NAB adds Google to mix as it continues its multi-cloud push


National Australia Bank’s multi-cloud strategy has expanded to encompass Google, NAB announced today.

The bank said that Google Cloud would join Microsoft Azure and Amazon Web Services (AWS) in its portfolio of public cloud providers as it looks to migrate some 35 per cent of its applications to the cloud by the end of next year.

NAB’s chief technology and operations officer, Patrick Wright, cited Google’s strengths in data analytics, machine learning and container management as particular drawcards.

“Our customers are asking us to better understand their needs and to meet those expectations far more efficiently than we’ve been able to previously,” Wright said in a statement.

“Investment in data is a critical element of our digital transformation – to be able to use data to develop products and services to improve customer experiences and be able to anticipate their needs.”

In April 2018 the bank announced the launch of NAB Cloud Guild as it sought to build up its in-house cloud expertise. The program initially had a focus on AWS, with the bank using Amazon’s services for its initial foray into using public cloud to store and process its data.

In October 2018, NAB revealed details of its collaboration with Microsoft, including shifting key platforms such as SAP to Azure.

Later in 2018, the bank announced that although it was firmly in the multi-cloud camp, AWS had been selected as its “long term strategic cloud provider”. NAB said in November it believed some its core banking systems would be shifted to AWS by the end of 2019.

The bank revealed earlier this year that in the six months ended 31 March it moved 128 applications on to cloud services, with 198 of its applications now running on cloud infrastructure. NAB has also moved to aggressively shut down legacy applications.

The bank said today that it now had 400 applications in the cloud, with its overall number of applications reduced by 8 per cent.

Wright said today in an interview released by NAB that competitive tension was one of the appealing aspects of the multi-cloud approach. The NAB CTOO said that multi-cloud enabled the bank to shift workloads across platforms and integrate a range of tools and capabilities.

“We’re designing our most critical applications to be portable between cloud partners to avoid concentration risk which is an important regulatory and risk consideration,” Wright said in a statement.

“We also want to tap into the advanced capabilities of the world’s best cloud providers to improve customer experience,” the NAB tech executive said.

“Google’s history of embracing open source technology enhances our ability to orchestrate infrastructure effectively across multi-cloud environments, and their software-based platform, Anthos, is a unique solution that we’ll explore further over time.”

NAB has added GCP training modules to its NAB Cloud and Analytics Guild education program. It said it will also move to integrate GCP capabilities into the NAB Discovery Cloud and Data Hub.

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Tags Cloudcloud computingGooglemicrosoft azureNABAmazon Web Services (AWS)Google Cloud Platform




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NAB and La Trobe Uni infosec alliance covers R&D, workforce development


NAB and La Trobe University will collaborate on cyber security research and training as part of a new ‘strategic alliance’ detailed by the organisations today.

NAB’s chief information security officer, Nicholas McKenzie, will join La Trobe’s Cybersecurity Executive Advisory Board as part of the pact, which covers R&D, graduate recruitment, and NAB workforce development.

The two organisations said the alliance could potentially lead to co-investment in a security operations centre or a ‘cyber laboratory’.

“We are delighted to join forces with NAB as one of Australia’s leading banks to create new knowledge, find solutions for industry problems, and train the cyber workforce of the future,” La Trobe Vice-Chancellor Professor John Dewar said in a statement.

“Partnering with NAB will provide us with an added level of invaluable expertise. We are already researching the latest malware detection and sensing techniques, and the opportunity to expand this research to areas such as data detection and forensics analysis will benefit all Australians.”




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NAB Android app update overloads CPUs, drains batteries – Finance – Software


NAB has acknowledged issues with an update to its banking app for Android that chokes the user’s device CPU and drains its battery.

The bank’s presence on Google’s Play Store has been swamped with one-star reviews since the last app update on August 5, and with no end date in sight, the bank has been directing users to stop using the app altogether until a fix is found.

It is understood that the issue affects mostly Samsung devices running Android version 9.

“Our tech team are currently investigating the issue,” NAB responded to several reviews.

“Have you considered uninstalling the app for now and using the web browser on your phone in the interim?”

Many users found the app chewing through large amounts of device battery, even when it is not in active use.

“This app is hammering my battery after the last update,” user Richard Castel wrote.

“It shows the app as having been used for 15 minutes actively today, but running in the background for 7.5 hours, using 40 percent of my battery. I get six hours out of a full charge instead of 25 hours now… not good.”

“What the hell is it doing in the background??? 32.8 percent of my battery usage is this app,” another user wrote.

“48 percent drain on battery and CPU overload on a Samsung S8+, you’ve got to be kidding me,” said another.

“Massive drain on battery!!! Over 54 percent battery usage in a 6hr time period,” another said.

Users said they had followed earlier NAB advice and cleared the app cache, then uninstalled and reinstalled the app, without it fixing the issue.

Others said they had “forced the app to go to sleep in Android settings but it doesn’t help. My battery is dead by lunch time because of this app.”

A NAB spokesperson has been contacted for comment on when the bank expects to fix the issue and on whether the bank might allow rollback to a previous version of the app.

Update, 5.34pm:

A NAB spokesperson said the bank “is aware of a problem with the latest release of the NAB Mobile Banking App for select Android devices, resulting in battery drainage.

“We’re sorry for the inconvenience to our customers. We’re looking to release a fix to this issue within the next few days,” the spokesperson said.


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How an AI in China helped nab a suspected murderer



We’ve read plenty of stories of how AI can be horrible, but it can also be surprisingly useful. According to a report by the South China Morning Post, a person accused of murder was caught by an AI after he tried to scan his dead girlfriend’s face to get a loan sanctioned.

The report notes that a 29-year-old man in Fujian province was suspected of killing his girlfriend after an argument over finances. He tried to scan her face in a lending app called Money Station. The app uses AI to verify applications, and it asks them to wink during the approval process.

However, in this case, the app’s AI detected no eye movement. Plus, the company’s voice recognition software also found that a man is trying to apply for a loan rather than a woman.

The staff manually checked the footage and found bruises on the woman’s face and red marks around the neck; it informed the authorities immediately. When the police tracked the accused down, he was trying to burn the body on a remote farm.

Before the accused killed the woman, he took her phone to withdraw 30,000 yuan ($4,200) from her bank account, and told her parents she was “going away for a few days to relax”.

As facial and voice recognition technologies become commonplace for verification in apps, it’ll also make it hard for offenders to commit old-school crimes.


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