Australian News

Stolen American malware used to take over traffic cameras in Australia

23rd Jun 2017

There’s fresh reason to be worried about Wannacry, the malicious software that hackers stole from the U.S. National Security Agency.

In May, hackers used the malware to infect computers in more than 70 countries. The attack was particularly bad in England, where the software disrupted service at many of the country’s busiest hospitals.

Now, the software has been used to take control of 55 speed and red light cameras in Victoria, the most densely populated state in Australia. The Czech security company Avast says the hackers didn’t use the Internet to launch the attack. The infection came through a USB drive.

That was likely the same technique the U.S. and Israel used to damage Iran’s Natanz nuclear facility with the Stuxnet virus.

Jonathan Penn, director of strategy at Avast, said in a statement Thursday:

“This attack has shown us that even if your device is not directly connected to the Internet, that doesn’t mean it is completely safe or can’t be infected with ransomware like WannaCry. The traffic cameras were connected to a vulnerable USB drive, which at one point got infected with malware.

“This incident isn’t the first of its kind. Stuxnet did its job on the Iranian nuclear facilities through none other than a USB in 2012.

“These attacks shine a light on not only the dangers of USB drives, but the diverse ways behind the spreading of malware and viruses like WannaCry or Stuxnet and the need for robust protections.”

There’s fresh reason to be worried about Wannacry, the malicious software that hackers stole from the U.S. National Security Agency.

In May, hackers used the malware to infect computers in more than 70 countries. The attack was particularly bad in England, where the software disrupted service at many of the country’s busiest hospitals.

Now, the software has been used to take control of 55 speed and red light cameras in Victoria, the most densely populated state in Australia. The Czech security company Avast says the hackers didn’t use the Internet to launch the attack. The infection came through a USB drive.

That was likely the same technique the U.S. and Israel used to damage Iran’s Natanz nuclear facility with the Stuxnet virus.

Jonathan Penn, director of strategy at Avast, said in a statement Thursday:

“This attack has shown us that even if your device is not directly connected to the Internet, that doesn’t mean it is completely safe or can’t be infected with ransomware like WannaCry. The traffic cameras were connected to a vulnerable USB drive, which at one point got infected with malware.

“This incident isn’t the first of its kind. Stuxnet did its job on the Iranian nuclear facilities through none other than a USB in 2012.

“These attacks shine a light on not only the dangers of USB drives, but the diverse ways behind the spreading of malware and viruses like WannaCry or Stuxnet and the need for robust protections.”





Police Who Pre-Emptively Kill Suspected Terrorists Will Be Protected

-pic concealed

13th June 2017

The NSW government is set to introduce new laws by the end of this month which give police immunity for pre-emptively shooting a person they suspect of terrorism, even if that person does not pose an imminent threat to others.

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian announced that she will support all 45 of the recommendations from the coronial inquest report into the Lindt Café siege, and will prioritise those which give police more powers and protect them from civil and criminal prosecution.

New South Wales Police Commissioner Mick Fuller acknowledged that police already have the power to “shoot-to-kill” people they suspect of terrorism in situations analogous to the recent London attacks – where they pose an imminent threat to public safety.

However, he feels that situations like the Lindt Cafe siege are a grey area, as it was unclear whether Man Haron Monis was going to act upon his threats.

As it turned out, Monis was later categorised as a “deranged gunman” suffering from “mental health problems” who was not affiliated with any particular group, whether terrorist or otherwise.

Under the proposed legislation, police would be authorised to “shoot-to-kill” suspected participants once the commissioner declared an event to be a “terrorist incident”, regardless of whether those suspected of involvement pose an imminent threat to others.


Critics point out that the proposed legislation confers virtually unfettered power on the police commissioner to determine whether an event constitutes a “terrorist incident”, and therefore when his colleagues will be protected from prosecution for wounding or killing people.

They are concerned he will declare such events “all too readily” in the interests of protecting police, thereby increasing the likelihood of police unnecessarily shooting and killing people. Critics are concerned that “rogue” police officers who carelessly shoot people will be protected, even if it turns out that their targets were completely innocent of any crime, and/or the shooting was not justified.

There are also fears that the legislation will cause the escalation of situations which could be kept under control and ultimately defused, again potentially leading to the loss of innocent lives.

There are additional concerns about the commissioner’s ability to identify whether a situation constitutes a “terrorist event”, with critics arguing that current laws which require an imminent risk to persons or the public representing a more appropriate mechanism for determining whether a particular individual should be shot or killed.

Shoot first and ask question later

New South Wales police are already being trained in specialised tactics based on a ‘confront and neutralise’ policy, and have access to semi-automatic weapons to act in order to protect themselves and members of the public.

The question, then, is whether the proposed legislation – which gives the minister significant powers, allows for the “pre-emptive” killing of suspects and protects rogue and careless police officers from prosecution – is really a good idea.


Margaret Court!



I’m tired of hearing her name. A lady who’s organization distributes 23tonnes of food a year to people, finds them jobs, feeds the homeless at her church every week, funds recent immigrants study plans, establishes clinics in Africa and is run by one of most celebrated sportspeople of Australia is worthless and so is that woman!

How dare she tell the media she doesn’t support Same Sex Marriage?

I am speechless to find that a Pastor of a Christian church may hold the value that marriage is between a hetero couple. I had no idea that the stipulation was in the Bible or that Christian pastors sometimes have an opinion which differs from the overly-saturated, biased media.

Firstly; Margaret Court replies to an editorial in a paper and states that she won’t be flying with Qantas, an airline who has backed the push to legalise same sex marriage in Australia.

I mean, it’s pretty weird that a person may take a personal stand and say they don’t want to use a public service which is choosing to be political in way they don’t agree with…Right?

Who does that? It’s almost like she has a free choice or free will and can choose to put her money (or not put her money) where she likes.

Then when there is a backlash on social media (thousands of comments calling for the tennis stadium, Margaret Court Arena to be renamed, death threats, name-calling) and people like amazing Waleed from The Project start being rude to her too and she still had the audacity to speak on panels and a radio station to elaborate on her opinion.


–poll on

I heard she said that transgender children are the work of the devil!

I was outraged when I heard that. Absolutely outraged…and I don’t know how really since I always tell people I don’t believe there is a devil so logically it doesn’t make sense. But the point is that I was angry and my emotions were stirred up!

I wasn’t able to understand that she meant when you ask a kid who is 4years old if they are a boy or girl you may be confusing that child. I didn’t know that in the Bible lies, confusion and anxiety are from Satan. She should know better! The majority of people who agree with me, don’t bother using the time to learn anything like that, come on! We don’t operate on context or anything that is longer than a 10 second sound bite. We no longer have the attention for anything significant! Why didn’t she assume we would understand?

I believe that my child will tell me if he is a girl inside if I ask him…and I ignore when he says he wants to be superman or a dinosaur or Thomas the Tank Engine because it’s only when he says he is a GIRL that I know he is serious.

Did you also hear Margaret Court is racist?

A more recently famous tennis player said she heard a quote where Margaret Court said something like “The situation was dealt with,” talking about Apatheid in South Africa. It doesn’t matter to me that the quote was by someone who didn’t cite the source or how she came up with it. It also doesn’t matter that Margaret Court has said she has no idea where that quote apparently came from but I read that it was from 1970 too so that means if it’s true then she has been racist for a long time, people can’t change even after becoming a Christian or even when almost forty years have passed. The fact is she is racist, I just know it. Cos anyone who doesn’t believe in same sex marriage is a bigot and they are most likely racist.

I have never been to her church in Perth or watched it live online…but despite all the pics on the internet and other evidence, I think there are only white people that go there and she only likes white people.

It took a one-liner from another tennis player I don’t really know, for me to make a thorough conclusion.

So booo to Margaret Court! I only like people who agree with my point of view…The one I formed by being bombarded with Liberal brainwashing and the mainstream media. Those things keep me focused on BS rather than take notice of authorities quashing my liberty in other areas. Maybe one day I will care about those things as much but that day is not today, not while my emotions are hurt!

I only believe in free speech if I agree with what the person is saying and don’t you EVER try and belittle my son’s right to anal sex with another man and then marry him.


Peter Dutton declares ‘game is up’ for ‘fake refugees’ living in Australia

21st May 2017

Immigration Minister Peter Dutton has given 7,500 asylum seekers living in Australia until October to lodge an application for protection, or face deportation, declaring the “game is up” for “fake refugees”.

Mr Dutton said the asylum seekers had all arrived by boat under the previous Labor government, most without identity documents, and had so far either failed or refused to present their case for asylum with the Immigration Department.

“If people think they can rip the Australian taxpayer off, if people think that they can con the Australian taxpayer, then I’m sorry, the game’s up,” he said.

“They need to provide the information, they need to answer the questions and then they can be determined to be a refugee or not.”

The asylum seekers have now been given until October 1 to lodge an application for processing or they will be cut off from Government payments, subject to removal from Australia, and banned from re-entering the country.

According to Mr Dutton, the group is costing taxpayers about $250 million each year in income support alone and the deadline would ensure the Government is “not providing financial support to people who have no right to be in Australia”.

South Australian Senator Nick Xenophon said the new policy would have public support, and appeal to the Coalition’s support base, but urged the Government to take a “calm, methodical and fair” approach.

“I only hope that the Government puts as much effort into dealing with job seekers as it does with asylum seekers,” Senator Xenophon said on Insiders.

But refugee advocates have slammed the “arbitrary” deadline as “cruel and unfair”.

GetUp’s human rights director Shen Narayanasamy said while many of the asylum seekers had been in Australia for years, they were only given the go ahead to lodge an application for protection last November.

“Asylum claims are incredibly long, torturous documents,” she said.

“And what Peter Dutton has failed to tell you is that he has denied them interpreters and access to legal assistance.”

Of the 50,000 asylum seekers who arrived by boat between 2008 and 2013, 43,000 have now been processed — which means they have either been granted a visa or had their claims rejected — or are currently having their claims assessed.

However, there are 7,500 asylum seekers “outside the process” and that is the group now subject to the October 1 deadline.

Asylum seeker statistics

  • 50,000 Illegal Maritime Arrivals arrived in Australia between 2008 and 2013
  • Labor processed 20,000 of these people
  • It stopped processing IMAs in August 2012 leaving 30,500 people yet to be processed — this is known as the Legacy Caseload
  • 23,000 of the Legacy Caseload have applied for Temporary Protection Visas or Save Haven Visas
  • Of those 6,500 have been granted a TPV or SHEV
  • 3,000 have already been found not to be refugees and must leave Australia
  • 13,000 are having their claims assessed
  • Around 7,500 remain outside the process and have not presented their case for protection

Source: Federal Government




Doctors warn parents about anti-vaccination documentary

16th May 2017

Doctors have taken the rare step of warning parents about an anti-vaccination film that will be screened for the first time in Perth on Friday.

The anti-vaccination documentary argues there’s a link between vaccinating children and autism.

Vaxxed is an American documentary about children who allegedly became disabled almost overnight after receiving an injection.

“He was walking and running. After the vaccine he was no longer able do that,” one woman in the documentary claimed.

The film will be shown in Perth on Friday.

Dr Andrew Miller from the WA Australian Medical Association told 7News, “This film is lies and playing on people’s emotions.”

The documentary claims there’s a link between Autism and vaccinating children. And it is directed by a former doctor, Andrew Wakefield.

“(This is) an advertisement that’s been made by a discredited ex-doctor,” Dr Andrew Miller claims.

Wembley mother Judy says the information in Vaxxed is the truth – and she’s written a thesis on it, published by the University of Woolongong.

She says her 18-year-old is also unvaccinated and healthy.

Researcher Judy Wilyman told 7News, “It’s not just my opinion, it’s having studied this topic at university and in the medical journals there are over a 100 independent studies in the peer-reviewed journals linking vaccines as a cause of autism.”

The location of the screening has so far been kept a secret. Source: 7News.

The documentary has been advertised over social media and will be screened at 7.30 on Friday night – but where has so far been kept a secret.

Viewers will be texted the address thirty minutes before show time.

Mrs Wilyman says that’s because the group who has organised the screening is worried they will be targeted for their views.






Aust govt mulls aircraft laptop ban

16th May 2017

Australia is considering banning laptops in the cabins of inbound commercial passenger flights, amid global concerns about a new terrorist threat.

The UK and US have already banned the carrying of large electronic devices in cabins on flights arriving from certain Middle East and African countries.

“We are looking at it very closely,” Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said in Adelaide on Tuesday.

“We are taking into account all of the information and advice we’re receiving internationally and we’re working very closely with our partners.”

Transport Minister Darren Chester said Australia had a comprehensive and strong security system in place, with the safety of the travelling public a priority.

“The government continuously monitors shifts in the threat environment domestically and overseas to ensure we have the best security arrangements in place to meet the challenges we face,” he told AAP.

US agencies preparing plans to expand the ban to other countries with conflict zones, according to Reuters.

This follows fresh intelligence militant groups like Islamic State could be gearing up for a terrorist attack involving bombs in laptops.




Whooping cough rates have leapt on the NSW north coast, where anti-vax sentiment is high

8th May 2017

THIRTY-SEVEN new cases of whooping cough were reported last week in the idyllic northern NSW nerve centre of militant anti-vaxxers and jab-suspicious hippies.

In April there were 83 cases in children and a total of 152 so far this year in the Northern NSW Health District, sparking calls from health authorities for parents to immunise their children against the potentially deadly disease.

But the area has dangerously low rates of vaccination in children, lowering the vital “herd immunity” — large numbers of vaccinated people — to guard against a significant whooping cough outbreak.

The rate of whooping cough in the northern district is nine times that of the neighbouring Mid-North Coast Health District which has only registered 17 cases this year.

A Sunday Telegraph analysis of the Local Health Districts reveals Northern NSW also had a much higher incidence of whooping cough than any other area in the state in 2016 as well.

A total of 10,832 NSW children contracted whooping cough statewide in 2016, according to NSW Health Data.

Children living in the north coast region, which has the lowest vaccination rate in the country, suffered four times more whooping cough than comparable areas in 2016.

Herd immunity is the linchpin of the national immunisation program.

Immunisation rates of 95 per cent offer herd immunity to minimise vaccine preventable diseases such as whooping cough spreading, however if rates fall below 90 per cent disease is more prevalent.

The Northern NSW Health district registered 518 cases of whooping cough in children last year, almost four times the rate of the Mid North Coast Health District which registered only 158 cases.

The two health districts have similar population numbers, but the Mid North Coast has a higher vaccination rate and therefore better herd immunity.

The Central Coast Local Health District, which boasts some of the highest immunisation rates in NSW only registered 372 cases despite a greater population than Northern NSW.

The Byron shire is the third most visited place in Australia behind Sydney and Melbourne.

Only 50 per cent of five-year-olds are fully vaccinated in Mullumbimby and 60 per cent in nearby Byron Bay.

Australian Medical Association president Dr Michael Gonnon said whooping cough rates in Northern NSW were probably much higher than recorded figures because many in the community eschew the GP in favour of alternative practitioners.

“A lot would not get diagnosed. People should hold their breath when driving through northern NSW but it’s a bit hard to hold your breath for 100 kilometres,” Dr Gannon said.

The director of the North Coast Public Health Unit told the Sunday Telegraph that ‘’the community is at a much greater risk of outbreaks that can run out of control”.

“Communities with low vaccination levels will have more disease,” he said.

Two babies died in the region during the 2009-12 outbreak of whooping cough.

At one month old, both Dana McCaffery and Kailis Smith were too young to be vaccinated and succumbed to the horror disease in 2009 and 2011 respectively.

Toni McCaffery has campaigned for a targeted campaign to address immunisation rates in the region since death of her daughter Dana.

“The perfect storm when Dana died is brewing again. It’s crucial pregnant women in the area get that booster shot to protect their newborns,” Mrs McCaffery said.

“When Dana died, whooping cough was four times the rate as well.

“We need to explain to parents why they should vaccinate their child and educate them about the diseases that they are preventing.

“In many cases, there is no cure and all that modern medicine can do is support a child through it,” Mrs McCaffery said.



Unvaccinated travellers bring deadly diseases back to Australia

3rd May 2017

Australian tourists returning home from Bali make up almost half of all cases of dengue fever and rabies in New South Wales, new data has shown.

Up to 400 NSW patients catch dengue fever – a potentially deadly disease spread by mosquitos – each year, with about half picking up the disease in Bali.

Close to 303 NSW patients were affected by rabies in 2015, and close to half of those cases originated in Indonesia, mainly from Bali.

The health department told News Corp travellers were ignoring rabies warnings overseas.

“Figures for 2016 have not yet been finalised but the trend appears to be continuing despite warning to travellers to avoid dogs and monkeys while overseas,” a spokesperson said.

It comes months after a measles outbreak affected more than 20 people in Western Sydney, which was believed to have also come from Bali.

The figures come as Health Minister Brad Hazzard slammed parents who refuse to vaccinate their children, warning their decision was risking similar outbreaks.

“We need to recognise we’re a very lucky continent – we’re on an island,” he said.

“We have greater capacity than almost anybody to be able to draw the vaccination curtains around us and keep us safe. But some people, who are either not vaccinated or not vaccinated adequately, travel overseas and bring back a disease the rest of us shouldn’t be exposed to.”

“People need to understand that by failing to vaccinate their children they are exposing them to the very real risks of death or disability,” he said




A 42 per cent increase in autism diagnoses is no cause for alarm

30th April 2017

The number of Australians diagnosed with autism increased by 42 per cent between 2012 and 2015, but research and advocacy groups are adamant it’s not a cause for alarm.

In 2015, 164,000 Australians had autism diagnoses, according to results of an ABS survey released on Wednesday. That’s an increase of around 50,000 people since 2012.

This figure reflects the number of diagnoses – not the number of people with conditions that might be classified as autism if they sought a diagnosis.

Professor Andrew Whitehouse, Senior Principal Research Fellow at the University of Western Australia’s Telethon Kids Institute, said that Australia’s autism diagnosis rate was now in line with other countries at around 1.1 per cent.

“What this figure represents is a rise in the numbers of children and adults diagnosed with autism,” he said.

“All the evidence that we have to date is showing that the rise in the number of kids and adults being diagnosed with autism is due to increased awareness, not just at the health professional side, but also at the family side.”

He added that the roll-out of the NDIS has led to more Australians seeking formal diagnosis in order to access services.

A new Muppet called Julia, has autism, is about to be introduced to Sesame Street’s TV family.

Autism Awareness Australia CEO, Nicole Rogerson, said we are only now understanding the true prevalence of autism in the community.

“I would hate to think that this statistic freaked out new parents of little babies and toddlers right now that think we are in the grip of some frightening epidemic,” she said.

“That’s where silly conspiracy theories and vaccination theories [about a link with autism] come from, and that’s all really unhelpful.”

Autism is a condition that affects the brain’s growth and development, and can be characterised by difficulty in social communication and interaction.

Professor Cheryl Dissanayake, from the Olga Tennison Autism Research Centre at La Trobe University, said the rise was also caused by a broadening of the criteria of autism and improvement in identifying autism earlier in children.

She said the increase may also be linked to biological factors and that children of older fathers and premature babies have a higher chance of receiving autism diagnoses.

“Premature babies live now, in the past they used to die. Prematurity is a risk factor for autism,” she said.

“There are biological factors that work to increase the risk, they haven’t all been identified.”

IT companies are reaching out to support the development of programming skills for people with autism.

She said one paper she contributed to found that the mean age of diagnosis for people under seven was around four years of age whereas in the 1980s children were rarely diagnosed before five or six, “so we are getting better.”

Ms Rogerson said diagnosing a child and providing dedicated assistance from age two or three will help them achieve “their best outcome”.

“Children with autism can make marked improvements and make autism a lot less disabling in their life if they have got access to good quality early intervention,” she said.

“But it’s the ‘early’ in early intervention that’s important.”

According to the ABS survey of 63,500 people in 2015, of those with autism, almost two-in-three were classed as having “profound or severe disability” and almost three-in-four needed help with cognitive and emotional tasks. About half needed help with communication.

The ABS classifies autism as including Asperger’s Syndrome, pervasive developmental disorder, Rett Syndrome and childhood disintegrative disorder.




Police illegally obtained journalist’s phone records under new metadata retention regime

28th April 2017

Police illegally obtained journalist’s phone records under

The Australian Federal Police illegally obtained a journalist’s phone records under the Turnbull government’s new metadata retention regime, the agency announced on Friday.

The breach took place as part of an investigation into a leak of confidential police material – and the incident will now be investigated by the Commonwealth Ombudsman.

AFP commissioner Andrew Colvin said the police officers investigating the leak did not realise they were required to obtain a warrant to access the journalist’s metadata.

“This was human error. It should not have occurred. The AFP takes it very seriously and we take full responsibility for breaching the Act,” Mr Colvin said



“There was no ill will or malice or bad intent by the officers involved who breached the Act. But simply it was a mistake.”

The journalist in question had not been informed their data had been accessed, Mr Colvin said, due to sensitivities around the ongoing investigation into the leak.

The breach occurred “earlier this year” and was reported to the Ombudsman on Wednesday.

Under the revised data retention regime, police are required to obtain a warrant from a judge to seek metadata from a journalist.

“The vulnerability is the investigator needs to understand that that’s their requirement,” Mr Colvin said on Friday. “On this occasion, the investigator didn’t.”

The phone records in question were relevant to the investigation, Mr Colvin said, but “what was improper was that the right steps weren’t taken to gain access to it”.

The breach is the first such incident that has come to light under the government’s new metadata retention regime, which requires service providers to store their customers’ data for two years.

Acknowledging the policy was “controversial”, Mr Colvin said Australians should nonetheless have “full confidence” in both the police and the policy.

He conceded the AFP’s internal procedures had not anticipated and prevented the error and therefore those practices would be subject to “significant changes”.

Access to metadata would now be restricted to more senior officers, he said, and the number of officers who can approve access to metadata will be reduced. Training will also be bolstered.

Asked if the unlawfully-obtained phone records would still be relied on to inform the actions of investigators, he acknowledged that once seen it could not be unseen.

“Clearly they can’t unsee it. They’ll need to consider … what weight they put on what they saw,” Mr Colvin said. “But that material was accessed illegally, so it can have no bearing on the conduct of the investigation.”

He stressed the content of the journalist’s phone calls were not accessed, just the call records. But Paul Murphy, chief executive of the Media, Entertainment and Arts Alliance, said that was not a mitigating factor.

“It’s another demonstration that the AFP do not understand the sensitivities here, the vital importance of protecting journalists’ confidential sources,” he said. “It’s an absolute disgrace.”

South Australian senator Nick Xenophon, who lobbied for extra safeguards for journalists when the laws were formulated, said he was “furious” about the revelation and would seek further amendments to the law.

“This is outrageous. There’s been a flagrant breach of the law here,” he said. “The safeguards have been completely trashed. This should chill the spine of every journalist in this country.”