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ACS Week in Review: 24 April 2014

Thursday, 24 Apr 2014

457 Visas in ICT – your views needed

As flagged in the President’s blog update of 10 March, the ACS is calling on all ACS members to help us provide a submission into the independent review of integrity in the subclass 457 programme.

Submissions are due on 30 April so time is tight. Send your comments to policy@acs.org.au – Our submission will be made available once we have submitted. 

 

Information Age

Information Age has been reborn. Access it at http://ia.acs.org.au on your mobile device and let us know what you think. We are looking for unique content from all our members. Please submit articles and feedback to communications@acs.org.au

The ACS Week In Review is a collection of key news items from the previous week, which may be of interest to ACS members and stakeholders. To view the full news item, simply click on the link in the headline.

 

Schools jump online taking parents with them

Low-tech days in the old school yard are going, going gone as Australian schools collectively embrace online systems automating everything from canteen orders to selling seats at the end of year concert.

Fast heading the way of the dodo is the traditional method of organising the end-of-term parent teacher interview.

A growing number of schools have replaced the slip of paper sent home for parents to tick their preferred times with booking systems that enable them to reserve their slots online.

It's a no-brainer, says Schoolinterviews.com.au owner Andrea Carr, whose system is used by 1400 primary and secondary schools across Australia. Most learn of it by word of mouth – typically when a teacher or parent sees it in use at another school.

Primary schools pay $150 a year for unlimited access, while prices for high schools start at $195.

It beats "a great big pile of notes on the desk" and hours of work for teachers, as they try to manually match parent availability with their own and avoid clashes with siblings' interview times, Carr says.

"They’ll go to the principal and say, 'we've just seen this'," she says.

 

iiNet to spend $400m on digital

INTERNET service provider iiNet could spend more than $400 million acquiring digital assets and investing in start-ups as part of its diversification, but chairman Michael Smith plans a measured approach.

“If we had to spend north of $400m I think we could, but I don’t want to be drawn into numbers,” Mr Smith said.

He said iiNet was not specifically eyeing media and internet companies, but digital outfits were a different story.

“No, we’re not on a drive to acquire media and internet companies ... that would be too specific,” Mr Smith said. But “if you and I were talking in a year or two and reflecting that iiNet had made a number of acquisitions in the digital space, I wouldn’t be surprised by that”.

iiNet was ready to pay up to $350m for fibre optic network provider AAPT in December but was gazumped by TPG Telecom’s $450m bid.

Mr Smith said iiNet’s executive team had proved to be “very accomplished at making acquisitions.

 

Businesses need to inform users about Heartbleed exposure

Poor software development practices, and vendors who fail to communicate, came under fire at a webcast briefing session on the Heartbleed OpenSSL security flaw conducted by the SANS Institute's Internet Storm Centre (ISC) Thursday morning Australian time (Wednesday evening US time).

This was the second Heartbleed briefing held by SANS in two days, and this time they announced it via a "FLASH" edition of their NewsBites email newsletter. "FLASH NewsBites are issued only when a security event demands global and immediate action. The HeartBleed Open SSL vulnerability fits that description," they wrote.

SANS ISC had earlier moved to INFOCON Yellow. This security posture indicates that they're currently tracking a significant new threat, where the impact is either unknown or expected to be minor to the infrastructure, but where local impact could be significant. Under INFOCON Yellow, users are advised to take immediate specific action to contain the impact.

"The big problem with the vulnerability isn't just that your passwords can be compromised, it's that the certificates that protect your passwords — and all of your encrypted information — can also be compromised. That's a huge, huge liability. And it turns out that if an attacker has captured traffic at some point in the past, they can now take those certificates and decrypt that traffic," Williams said.