WA Auditor General recommends inter-agency cooperation to counter malware


Western Australia's Office of the Auditor General (OAG) has made six recommendations to state government agencies after it was found six agencies had previously been the target of malware campaigns. According to the OAG, the six agencies probed -- which included the Department of the Attorney General, Department of Mines and Petroleum, Department of Transport, Main Roads Western Australia, and the Office of the Government Chief Information Officer (OGCIO) -- were under constant threat, which it said highlighted the need for improved central governance arrangements to identify, warn of, and prevent attacks. In its report [PDF], Malware in the WA State Government, the OAG said as a result of the audit, it made "detailed recommendations" to each agency that came under the microscope. The explicit details were not published, but instead, the OAG offered up the broader six recommendations it made, which included an in-depth assessment of the risk to the agency malware poses, improving any controls the OAG identified as ineffective, and that each agency consider additional controls to better secure its networks, systems, and data against malware. TPG to focus on FttB, mobile, corporate business to manage NBN margin squeeze Productivity Commission draft report calls time on USO as NBN looms Risk vs. Opportunity: Data use and availability in Australia NSW government seeks partner to trial Uber-like public transport Optus inks AU$40m contract extension with security firm Suretek Under the careful watch of the OGCIO, the Auditor General said it wants to see the WA public sector consider methods to foster "collaboration, information, and resource sharing" between agencies.

Newcrest blazing a trail with big data


Addressing the South Australian government's recent Copper to the World conference in Adelaide, Newcrest's chief information and digital officer, Gavin Wood, gave a rundown on what had already been achieved at Newcrest with data science, virtual and augmented reality and artificial intelligence. He also talked about the benefits delivered by crowd sourcing, although this can also create some unique challenges of its own. "If you can imagine, an experienced operator at a site being told by a university student in Argentina the answer for optimising their part of the plant is quite different to something they believe from their experience of 20 or so years. Those are real challenges for our business," Wood said. He said data science coupled with machine learning had alr...

Crowdfunding campaign leads to major discovery of healthy Tasmanian devils


Tasmanian devils are on the brink of extinction, but there's a glimmer of hope. Scientists exploring Tasmania's southwest wilderness discovered a group of the animals that so far appears to be completely free of the contagious cancer that is ravaging the rest of the population. According to the Tasmanian government, a team led by Dr. Sam Fox trapped 14 healthy devils free of Devil Facial Tumour Disease -- a cancer that spreads from devil to devil and results in the marsupials' death. The Independent reports that, since the discovery of the disease, the population of wild devils has declined by 80 percent. So yeah, this is a big deal.

Credit card and smartphone payments set for Australian metro transport


Commuters in certain parts of Australia could soon be "tapping on and off" public transport services with their smartphones, watches, or credit cards.

NSW government to trial contactless card payments for transport system


The New South Wales government will begin trials next year to allow commuters to pay for public transport by tapping on and off with their credit and debit cards, as an alternative to using their Opal card. A Transport of NSW spokesperson told ZDNet that giving commuters the choice to pay using their Opal card, or a credit or debit card when travelling would offer them another easy-to-use and convenient option for travelling. "Contactless payments are a major advance in ticketing technology. Customers get another option for paying fares whether they are regular commuters or visitors to Sydney," the spokesperson said. With further details about the project to be announced as plans progress, the spokesperson said during the first stage of the project that the government will be working on finalising partnerships, including working with the finance and contactless payments sector, and developing software in time for the customer trial in 2017.