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Canberra sunrise: click to embiggenMy week Monday 4 to Sunday 10 November 2013 was another busy one, but I survived.

Once more the Weekly Wrap has been hideously delayed, so it’ll just be the facts.

A key part of the week was my trip to Canberra, mainly to cover the speech by Eugene Kaspersky to the National Press Club, but also to squeeze in some meetings with other people while I was there. Kaspersky seems to have dominated my media output for the week.

Podcasts

  • Corrupted Nerds: Conversations 8, being a chat about electronic voting with Dr Vanessa Teague from the University of Melbourne. If you think e-voting is the cure for electoral fraud and mistakes, you’d better listen.

Articles

Media Appearances

Corporate Largesse

  • On Thursday I went to the National Press Cub in Canberra to hear Eugene Kaspersky’s address. I was a guest at the Kaspersky Lab table, and they paid for my flights from Sydney. I paid for my own accommodation because the Kaspersky thing itself could have been a day trip.

[Photo: Canberra sunrise, photographed from Rydges Lakeside Canberra hotel on 7 November 2013.]

Digitally manipulated image of Eugene Kaspersky: click for podcastI’m headed to Canberra this week to hear Eugene Kaspersky, chief executive officer and chairman of Kaspersky Lab, speak at the National Press Club on Thursday 7 November.

It’ll be an interesting event.

When I last spoke with Kaspersky in May — you can listen to that conversation now, because it became the first episode of the Corrupted Nerds: Conversations podcast — it was before Edward Snowden’s revelations began. Before “all of the cybers” changed from being something of interest only to a few specialist technology and national security writers into front page news around the world.

Actually, I’ll embed it here so you don’t even have to click through.

I suspect that the kinds of questions asked by the insular and largely Canberra-bound press gallery journalists will be as revealing of the state of play as the words of the Russian information security star himself — and he knows how to work the media.

Kaspersky is speaking at the NPC at lunchtime on Thursday, immediately after which I’ll be reporting on it for ZDNet Australia. But I’ll be in Canberra from early Wednesday afternoon through until Friday afternoon, so if you want or need to catch up, do let me know.

Disclosure: I am travelling to Canberra as the guest of Kaspersky Lab.

[Photo: Eugene Kaspersky speaking at CeBIT Australia 2012. Original photo by CeBIT Australia, used under a Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC-BY) license. Digital manipulation by Stilgherrian.]

Cover art for Corrupted Nerds: Conversations episode 5: click for podcast web pageAfter a gap that was altogether far too long, a new episode of the Corrupted Nerds podcast has just been posted.

“Networks are living and breathing things. They don’t sit still. Your vulnerabilities will change on a daily basis, for sure, and you need to be on top of that,” says Dick Bussiere, principal architect for Tenable Network Security in the Asia Pacific region.

That’s why Tenable is advocating what they see as a revolution in maintaining a data network’s security posture.

“We’re kind of advocating that people perform vulnerability assessment, and remediation of vulnerabilities, as a constant and continuous process, rather than something that you do on a periodic basis,” Bussiere says.

So that worldview, plus a few comments about advanced persistent threats (APTs), the Syrian Electronic Army (SEA) and the revelations of Edward Snowden, are all part of Corrupted Nerds: Conversations episode 5. Enjoy.

Sydney Harbour from Potts Point: click to embiggenMy week Monday 26 August to Sunday 1 September 2013 was a full one, and I survived.

Part of me wants to write more than that, particularly after last week’s false start, the thoughts generated by my university lectures on Monday, and the idiocy of being banned by Microsoft — and in that account I really should have emphasised more the defamatory nature of that action.

But it’s already well into Sunday evening, I’ve already written my counterpoint to gripes about the Sunday Telegraph, and it’s a busy week ahead (see below). So on with the facts.

Articles

Podcasts

None, though I did more background work on Corrupted Nerds, and things will appear in the coming few days.

Media Appearances

Corporate Largesse

  • Also on Monday, I met up with Kim Carter, the PR Manager of the Australian Direct Marketing Association. Oddly enough, they know all about data mining. She paid for the coffee.
  • Also on Monday, I went to the program launch for the Sydney Opera House’s Festival of Dangerous Ideas, which is on 2 to 4 November. There was food and drink.
  • On Thursday night, I went to Text100′s (in)famous Christmas in August event, where they previewed their clients’ goodies for the holiday buying season. There was food and much, much drink.

The Week Ahead

It’ll be another busy one. Monday is dedicated to a spring clean of various projects, something I’m looking forward to.

Tuesday is a trip to Sydney for a 1000 interview recording in the CBD, and to cover a lunch event by the Trans-Tasman Business Circle featuring Westpac’s chief information officer Clive Whincup. I’m reporting on the latter for Technology Spectator.

Wednesday is a day of interview recordings, research and writing back up in the Blue Mountains.

On Thursday it’s back to Sydney for more interview recordings and a lunch briefing by AVG Technologies, and I’ll probably stay in Sydney over night because on Friday I have an 0800 interview recording in the CBD — after which it’s all a bit unplanned.

[Photo: Sydney Harbour from Potts Point, taken from a room at the DeVere Hotel on Friday 30 August 2013.]

Winter in Sydney, dreadful: a photograph of Sydney Central station on a bright sunny day: click to embiggenMy week Monday 12 to Sunday 18 August 2013 was quite productive, for a change. As you’ll see below, I produced more media objects this week than in quite a while.

This is as good a time as any to mention that climbing out of the current — or should I say recent — black dog episode is proving remarkably straightforward this time. I think that’s down to a combination of factors. I’ve got a good medical team. I’ve been down that rabbit-hole before, so it’s a familiar landscape and a familiar route home — and indeed that initial blog post was really me starting that process. I’ve had a few professional compliments lately. And the weather has been lovely, which makes a big difference when there’s a seasonal component to one’s moods.

Podcasts

  • Corrupted Nerds: Conversations 4, being a chat with Dr Kerry Hinton from the Centre for Energy-Efficient Telecommunications (CEET) about how the internet uses electricity — and how we might well run into a power crisis.

I still haven’t kicked off The 9pm Election podcast. I really do think I was biting off more than I can chew with that little addition to my planned workload.

Articles

Media Appearances

  • On Monday, I spoke about geoblocks and how to avoid them, briefly, as part of a package on Channel TEN’s The Project. This was the footage shot two weeks ago.
  • On Tuesday, ITJourno wrote about me, Stilgherrian launches Corrupted Nerds podcast, but you won’t be able to read it unless you’re a member.
  • On Sunday I spoke about future politics on ABC Radio National’s Sunday Extra with host Jonathan Green and John McTernan, formerly Prime Minister Julia Gillard’s head of communications.

Corporate Largesse

  • On Thursday night, I dropped in to a little soirée to launch Malcolm Turnbull’s new website. Beer and sushi was to be had.
  • On Friday night, I popped in to the launch of Dom Knight’s new book, Man vs Child, and there was an open bar for a while. I had one beer. Because I’m responsible.

The Week Ahead

On Monday and Tuesday I’ll be in Sydney to cover the Gartner Security and Risk Management Summit for CSO Online and Technology Spectator, each in their own way. That’ll keep me busy with writing through Wednesday.

The rest of the week is full of more writing, for ZDNet Australia and my now-regular guest lecture at UTS at a bare minimum.

Somewhere in there I need to start working on some income-generation for Corrupted Nerds.

The weekend is likely to be a quiet one.

[Photo: Winter in Sydney, dreadful, being a photograph of Sydney Central station taken on 16 August 2013, an exceptionally lovely blue-sky day. As I said last week, spring has come early this year.]

AusCERT 2013 conference banner: click for conference websiteHere’s a list of the news stories I’ve found this morning that have been written about the AusCERT 2013 information security conference.

The theme for this year’s conference was “This time it’s personal”:

[The theme reflects] the growth in attacks and unauthorised disclosures of online personal information. Motivated by illicit financial gain, cyber criminals obtain unauthorised access to personal information, but more and more, we are seeing data disclosures being posted publicly by attackers for political motives, rather than financial gain.

Hence the theme will resonate within the information security community and remind us that the online environment provides opportunities galore to capture personal information; of the impact these breaches can have on the lives of individuals; and the importance of information security to prevent these attacks. AusCERT2013 will explore these issues and bring experts from Australia and around the world to provide insight and solutions to deal with these challenges.

Items are arranged alphabetically by masthead and then chronologically. If I’ve missed anything, please let me know. Indeed, I daresay that some more articles will be published on Monday or Tuesday, so if that happens I’ll update this post appropriately.

There’s a lot here for me to read, so if I’m going to write a reaction piece some time then it’ll be… later.

Read the rest of this entry »

AusCERT 2012 logo: click for conference websiteI didn’t make it to information security conference AusCERT 2013 this year. I’m about to read what’s been written and compile a list — but first, a reflection on what happened in 2012.

When I look back two years to what I wrote from AusCERT 2011, I’m reminded that we were just getting our head around the implications of the Stuxnet worm. Not only was malware being written by organised criminals, and we were facing an explosion of anti-banking malware and mobile malware, and looking ahead to when an angry child might deploy malware against their neighbours — we were now made well aware that malware was also being written by nation states with budgets in the millions of dollars and beyond.

But looking through the list (below) for AusCERT 2012, what jumps out is the emphasis on the militarisation of information security, as well as the emphasis in the scale of criminal activities. I won’t expand on that, because the conversation with AusCERT general manager Graham Ingram speaks for itself.

Articles from AusCERT 2012

Podcasts from AusCERT 2012

  • Patch Monday episode 139, “War talk dominates AusCERT 2012″, the first of two episodes based on material recorded at the information security conference. The overall theme is that infosec is becoming militarised. We no longer talk about “information assurance” but “defensive cyber operations”. Click through for the full list of speakers.
  • Patch Monday episode 140, “Cybercrime: it’s just too easy”, the second of two episodes based on material recorded at the AusCERT 2012 information security conference. AusCERT general manager Graham Ingram explains why cybercrime is here to stay, and F-Secure chief research officer Mikko Hypponen details a complex transnational criminal operation that saw goods bought fraudulently in Denmark being resold in Moscow, as well giving his views on hacktivism and the level to which antivirus companies should cooperate with governments.

Bonus Extra Video

After the conference, my flight back to Sydney was delayed. With the need to kill some time, this video was the result.

My compilation of reports from AusCERT 2013 will be posted later today. My compilation of reports from AusCERT 2013 is now online.

Monday 29 October to Sunday 4 November 2012 was a busy week, made slightly less busy by the need to recover from the throat infection identified last week and then, because I was run down, fatigue that was probably a mix of a cold and hay fever.

Hence the photograph of the wattle I’ve posted here. It is to blame.

Dear Plant Kingdom, if I spread my genetic material all over you the way you do over me, I’d be arrested! Please behave yourself.

[Update 1545 AEDT: I am reliably informed that the hay fever is unlikely to be caused by wattle pollen.]

Podcasts

Articles

Media Appearances

Also, the Sydney Opera House has posted the video of my Festival of Dangerous Ideas panel, I Share Therefore I Am. I’ll write more about that in due course.

Corporate Largesse

  • On Monday evening I had a few beers with Michael McKinnon from AVG Australia and New Zealand, which they paid for.
  • On Tuesday morning I attended the breakfast launch of Windows Phone 8 at the Blue Bar,level 36 of the Shangri-La Hotel, overlooking Sydney Harbour. Microsoft paid for that, obviously.

The Week Ahead

Next week is pretty much all about Singapore. On Monday I’ll head down to Sydney and get some writing out of the way. Then on Tuesday it’s Singapore Airlines flight SQ212 departing Sydney at 0905 AEDT and arriving in Singapore mid-afternoon local time.

Wednesday is Verizon Business’ APAC Media Day, a five-hour meeting followed by cocktails. On Thursday I’m visiting the hospitality tent at the Barclays Singapore Open golf tournament as Verizon’s guest. Friday through Sunday has yet to be finalised, but there’ll be at least two articles to write and a podcast to produce.

Oh, and a social life.

My flight back to Sydney SQ231 leaves Singapore at 45 minutes past midnight Sunday night — so technically that’s Monday morning.

[Photo: Wattle near Railway Parade, near Wentworth Falls, one of the causes of my hay fever this week.]

My regular spot on Phil Dobbie’s Balls Radio returned this week after a wee break, and the topic was spear phishing.

Most of what we discussed was based on newly-released research from Websense and my as-yet-unreported conversations with their guys.

Here’s the audio of my segment. If you’d like more, have a listen to the full episode.

Play

The program is no longer broadcast on FM99.3 Northside Radio, it’s purely a podcast. You can subscribe over at the website.

I was in Sydney for most of my week Monday 23 to Sunday 29 July 2012, and despite some minor annoyances I’m reasonably pleased with the results.

I also started a new gig on a SEKRIT project. It looks like it’ll be quite fun, but I won’t be able to tell you about it for ages.

Podcasts

  • Patch Monday episode 147, “Mid-2012 malware: new flavours, same ice cream”. Has 2012 turned out to be “the year of cyberwar” accompanied by an explosion of Android malware? Hear from Alex Kirk, senior research analyst with the Sourcefire Vulnerability Research Team (VRT); David Hall, Symantec’s consumer spokesperson for Asia Pacific; and Bob Hansmann, senior product marketing manager at Websense.

Articles

If ever there was a week that illustrated my transition to grumpy-old-man writing, this is it.

Media Appearances

Corporate Largesse

None.

The Week Ahead

It looks like it’ll be a relatively easy week, but with most of it spent at Wentworth Falls — both because that’s the schedule and because it’s that end-of-the-month week where I really don’t have any money left.

[Photo: Diary of the Lost Crane being the view from level 12 of the Metro Sydney Central Hotel on a foggy Wednesday morning.]

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