Massive Telecom NZ email hack; Adobe CEO dodges pricing debate; NBN Co passes the buck


By Andrew Collins
Monday, 18 February, 2013



Massive Telecom NZ email hack; Adobe CEO dodges pricing debate; NBN Co passes the buck

Telecom NZ last week admitted that its Yahoo! Xtra email service had been hacked, with attackers obtaining the email addresses of many of its users.

Spam emails were sent to many Yahoo! Xtra users, asking for personal details including credit card numbers.

A link in the email takes users to a site that exploits a Yahoo! vulnerability to gain access to their Yahoo! mailbox. It seems to have then sent itself to every person on in the victim’s address book, propagating the attack, one expert said.

It’s possible the attackers also downloaded the contact lists of the victims.

Yahoo! was reportedly informed of a vulnerability in January that could allow such an attack, which it claimed to have fixed.

“Here we are halfway through February and it’s happening again. They’re running the service. There’s no one to point the finger at but them,” Paul Brislen of the Telecommunications Users Association is quoted as saying.

Telecom NZ said that 80,000 of its 450,000 Xtra customers have had their accounts compromised.

The telco has started cancelling the passwords of about 60,000 customers, whose accounts the telco believes have been compromised. This means the users will be required to enter new password information the next time they attempt to log in to their account.This is on top of the 15,000 customers Telecom NZ had already been contacting regarding the attack.

The 60,000 password resets placed Telecom NZ’s customer support lines under significant stress.

Reports have indicated that Telecom NZ may dump the Yahoo! Xtra email service following the attack.

Adobe CEO dodges price gouging questions

Adobe global CEO Shantanu Narayen last week copped a good deal of flak from the Australian media for his evasion of questions regarding the seemingly exorbitant Australian prices of its software.

While Narayen was in Australia for the opening of a new Adobe office, journos were more interested in grilling the CEO on why Adobe software cost so much more in Australia than in the US.

As a point of reference, Adobe’s Creative Suite Master 6 Collection costs AU$2509 (US$2599) on US shelves, but AU$4334 on Australian shelves - Australians are paying AU$1825 more for the same product.

As one Gizmodo writer pointed out, it’s cheaper for an Australian to fly to the states, buy a copy there and fly back than simply buy it off the shelves in Australia.

The day prior, Adobe announced it would lower the price of its cloud products in Australia.

But at the event, Narayen refused to explain why its Creative Suite products would not also get a reduction.

Narayen responded to further questions on the pricing disparity by diverting the conversation back to the “great value” that the company’s cloud-based products supposedly provide.

Adobe, Apple and Microsoft were last week summonsed to appear before an inquiry into the prices Australians pay for technology compared to citizens in other countries.

NBN Co passes the buck on install delays

NBN Co last week blamed Syntheo, one of its construction partners, for a drop in the number of premises it expects to ‘pass’ by June this year.

In the NBN Co’s terms, a pass indicates when a cable has been laid in the street, but the house has not been connected.

In October last year, NBN Co said it would pass 300,000 customers by June 2013. Last week, the organisation reduced this number to 286,000, saying Syntheo had run into a “range of issues” that led to the delays.

Syntheo is responsible for rolling out the NBN’s fibre-optic cable in WA, NT and SA.

According to NBN Co CEO Mike Quigley, “We are working closely with Syntheo to try to recover the original forecast.

NBN Co was also in the news last week for an exchange involving Quigley, Labor senators Doug Cameron and Stephen Conroy (also Communications Minister), and Liberal senators Simon Birmingham and Bill Heffernan.

Heffernan is quoted as telling Conroy: “You’re full of sh*t.”

To which Conroy reportedly replied: “You’ve obviously been drinking.”

Heffernan is also quoted as saying that Quigley was “brain dead”.

Australian politics at its finest.

Image courtesy of Yahoo! New Zealand

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