Australian Online Stockbrokers & Shareholders Targeted by Hackers

Australian Securities & Investment Commission sends out urgent warning

1 min read
Australian Online Stockbrokers & Shareholders Targeted by Hackers

Sydney Morning Herald article reports that the Australian Securities & Investment Commission (ASIC) has issued a warning to online stockbrokers and their clients that they need to "urgently review their account security."

According to the Morning Herald, ASIC's warning comes after a new round of attacks against online stockbroker firms were detected in the wake of the denial-of-service (DOS) attacks in December that E*Trade Australia and Manly-based Wealth Focus experienced. The December attacks forced E*Trade to shut down some clients' access to its website for as long as two weeks around Christmas. In Wealth Focus's case, the DOS attack was a for-profit venture. The firm received a letter demanding money to stop the attack, which was traced to Russia.

The attacks against E*Trade and Wealth Focus prompted the Australian Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT Australia) to request in early January that companies report any cyber attacks they were experiencing. The cybercrimes also sparked an Australian Federal Police (AFP) inquiry.  

However, the Morning Herald reports that "ASIC has detected about a dozen hacked share-trading accounts across several brokers" over the past few weeks. ASIC, in its news release, states that it "is also working with other authorities to identify the source of the intrusions and pursuing a line of inquiry consistent with similar incidents in overseas markets."

I haven't seen any major press reports about a recent surge in DOS attacks against online stockbrokers in other countries, which leaves me wondering whether there is a rash of attacks occurring but aren't yet being reported.


Photo: iStockphoto

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Metamaterials Could Solve One of 6G’s Big Problems

There’s plenty of bandwidth available if we use reconfigurable intelligent surfaces

12 min read
An illustration depicting cellphone users at street level in a city, with wireless signals reaching them via reflecting surfaces.

Ground level in a typical urban canyon, shielded by tall buildings, will be inaccessible to some 6G frequencies. Deft placement of reconfigurable intelligent surfaces [yellow] will enable the signals to pervade these areas.

Chris Philpot

For all the tumultuous revolution in wireless technology over the past several decades, there have been a couple of constants. One is the overcrowding of radio bands, and the other is the move to escape that congestion by exploiting higher and higher frequencies. And today, as engineers roll out 5G and plan for 6G wireless, they find themselves at a crossroads: After years of designing superefficient transmitters and receivers, and of compensating for the signal losses at the end points of a radio channel, they’re beginning to realize that they are approaching the practical limits of transmitter and receiver efficiency. From now on, to get high performance as we go to higher frequencies, we will need to engineer the wireless channel itself. But how can we possibly engineer and control a wireless environment, which is determined by a host of factors, many of them random and therefore unpredictable?

Perhaps the most promising solution, right now, is to use reconfigurable intelligent surfaces. These are planar structures typically ranging in size from about 100 square centimeters to about 5 square meters or more, depending on the frequency and other factors. These surfaces use advanced substances called metamaterials to reflect and refract electromagnetic waves. Thin two-dimensional metamaterials, known as metasurfaces, can be designed to sense the local electromagnetic environment and tune the wave’s key properties, such as its amplitude, phase, and polarization, as the wave is reflected or refracted by the surface. So as the waves fall on such a surface, it can alter the incident waves’ direction so as to strengthen the channel. In fact, these metasurfaces can be programmed to make these changes dynamically, reconfiguring the signal in real time in response to changes in the wireless channel. Think of reconfigurable intelligent surfaces as the next evolution of the repeater concept.

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