Staff at the Australian National University (ANU) have been issued a warning after many of them received a scam email that incorrectly claimed new COVID-19 cases had been recorded at the Canberra campus.
Multiple members of departments at the university reported receiving the email, which included a link the reader was advised to follow.
The email was given the subject line “New positive positive COVID-19 cases among staffs” and was sent to faculty, including physics professor Jodie Bradbury.
“Just arrived in my email (Obviously I didn’t click!)”
Professor Bradby also shared a screenshot of the email which falsely claimed that “positive positive COVID-19 cases” had been identified on Wednesday.
“These numbers are not all-inclusive,” the email said.
“For example, employees and students who are tested outside of the Australian National University process are not included.”
Other academics replied to Professor Bradby, saying they too had received the email, and had avoided following the link.
Among them was seismologist Caroline Eakin, who described the spam as “disturbing.”
In an email sent to staff, viewed by the ABC, the university urged people not to open or click on links contained in the email.
In 2018, the university revealed its systems had been infiltrated by Chinese hackers, sparking a months-long process to shut the attack down.
The IT breach was described by the Australian Strategic Policy Institute’s executive director Peter Jennings as a “really serious and unacceptable situation”.
An ANU spokesperson said they were aware of the “standard phishing email” which had been sent to “a small cohort of staff”.
“The University is aware of the email and has taken swift and appropriate action, including what to do if anyone has clicked on the link,” the spokesperson said.
“If anyone else in our community receives a similar email, or think they have been affected by this particular email, they should not click on any links and immediately alert the ANU IT Service Desk.”
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World champion Lewis Hamilton missed last weekend’s Sakhir Grand Prix after testing positive to COVID-19.
Arrangements for the Australian Grand Prix are yet to be determined by the Victorian government, multiple government and industry sources said on Thursday.
Premier Daniel Andrews has taken a hard line on quarantine for next year’s Australian Open tennis, which is expected to be delayed until February, with players set to be subjected to 14 days of quarantine and allowed to leave their hotels only for daily practise sessions.
Debate over the value of staging the grand prix in Melbourne is likely to intensify with the revelation that the state government spent $20 million less on this year’s cancelled race than it did on the 2019 Australian Grand Prix – despite refunding tens of millions of dollars worth of tickets.
The reduced spending occurred because the government did not pay the race hosting fee, believed to be about $60 million, to Formula One’s US owners, Liberty Media Corporation.
The Andrews government spent $115 million on the 2019 race compared to $49.5 million this year, according to the Australian Grand Prix Corporation’s annual report tabled on Thursday. Last year’s expenditure was offset by $55 million in revenue but this year, as tickets were refunded, this plummeted to $9.5 million.
Motorsport Australia is contracted to organise the GP and it does so with the help of an army of up to 1000 volunteers.
Michael Smith, director of Motorsport and Commercial Operations with MA, said only a small proportion of volunteers – at most 75 – may be asked to quarantine for a lengthy period because only they will come into close contact with the drivers and team staff working in the paddock and pit lane.
According to the email, they would have to agree to be tested for COVID-19 and quarantine for four days before the grand prix starts on Thursday, March 18. They would then enter the bubble, and quarantine for 14 days after the four-day carnival ends on Sunday, March 21 – a total of 22 days.
“Officials will be grouped into one of two categories: Profile 1 and profile 2. Profile 1 officials are those who will be working in the F1 paddock areas, pit lane and race control areas,” the email reads.
“Under the current requirements, all profile 1 officials will be placed into an “F1 bubble”. We are currently working closely with the Victorian government, Formula 1, and the Australian Grand Prix Corporation on the conditions of this bubble. At this stage, being a profile 1 official will likely require:
Ninety-six hours before the event, officials will be COVID tested and then placed in isolation.
When a negative result is confirmed, officials will be placed into one of four bio-secure hotels.
Officials must remain in the “F1 bubble” for the duration of the event.
All transport to and from the track, food and accommodation will be provided.
Following the event, profile 1 officials will be required to quarantine for 14 days – ending on Easter Sunday. Currently, the requirement would be for this to take place in a bio-secure hotel. We are hoping that the 14-day quarantine can be completed in your home [but] the ultimate decision on this lies with the Victorian Department of Health and Human Services.
“We appreciate that this would require a significant commitment, and therefore ask that you consider these conditions and whether you are willing and able to participate as a profile 1 official.”
Smith told The Age and Sydney Morning Herald: “We have been working on plans for the GP and what it might look like since May or June. As part of that, we are looking at all of the scenarios. One scenario may be that a small number of volunteers do have to quarantine, and if they do we want to understand what that might look like and who might be available. It’s a big commitment.”
Michael Lynch is The Age’s chief soccer reporter and also reports on motor sport and horseracing
Paul is a Victorian political reporter for The Age.
As Jane Fleming lit the candles on her son’s birthday cake, she was preoccupied with a substantial sum of missing money — $51,000 to be precise.
Scammers intercepted an email and changed the banking details on the attached invoice
Police believe the account used by the scammers was likely set up using a false name
Business email compromise scams cost Australians millions of dollars a year
“It was a horrible day. I just felt sick all day, just wondering where the 50 grand was,” she said.
It was on her son’s ninth birthday that she realised she’d transferred that amount into a scammer’s bank account.
Jane helps run the family building business, and in May she was arranging to pay $51,000 to a subcontractor.
“I thought it’s a huge [invoice]. I’ll break it up into two payments until we’ve got more funds to pay for the whole invoice,” she said.
She’d worked with concreter Simon O’Donnell for almost a decade, making countless payments to him in that time.
But a couple of days after Jane transferred the funds, Simon called her husband, asking where his money was.
“I had my bank account on my computer screen right in front of me and there was no money there,” Simon said.
“His wife said in the background something to the effect of, ‘I’ve paid Simon, he was the one that changed his bank details.’
“Then the penny dropped.”
Simon realised he’d been scammed.
He said such a substantial loss of money was a kick in the guts in an already difficult period.
“I’ve, from my angle, done nothing wrong. I finished a good job for someone, he was happy with the job, and I’m a lot of money out of pocket for six months, which during COVID hasn’t been ideal.”
But the money was gone — and so began Simon and Jane’s efforts to get it back.
Spot the difference
When Jane received the $51,000 invoice from Simon, she did notice his bank account had changed and updated his details before transferring the money.
“We hadn’t used Simon for six months so I thought he’s possibly changed it over that period of time,” Jane said.
The email itself didn’t seem unusual and it showed clear details of the job that’d been completed.
But after looking at the email Simon sent, and the one Jane received, it was clear something was off.
Simon’s outbox shows he sent the invoice to Jane at 4:56pm on a Friday — but it didn’t appear in her inbox until 7:30am on the Saturday.
According to associate dean for computing and security at Edith Cowan University, associate professor Paul Haskell-Dowland, someone had gained access to either Simon or Jane’s computer, and was waiting for an opportunity like this.
Dr Haskell-Dowland believes hackers gained remote access by hacking the builder’s website and surreptitiously redirecting visitors to another site which installed malicious software.
“So potentially having direct access to the computers and monitoring them, perhaps keeping an eye on them for a while, getting a feel for the kind of invoices that are being sent that way,” he said.
“It’s that control that has allowed the attackers to manipulate and modify emails between the two parties in this particular case.”
He said the hackers may have had access to the computer for months, or even longer — and a late-afternoon invoice was a prime target.
“An end-of-day invoice coming through where they know that the receiving company isn’t going to look at their email … that opens up an opportunity and it gives them time to analyse the email, to examine the [attached invoice],” he said.
Dr Haskell-Dowland examined the fraudulent invoice and said the alterations could only have been made by a person.
“The email would have been intercepted potentially via automated means and would have then been modified by human means,” he said.
Scammers stealing millions from businesses
Jane and Simon fell victim to a sophisticated business email compromise (BEC) scam.
“I didn’t know that an invoice could be intercepted between a supplier and ourselves and altered,” Jane said.
Last year, Scamwatch said BEC scams netted $5.3 million across Australia.
But when those losses were combined with data from other government agencies and the big four banks, a total of $132 million was recorded.
So far this year, Scamwatch has received 1,099 reports of business email compromise scams worth $3.7 million in losses.
Small Business Ombudsman Kate Carnell said the average amount businesses lost was $10,000 per transaction.
“Just recently, a survey was done of nearly 2,000 small businesses and 62 per cent of them had been hit by some level of cybersecurity breach, and this one, the invoice interception is now one of the most common,” Ms Carnell said.
“What we’re seeing is a significant increase and some of that increase we think is because people are working from home with less secure systems.”
Who’s behind the keyboard?
Tracking who was behind the scam that cost Simon and Jane is much more difficult than figuring out how it was done.
Jane and Simon both had their computers examined for signs of malware and came up with nothing.
“It is quite possible that the malware has been removed by the attackers because the attack has been successful,” Dr Haskell-Dowland said.
Despite Simon’s email address appearing as the sender of both the fraudulent $51,000 invoice and a lesser $804 invoice, metadata shows each invoice was actually sent by a different email address.
The ABC tracked down the person who owned one of the addresses to find out he too had been hacked.
The scammers had used his email to target others and managed to successfully scam a Canberra builder out of $20,000.
Police almost powerless
Victoria Police is investigating what occurred with Simon and Jane, but justice is far from assured.
The site associated with the hack of the builder’s website is based in Singapore, which puts it out of state police’s reach.
Police also believe the scammers have withdrawn money from an ATM in South Africa, further hampering the investigation.
Local police officer, Detective Leading Senior Constable David Morrison, is now trying to figure out who’s behind the web of Australian bank accounts used to funnel the money overseas.
“Unfortunately at this stage, I have not been able to identify the account holder of the offending account, and it is possible the account was opened online under a false name and address,” he told the ABC in a statement.
He said he had contacted multiple banks involved in a bid to trace the money.
“I have received some information as to the account holder’s details … however I am yet to receive information regarding the movement of the monies,” Leading Senior Constable Morrison said.
“Attempts are still being made to identify the account holder/s of the relevant accounts, however again, it is fairly probable that these accounts were opened under false names.”
In separate correspondence with Victoria Police, Jane was told: “Any further investigation is unlikely to result in a successful prosecution of the party responsible.”
“The reason is Victoria Police has no jurisdiction in South Africa and Interpol will only investigate fraud matter in excess of $1,000,000 loss,” it said in an email.
Leading Senior Constable Morrison said the matter would likely be passed on to the Australian Federal Police (AFP).
But the priority of the AFP is to “investigate cybercrime threats against Commonwealth Government departments, critical infrastructure and information systems of national significance” — meaning Jane and Simon’s case may come to a dead end.
What are the banks doing?
As cyber specialist Dr Haskell-Dowland picked through the trail of foreign servers and hacked emails, he questioned what Australian banks were doing to stop this type of crime.
“In terms of how to improve the situation, certainly the banks would be the [place to start],” he said.
Banks have a legal obligation to verify the information used to set up bank accounts.
But according to Victoria Police, it appears the Commonwealth Bank account which Jane deposited the money into was likely set up online using a false name and address.
Dr Haskell-Dowland said that could be prevented by strict “in-person identity checks, removing the opportunity for people to do this electronically, without undertaking some form of formal verification”.
Jane said she’d been “going in circles” trying to get help from the banks and regulators.
“CBA said they weren’t negligent and then AFCA (Australian Financial Complaints Authority) said we’re not in the jurisdiction because we’re not customers of CBA,” Jane said.
“Then they said to contact ASIC, who pointed us back towards AFCA.”
Jane has since received an email from the CBA declining her request for a refund, telling her she’d need “to approach your financial institution (Bendigo Bank) and lodge a claim for these funds”.
“I’d like this to be resolved by CBA acknowledging that they are negligent and allowing criminals from overseas to operate in Australia,” she said.
“It sounds like anyone can open a bank account with any name and then I can put money into that account in another business name and there are no alarm bells going off.”
The Commonwealth Bank said it acted quickly to block the account, which is now closed, as well as providing information to authorities.
“Despite the commitment and best efforts of regulators, law enforcement agencies and the banking industry, such frauds and scams sadly still occur,” the bank said in a statement.
“It is widely recognised that scams are becoming increasingly sophisticated which has prompted increased investment across the sector in resources, systems, data and intelligence to combat fraud and alert the Australian public to the risks the community faces.”
Jane lodged an AFCA complaint to the Bendigo Bank in the hope of a resolution.
In response, the bank said it tried to recover the money as soon as it was made aware of the situation.
“The correct procedures were followed to notify the other financial institution (Commonwealth Bank) and to request a recall of the funds,” the bank said.
“Because of the time delay between the funds being sent and notifying Bendigo Bank of the fraud, the likelihood of recovery for any other financial institution would be very low.”
The bank advised that those efforts were ultimately unsuccessful.
The ABC asked the Bendigo Bank about Jane’s case, but it declined to comment while the matter was still before AFCA.
Double-check your invoices
The Australian Financial Complaints Authority said it was working with industry and other stakeholders to try to minimise invoice hacking scams.
“To avoid falling victim to invoice hacking scams, consumers should call the supplier to confirm the correct account details before transferring large amounts of money, especially if they have received an email from the supplier saying their account details have changed,” AFCA lead ombudsman banking and finance, Evelyn Halls, said in a statement.
It’s advice both Jane and Simon can’t endorse strongly enough.
The concreter now sends a text with every invoice he sends, while Jane calls the sender to check details before paying.
“Just any invoice that you get, check if it’s a new [account] with a new BSB and account number, just call your supplier and confirm that that is their details,” Jane said.
A previous email he sent on October 16 indicated that no clusters had been found at the site.
“As per standard protocols, these colleagues are receiving the necessary medical attention and are recovering at home,” the email on Friday said. “These last five cases bring the total reported number of affected members of the Geneva based workforce to 65 since the beginning of the pandemic.”
Thomas’ email did not specify who was infected, but a WHO staffer with direct knowledge of the situation who spoke on the condition of anonymity because she was not authorised to speak to the press said the cluster included a member of the WHO Director-General’s leadership team who is also an infection control specialist.
The senior manager reportedly held several in-person meetings at WHO in early November before testing positive last week. The person, contacted by the AP, referred all comments to the WHO media office.
According to the email, 49 of the overall cases had occurred in the last eight weeks, “thus very much in line with the situation being reported in Geneva and the surrounding areas.” He added that “a higher number of cases among those who telework might have gone unreported.”
Enhanced measures to “reduce our risk profile” were being considered, the email said.
“Finally, members of the workforce are reminded that physical meetings, including gatherings in common areas or in the cafeteria, are strongly discouraged and should only take place where absolutely necessary,” it added.
Elsewhere in Geneva, restaurants are among many public venues that have been closed to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Last month, Thomas told WHO staffers the agency was restricting access to its Geneva headquarters to critical staffers, including senior directors, their assistants and management officers. “All members for the workforce are reminded to always keep proper hand hygiene, respect physical distancing standards (at least one metre) and wear masks, when distancing is not possible,” he wrote.
In normal times, an estimated 2400 people regularly work at WHO’s seven-storey headquarters overlooking Geneva. As the pandemic has swelled in the area, staffers have been encouraged to work from home when possible. Non-staff visitors have been required to wear masks, and access to the building has been curtailed.
And ahead of WHO’s week-long meeting of its member states last week – which was mostly virtual – staffers were told in an internal email to take extra precautions, including mask-wearing in public places.
On Monday, from a vast meeting room at the headquarters, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus and other officials were participating in a session of the agency’s latest executive board meeting, which was largely conducted by video conference. He was returning from a two-week self-quarantine at home after coming into contact with a person who tested positive. Because Tedros did not show any symptoms himself, he was not tested for COVID-19 but stayed at home out of an abundance of caution.
On November 2, WHO’s technical lead for the COVID-19 response, Maria Van Kerkhove, told reporters there had been no transmission or clusters at headquarters, before adding: “But it is something that we’re monitoring every day.”
The WHO press office did not respond to two emails from the AP – on November 2 and November 10 – asking how many staffers based at WHO headquarters had tested positive for COVID-19.
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Nine has refused to answer detailed questions about the nature of any investigation and would not comment on the anonymous email sent to the board. “We will deal with all matters in line with good corporate governance and the company’s policies,” a Nine spokeswoman said in a statement on Monday.
The Herald and The Age could not confirm the contents of the email but have been told it has added to frustrations among directors that they have not been adequately informed about important developments inside the company.
Shareholders expressed disappointment about the resignation of Mr Marks, who oversaw the merger between Nine and Fairfax Media in 2018, overhauled the company’s sports rights portfolio and announced a 30 per cent increase to earnings forecasts last week.
Investment analyst Patrick Potts from Martin Currie firm said Mr Marks was leaving the company in a good shape. “We are naturally disappointed that he’s leaving,” he said. Martin Currie is Nine’s third largest shareholder and holds a 5.85 per cent stake.
“He has done a very good job over the last five years in not only resetting the TV business but also investing in growth assets like Stan, 9Now and then integrating the Fairfax acquisition.”
Mr Potts said the board needed to take its time finding the right person and expressed a preference for a candidate with digital experience rather than media or advertising expertise. The boss of streaming service Stan, Mike Sneesby, and digital and publishing boss, Chris Janz, are considered the leading internal contenders.
Mr Potts did not want to discuss the specific details behind Mr Marks’ resignation. “It happens in corporations from time to time and it’s always a very tricky situation to handle as shareholders and you really rely on boards to deal with these sort of scenarios.”
Wavestone Capital principal Catherine Allfrey said whoever was appointed to the job would need to meet the benchmarks set out by Mr Marks to investors this year including a goal to boost digital revenues. Ms Allfrey’s firm, which holds Nine shares, said she is happy for the executive to continue in his role until a permanent replacement is found. Mr Marks appeared at a UBS conference that was closed to media on Monday where Ms Allfrey said he was “perfectly fine” with articulating its strategy.
“I’m disappointed about what’s happened in terms of Hugh’s departure and the sudden nature of it and the circumstances but nonetheless I think there’s a lot of talent the next layer down,” Ms Allfrey said. “I’ve got confidence in Costello and the board to make the right decision in terms of the forward focus of the group. But whoever they pick has to focus driving the business on the digital side.”
The company’s six-person board, which was put together during the $4 billion merger in 2018, is comprised of three former Fairfax Media directors and three directors from the earlier Nine board. The ex-Fairfax directors are deputy chairman Nick Falloon, Patrick Allaway and Mickie Rosen, and the Nine directors are Mr Costello, Samantha Lewis and Ms West.
Multiple sources close to the board said there are tensions between the directors that joined from Fairfax and those who came from Nine. The tensions, according to the sources, are related to concerns about lack of transparency and thorough decision-making processes.
The sources have said some directors have at times felt out of the loop with decisions made by Mr Costello and Mr Marks. Mr Allaway abruptly resigned from the board of Woolworths Holdings in February last year after it was revealed former David Jones boss David Thomas had been accused of discrimination against a staff member and was the subject of an external investigation handled by law firm Ashurst (the investigation found no evidence).
Mr Marks could not confirm whether he had the board’s full support on Sunday but criticised at what he described as a lack of calmness among some directors as they discussed “ridiculous gossip” about him. In media interviews on Monday he thanked Mr Costello for his support.
He would not go into detail about whether the directors had received any internal or external correspondence about his behaviour before his resignation, but he did not deny it.
“I think it’s best that we keep some of that stuff behind the scenes because it’s not really that relevant,” Mr Marks said on Sunday. “That sort of stuff can be a trigger for things but I think it was just heightened gossip.
“Maybe there could have been calmer minds in some situations and calmer voices – that’s what I would do in this situation.”
Start your day informed
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Zoe Samios is a media and telecommunications reporter at The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age.
The majority of professionals who began working remotely in the spring as a result of the pandemic would like to keep working that way after it’s safe to return to the office. A recent FlexJobs survey of more than 4,000 people who’ve been working remotely during the pandemic found that 65% said they would prefer to work at home full-time after the pandemic.
If you’re among that majority, you probably won’t find it surprising that 51% of survey respondents say they have been more productive working from home during the pandemic, and 95% of respondents say productivity has been higher or the same while working remotely.
For those who want to continue working remotely but aren’t sure how to discuss with their bosses, FlexJobs’s career coaching team has developed a template for requesting a more permanent work-from-home arrangement.
To approach your boss with this kind of request, career coaches recommend the following two-step process:
Email your manager and/or HR to request a meeting
Write a proposal to present at the meeting
In your proposal, include the request to work from home permanently, your reasoning for the request and the professional benefits of a permanent arrangement, and details or scenarios for your potential schedule and communication with the team.
Below, you’ll find the email template to request your meeting, and the proposal template to build your winning pitch for a permanent work-from-home arrangement.
Email to request a meeting
Subject line ideas:
Long-term remote work options
Plans for continued remote work vs. return to the office
Hello [manager’s name],
I hope you’re doing well! To best prepare for the coming months, I’d like to get a good sense of the company’s plans to return to the office and what the options are for longer-term remote work. Are you the right person to talk to, and if so, could we set up a call for later this week?”
Proposal outline to present at your meeting
Send this to whoever you’re meeting with the day before your meeting, so they have time to review it.
Request: A long-term remote work arrangement.
You may want to list the specific arrangement or arrangements you’d ideally like here. For example:
Work from home 2-3 days per week
Continue working 100% from home, with in-office visits as needed.
Work from home through spring 2021
Reasoning and benefits: Since beginning to work from home full-time during the pandemic, I’ve discovered just how productive and effective I can be at my job by working this way. This was also possible even though many other responsibilities and focuses shifted in my personal life.
Like many of us, because of remote work, I continued contributing at a high level at work while taking care of unexpected and challenging life circumstances.
Specifically, while working remotely, I’ve experienced: List specific accomplishments, achievements, and improvements related to work such as:
95% client retention during a severe economic downturn due to excellent communication and availability outside traditional office hours
15% fewer PTO or sick days compared to last year because I can keep working through mild illnesses, when children are home sick, etc.
Creative new ways of collaborating and communicating with coworkers leading to stronger working relationships
A faster turn-around time on projects/content/brainstorms/client requests because of the increased focus that remote work supports
Potential schedule and communication details: I understand how important it is for me to be reachable and available even when working remotely. Here’s how I can make that possible:
Stick to predictable hours that overlap with the team’s for synchronous work
Be available by email, phone, and online chat during work hours
Announce my arrival and departure every day just as I would in the office
Send schedule changes and other necessary info to anyone affected
Dial into all meetings and use video whenever possible
Make regular visits to the office and be available as needed for in-person meetings
Don’t forget to thank your supervisor for their time and consideration.
If you don’t receive a “yes” right away, you might want to ask your manager what concerns they have, and then think of ways to address those.
Lastly, consider asking for a hybrid work situation where you’re in the office some days or weeks and at home others. Remote work has become more acceptable in the past eight months than ever before, even for skeptical managers, so if you don’t get a quick yes, try again in the future, or start looking for a new job that will let you work remotely.
Brie Reynolds is a career development manager and coach at FlexJobs.
Nine chief executive Hugh Marks has resigned after five years in the top job, saying it is time for him to “begin the process of moving on”.
Mr Marks oversaw Nine’s merger with Fairfax in 2019
He thanked staff for their work, especially in the year of COVID-19
He will announce his departure to the financial markets on Monday and will oversee the transition to his replacement
Mr Marks oversaw the Nine network’s merger with Fairfax in 2019, the biggest shake-up of Australian media in decades.
The entity owns free-to-air Nine Network, The Sydney Morning Herald, The Age, The Australian Financial Review, a majority stake in Domain, streaming service Stan and a 54.5 per cent stake in radio network Macquarie Media.
It is also led by Peter Costello, the chief executive and chairman of Nine Entertainment.
Mr Marks made the announcement in an email to staff across the network in television, radio and print on Saturday afternoon, and thanked them for their work.
“After five successful years for Nine, I have decided the time is right for me begin the process of moving on,” the email said.
“It is the ingenuity, creativity and dedication that you all bring to Nine and the Nine family which makes this place special, and which will ensure it continues to lead the market for many years to come.
“COVID-19 has also demonstrated how we are stronger together.”
He said he would make an announcement about this departure to the market on Monday, and the process of replacing him would begin then.
“I will be around to ensure a smooth transition as the business embarks on its next stage of growth,” he said.
In the email, the CEO reflected on the enormous changes to the business and the difficulties faced by the company during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We have gone from being three separate, legacy media businesses in Nine, Fairfax Media and Macquarie Media, each with their own structural challenges,” he wrote.
“… and created a business that now has a diversified revenue base across both advertising and subscription, and that has a clear growth strategy for decades to come.”
Nine is reporting that Mr Marks’ departure follows the company’s AGM on Thursday.
When you delete a file in Google Drive, it moves to the trash folder and stays there indefinitely until you manually empty the bin. That is how it has always been but, sometime this month, Google made one important change to how the trash bin works.
Under the new policy, files that have been in Google Drive’s trash bin for more than 30-days are automatically deleted. This automatic cleanup does help reclaim space but if you happen to accidentally delete some important files or folders from your Google Drive, there’s no way to restore them from the trash after the 30-day window.
Monitor Google Drive Files
If you are like me who is terrified at the prospect of forever losing important files that were deleted by mistake, Google Drive Watch can help.
Google Drive Watch is an open-source Google Script that automatically monitors your Google Drive and sends daily email notifications with a detailed list of files that were deleted the previous day.
Here’s a sample email notification sent by the Google Drive Watch program.
The email includes the file link, the date when the file was first created, and the name/email address of the Google Account that last modified and deleted the file. It monitors files in your regular Google Drive as well as Shared Drive folders.
Watch your own Google Drive
Here’s how you can set up Google Drive watch for your own Google account in few easy steps:
Click here to make a copy of the Google script in your own Google Drive.
Inside the script editor, go to
and specify the email address where you want to receive the Drive notifications. You can also put multiple emails separated by commas.
The script, by default, will create a cron job that will run once per day at the selected hour. If you however wish to change the frequency so that the notifications arrive, say, every 5 days, you can specify 5 in
We are almost there. Go to the Run menu and choose “Enable Drive Watch” to enable the monitor for your Drive. Allow the script to access your file and you are all set.
Important: The first email notification will only arrive the next day at the selected hour.
How Google Drive Monitoring Works
The source code of the Google Drive monitor script is available on Github.
Internally, the script uses the Google Drive API with Google Apps Script to watch for changes in your Google Drive. It then sets up a daily cron job, using triggers in Google Scripts, that sends the email if new file changes are found.
When you first run the script, it gets a starting page token and all changes made to Google Drive after this token is fetched will be monitored by the script. We set
to true since the script should monitor folders in Team Drives as well.
endpoint of the Google Drive API fetches all changes made to the authorized user’s Drive since the start page token. We also set the
property to limit file properties that are available in the response. The
returned in the response will become the new page token for future calls to the Drive API.
array holds a list of files that have been modified since the last run. This also includes new files that have added and old files that were edited by the users. Since we are only interested in the file that have been trashed, we’ll filter all files from the response except the ones that have been trashed.
Victoria’s Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton and the head of the state’s health department have been given one week to explain email chains withheld from the investigation into the disastrous hotel quarantine scheme.