mortar stores to become a digital-first organisation post-crisis, after witnessing a ‘seismic shift’ toward online sales. Chief Executive at the Accent Group, Daniel Agostinelli, told Fairfax that he is planning on closing at least 50, and as many as 100 of Accent’s physical stores around the country as part of a “major repositioning” of the business after online sales skyrocketed in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic. “More closures could be on the cards if discussions with landlords turned sour,” writes Dominic Powell. Mr Ag

Here’s Why Hundreds of Thousands Of Businesses Haven’t Applied For JobKeeper

It’s the most expensive welfare program ever released by an Australian government, however, Hundreds of thousands of eligible Australian businesses are yet to file their JobKeeper application. Assistant Treasurer Michael Sukkar has confirmed that half a million businesses have signed up to the JobKeeper program, covering more than three million Australian employees. That number would seem comprehensive, if it weren’t for the fact that more than 900,000 organisations expressed interest in the program and haven’t yet lodged an application. According to a report from the ABC a number of employers are blaming convoluted exclusions, uncertainty on exactly what employees are eligible as well as th

Uber Loses CTO; Considers 20% Staff Layoffs With Bookings Down 80%

Uber has lost one of its top engineers, after its chief technology officer, Thuan Pham resigned from the company, the company revealed earlier this week, as it looks to cut costs amidst the coronavirus pandemic’s social isolation instructions eviscerating its core business model. Pham was hired by Uber as its chief technology officer back in 2013, and upon his departure, will be the longest-serving executive at Uber. He’s one of the last executives of the ‘Kalanick’ era, Uber’s former CEO who was ultimately taken down by scandals. “While the work is never done, I feel comfortable hanging up my hat at a time when the Uber Engineering team is at peak productivity, we have built robust system s

British Airways To Cut 12,000 Staff Amid Travel Collapse

Airline British Airways has announced a new restructuring and redundancy program that will cut more than a quarter of its workforce amid the global airline industry’s COVID-19 induced collapse. British Airways’ parent company IAG, who also owns Spanish airline Iberia and Irish Aer Lingus has said in a statement that it has been forced to implement a “restructuring and redundancy programme” until air travel demand reaches 2019 levels. IAG wrote that “the proposals remain subject to consultation, but it is likely that they will affect most of British Airways’ employees and may result in the redundancy of up to 12,000” of its staff members. IAG has reported a 13% decline in its first-quarter re

Website For 2nd Round of Small Business Loans Crashes in Minutes

For your free ISO 27001 - Information Security Management System - Gap Analysis Checklist, click here The Small Business Administration opened its second round of applications for the Paycheck Protection Program yesterday, which was plagued by a host of technical issues, as well as a fierce backlog of applications from the first round which has resulted in the organisation saying it is “deeply frustrated” with the rollout so far. The SBA’s processing site, known as E-Tran, has been inundated with applications for the paycheck protection program, which in its first round was completely out of funds in less than two weeks when funds ran out on April 16th. The E-Tran system has had a number of

Texas Manufacturing Drops to Near-Recession Levels

Statistics from the month of April are showing a mammoth drop in the rate of manufacturing in the state of Texas, bringing levels to near-recession levels, according to the Federal Bank of Dallas. The state has been hit particularly hard by the collapse in global oil prices, as well as the coronavirus pandemic, according to a report from the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas. The Fed’s production index - a temperature check on the rate of manufacturing in the state - dropped to negative 55.3, down from negative 35.3 in March; the lowest rate since the report was created in 2004. You can access the report in full here The new orders index dropped 26 points to negative 67 points, while the growth

COVIDSafe Data May Not Be Protected From U.S. Subpoena

Legal experts and crossbenchers have said that data collected by the Australian Government’s COVIDSafe app might not be protected from a US subpoena to assist in a law enforcement investigation, because Australia is not yet designated as a 'qualified foreign government' and is therefore obliged to cooperate. Last week it was revealed that under the 2018 Cloud Act, US law enforcement can legally obtain data they require from a US-registered company to assist with their investigation. Amazon Web Services was recently awarded the government’s invitation-only tender to house the data collected from the COVIDSafe app. Considering Amazon is a US-registered company, under a subpoena, theoretically,

Optus Sued For Handing Over Details of 50,000 Customers Without Consent

Optus is staring down the barrel of a class-action lawsuit from customers aggrieved that the telco published the names and addresses of 50,000 of its customers without their consent. It’s one of the first and largest class-action suits against a telecommunication company for breaching privacy laws after publishing the details of its unwitting customers, stating that SingTel Optus is in violation of the 1988 Privacy Act. Maurice Blackburn, the law firm filing the complaint, said that up “until now, no class action using the Act has been brought on behalf of customers seeking compensation.” “Too often we see reports of data mismanagement and it’s time for companies to be held accountable for t

Virgin Atlantic Hires Investment Bank To Secure Additional Funding

Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Atlantic has called investment bank Houlihan Lokey to help secure additional funds from investors as it looks to all options to avoid entering administration. The airline, like many other organisations - particularly in the aviation industry - has been hit staggeringly hard by the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, and is looking for cash injections after its application for a government bail-out was rejected. The Virgin Atlantic group is 51% owned by Richard Branson’s Virgin Group, and 49% owned by American company Delta Airlines, who says it is unwilling to inject more cash into the airline due to their own cash crisis. A spokesperson for Richard Branson has issu

COVID-Trace App Hits 1 Million Downloads In Five Hours

The Federal Government is celebrating after more than a million Australians downloaded the COVIDSafe app the same evening it was launched; privacy advocates COVIDSafe was released at 6pm AEDST on Sunday, and by 10:30pm that same evening, more than a million Australians had downloaded it. That number blew away forecasts from the government, who were estimating that it would take around five days to hit the 1 million downloads milestone. Health Minister Greg Hunt tweeted that “at 6:00am, it was 1.13 million Australians who had downloaded it… we got the first million within five hours. We had been hoping, our best hope, was we might get to 1 million in five days.” The government requires a 40 p

Hackers Sell 267-Million Facebook Profiles For Just $540

For your free ISO 27001 - Information Security Management System - Gap Analysis Checklist, Click here. More than a quarter of a billion Facebook profiles have been sold on the darkweb for a measly $540, as recently revealed by a cybersecurity firm. The news comes from cybersecurity firm Cyble, the same firm responsible for breaking the news of more than half a million Zoom profiles being sold on the darkweb for just 50 cents a pop. The team posted a blog stating that “the threat actors have dropped an online bomb by dropping the identities of 267 million Facebook users for 500 Euros - the details include their email, Fname, Lname, phone, Facebook ID, Last Connection, Status, Age.” “At this s

Renewables Push Electricity Prices To Four-Year Low; Emissions at Record-Lows

For your free ISO 14001 - Environmental Management Systems - Gap Analysis Checklist, click here. Australia’s main electricity grid is reporting the cheapest prices seen in more than four years, as emissions drop to record-setting lows with the addition of large scale wind and solar projects to the grid. The data comes from the Australian Energy Market Operator’s latest quarterly energy dynamics report - which can be accessed here - was released just a day ago, and tracks an extremely volatile first quarter of the year with volatility, a crash in the oil market as well as the fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic. Electricity futures traded on the Australian stock exchange for the Q2 and Q3 quarte

Data From COVID-Tracker Could Be Accessed By US Law Enforcement

For your free ISO 27001 - Information Security Management System - Gap Analysis Checklist, Click here Takeaways: -Amazon Web Servers was awarded the government’s invitation-only contract -The US-registered company was chosen over several vetted Australian companies -Data held by U.S. companies can be accessed by U.S. law enforcement -Encryption keys will be stored in the cloud, going against cybersecurity best practice Amazon has won the contract to provide data storage for the Federal Government’s new COVID-tracker app, raising concerns from government insiders and tech analysts that storing data offshore could ultimately be used by US law enforcement agencies. Under U.S. legislation, law e

Agency Leaks Details Of 8,000 Businesses Applying For COVID Relief

For your free ISO 27001 - Information Security Management System - Gap Analysis Checklist, click here. The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) is in damage control after a bug on its website caused a wide-sprawling leak of up to 8,000 already vulnerable companies. A website was set up by the SBA to provide financial relief for small businesses feeling the pressure from the COVID-19 pandemic, known as the Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) portal. The portal took applications from organisations “currently experiencing a temporary loss of revenue,” and was handing out $10,000 grants to eligible businesses. The bad news for these organisations was that the SBA’s website in March of this

Netflix Reports Best-Ever Quarter; Adds Nearly 16 Million Subscribers

Streaming giant Netflix has blown its forecasts away with a record-setting quarter that added 16 million subscribers to the popular video streaming platform. Yesterday, Netflix published its quarterly earnings report which saw its forecasts for the quarter absolutely shattered by a pandemic leading tens, if not millions of people stuck at home and signing up to its services. The figures were more than double what entertainment analysts and Wall Street alike had predicted for the company, and represented by far the company’s single biggest quarter of its history. In January, Netflix said that it anticipated it would add around seven million subscribers in the three-month period following. The

Key Takeaways From The Reserve Bank’s Press Conference

Takeaways - 10% drop in national output forecasted - Total hours worked drop 20% - Unemployment rate 10% by June - Record low cash-rate of 0.25% introduced - Unlimited quantitative easing - Signs of recovery predicted for September - 2021’s GDP could jump 6-7% Australia is set to be impacted by the largest economic contraction recorded since the 1930s, and the Reserve Bank has overnight slashed cash rates to record-lows as it plans for Australia’s post-pandemic recovery efforts amid fierce jumps in the unemployment rate and drops in national output. The RBA’s Governor, Philip Lowe said that the contraction is a “once in a century event” that is anticipated to crash Australia’s national outp

Signals Directorate Says Government’s Cyber Protection Still Too Low

For your free ISO 27001 - Information Management System - Gap Analysis Checklist, click here. The Australian Signals Directorate - ASD - has released a report stating that most government agencies are coming up short when it comes to cyber security, with more than 70% reporting ‘below baseline’ levels of protections, in spite of the fact they house remarkably sensitive data. The ASD is the agency responsible for defending against foreign intelligence and cyber security threats against Australian businesses and individuals, and is warning that if left unaddressed, these pose a massive risk to the integrity of sensitive data, and a potential pay-day for hackers. The report, which can be access

JobKeeper Applications Are Now Open: ATO Issues Guidelines

The Federal Government is now officially taking applications for its $130 billion JobKeeper scheme, and the ATO has issued a set of updated guidelines for organisations looking to access the stimulus package. The scheme is aimed at supporting an expected 6.7 Australians that have been impacted by the economic toll of the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as their employers to keep them on the books. The $130 billion JobKeeper package is the single largest government spending policy ever, and in light of the anticipated 850,000 Australian businesses that the government estimates will apply for the JobKeeper package, the Australian Taxation Office has released a number of guidelines for sole traders,

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