Monthly Main Meeting Highlights
At - Sydney Mechanics' School of Arts, 280 Pitt Street
Welcome to the January 2017 Main Meeting
Our First for 2017
Tonight we had two guests
Trend Micro and Boost Mobile
First up our friend Shaniel Datt, Trend Micro’s Product and Training Manager
returned to show us Trend Micro’s innovative router protection called Home Network Security.
Trend Micro have gone way beyond virus protection with this idea. We now have the internet of things, these “things” being smart TVs Smart fridges, home security and even smart light globes.
All of these “things” are connected to the internet and generally controlled through a home router. Shaniel spoke of a friend whose father was hacked while conducting his banking, not on his virus protected computer but his Smart TV. In the majority of cased none of these “things” have any protection. While you may find it difficult to see why a smart light globe would need virus protection the real problem is the system’s vulnerable to being hacked. One report from a home in Texas showed just how susceptible a home security system can be.
Hearing noise in the baby room the parents came upstairs to find a stranger speaking to the child through the baby monitor. Another example he gave was a smart frig in a department store. These smart frig’s have a screen, so you can order food as you run down. Some clown walking passed hacked the frig and connected the screen to a porn site.
The problem for the internet of things is the router. Shaniel discussed just how vulnerable a router was.
Fifty per cent of people have never updated the firmware on the router. Less than fifty per have never changed the default password on their router. As Shaniel said anyone cruising through a suburb could easily hacked most private Wi Fi networks. Seven percent of users didn’t close firewall ports. The real problem is not just that these things are not done but most people lack the knowledge of how to undertake those sorts of security measures or even know that they are needed.
Trend Micro have introduced Home Network Security.
It’s a neat little box that attaches to your router. See the Youtube video.
To use it, you connect the hub to the main router connected to the internet service, either your ADSL or NBN connection using an Ethernet cable. Once connected it then protects all the other devices connected to the network against cyber-attack. That includes all the smart devices that don’t normally have their own protection such as smart TVs lighting systems and home security networks.
To start the demonstration, Shaniel invited everyone to join the HNS WI-FI network he had set up.
The whole system is controlled using a mobile app on either an Apple or Android devices or phones and here we see some of the audience joining the network.
To start we saw an example of an attack on the home network.
and Shaniel pointed out that in the case of any hacker cruising the neighbourhood, the Hub would identify the intrusion into the network and deny access.
The app gives you a time line, showing the devices protected and recent activity.
You can then set up a network protection plan.
Shaniel spoke about the family security describing how he can limit the access any device on the network has to internet. This means that his children’s devices have no access after 10 PM.
Also, you can filter what type of sites can be accessed using the website filter and receive notice if any attempt is made to access those sites.
That gives parents a great chance to take about the dangers the children may encounter.
Once a few people had join the network; Shaniel was able to demonstrate how it worked. He started by blocking one or two of us to show how much control you had to stop say any uninvited neighbours using your network.
JCW, who we see joined the network on the first slide was added as if they were one of Shaniel’s children. As the children’s account had no internet suddenly neither did JCW.
One neat example was how the network can be protected from malicious sites. Shaniel showed us the usual “Please check your details:” scam. Using the HNS it immediately identified the web page in the link as a scam and blocked it.
What is unique here is that it was not dependent on any antivirus software, it looked at the actual site address. A notice about the block also appears on the app.
Another feature is the problem with short URLs or links. These are mostly used on Twitter with its 140-character restriction. HNS will also block any malicious tiny URLs.
To demonstrate how much control the HNS had Shaniel looked at all the Apple devices attached to the network.
As a suggested scenario, if you found bills-phone on a conference network and it was not authorised you can block the device.
One last item was game consoles
with site barring and time limits reported back to the app.
If it has any problem, it’s the fact that you can only control the hub via an Apple or Android app. There is no Windows app or program available. That said, the idea of having a device connected to the router that protects ALL the devices on your networked including the TV, Security system and smart lights with full parental controls and complete management has a lot going for it. The system retails at Harvey Norman for $399 which includes a 2-year subscription.
Shaniel ended with a summary of HNS
And he also asked if anyone would like to be a power tester. He left a list for those interested in testing the device.
After the break, Ian Blackhall, Head of Marketing at Boost Mobile took the stage. Ian spoke about the business of Boost, how it started and why. Boost was formed in Australia sixteen years ago.
At that time, there was not much connection with the younger market. Boost’s founder was quick to see this gap and in 2000 approached Optus with the idea that Boost could capture that market for Optus. That freed Optus to concentrate on its core business, of building its mobile network while Boost brought in the younger generation.
In 2001 Boost established in the US and New Zealand. So successful was the Boost approach that both the NZ and the US businesses were brought out by the corresponding telcos. In the US, its owned by Sprint Nextel and turns over a billion dollars. In May 2013 with Optus considering its own market strategy and Boost looking for a better network, Boost made the move to Telstra.
Boost relationship with Telstra is not that of third party company or NBNO that just rents space on the network. Boost markets a unique product while Telstra owns the customer information, the data and the backend care and service. From zero customers in 2013 Boost now has in excess of 300,000 customers.
The managerment of Boost has a wealth of experience. The CEO, Paul O'Neile has had years with Optus and IBM, while Warren Hardy, Business Development has experience in both Optus and Lebra along with Singapore’s Telco.
Boost has full access to the Telstra network. One thing Ian noted out was that while most networks speak in terms of coverage as a percentage of the population, what really counts is the acutual area covered. Ian pointed out just how counting coverage in terms of population can be deceptive when we are on holidays and your favourite caravan park has no reception.
Although the other two networks appear large, Telstra covers 2.4 million kilometers, about 1.2 millon more than Optus or Vodafone. Ian did mention that the figures in his side where a little dated, he thinks Telstra now has around 2.5 Million KM.
We then went on the Boost business model. It has a very narrow focus, with a unique space targeting the youth market
Released from the need to market a product to all comers Boost can concentrate on running programme’s that attract young people rather than mass adverting.
The Boost approach hones into that market with specific programmes. One example was the Ultimate Intern competition.
Run across various Uni campuses Boost recruited seven people as potential interns. They then spent the year going to festivals, concerts and events developing marketing, social media content and adverting for the Boost brand.
The model is called User Generated Content and means that Boost can use a small budget to recruit young people. They in turn, by developing a social media following amongst their peer groups generate all the advertising content themselves. The content from the Intern programme generated around two million views.
Here’s an example; Ultimate Intern Nick Kavo’s Rookie Road trip.
The whole idea means significantly less advertising cost while generating very targeted advertising. That frees Telstra to spend more on the Boost product range for example longer times or more data. To show how Boost is placed in the mix, Ian spoke about the Net Promotor Scale (NPS) which rates the positives and the negatives to create an overall scale of where a company is sitting in relation to the competition. The scale runs from positive to negative numbers, and varies from week to week. Telstra could be fine one week and down to negative numbers after a network outage. In that context, Boost rates around 44.
Telstra rated 8. When asked why Telstra was 8 and Boost 44 giving that they are the same network Ian spoke about the concept of the “challenger” brand and how customers “by into” the brand and are perhaps more forgiving. Also, Boost can be quicker in responding to any problem or simply acknowledging there is one. Larger telco’s have problems with a hierarchy of decision making, which leads to delays in even knowing a problem has occurred.
As for market share next to the network owners Boost comes in third after Amaysim and TPG.
These stats are from June last year.
Ian then moved on to show us the main price points for Boost
All the plans run unlimited calls and text to Australian standard national numbers. So, the real competition is in the data. 1 GB is only $10 however it only runs for 7 days. Ian said it was still a popular item with those on a tight budget. People can top up with the grocery shop and it’s a favourite plan with school students. If they run out of credit, mum can still ring them.
The other plans have up to data limits. One way Boost is different is the Weekend deal where boost adds 1 GB to each plan every weekend
while each plan has a set data for example the $30 deal has 3GB Boost adds 1GB every weekend,
So, a $30 plan with a 28-day expiry should have 4 weekends and therefore receives up to 7GB. Unfortunately, there is not roll over of data yet. The two high end plans also have unlimited international calls to selected countries, also new to Boost was Apple Music Streaming on all plans at $11.99 per month.
Boost also have great rewards like two for one deals
Boost also support FTW, a youth suicide prevention program and they are developing an app with all kinds of great content for youth and which can help them keep track of their own emotional health.
Tonight Shaniel Datt brought along three Trend Micro Maximum Security prizes with twelve months protection for up to 6 devices over IOS, Android and Windows
and Ian bought along two Boost Backpacks which include a Boost mobile Phone
Our Boost winners
Our Trend Micro winners
and our luck door prize winner