infosec

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Salmon heads on special at $1.99 per kilogram: click to embiggenMy week of Monday 14 to Sunday 20 April 2014 was a solid performer in the first half, and suitably balanced in the second half — not a time-off Easter, but at least one that wasn’t about over-work.

My own media production moved away from covering the Heartbleed bug, producing just one item — an opinion piece looking back at the way the crisis was handled, as opposed to the straight news stories produced during the previous week. But the story had moved into the mainstream, and that provided the background for a couple of media appearances.

More importantly, at least from my point of view, was that on Easter Sunday I launched “The 9 O’Clock Resurrection”, a Pozible crowdfunding project to re-establish my podcast The 9pm Edict as a regular part of my media production schedule.

I’ve already posted two progress videos onto a YouTube playlist, and we’re already nearly halfway to the initial target. I’m posting plenty of updates elsewhere, so I won’t bang on about that here.

Articles

Media Appearances

5at5

There was one for every working day, so that went to plan. Why don’t you subscribe to 5at5, and then I don’t need to keep telling you about it.

Corporate Largesse

  • On Thursday I had a meeting with someone from Lewis PR to exchange notes on what we each had coming up. They paid for coffee and cake.

The Week Ahead

It’s a short working week here in Australia, which is partially why this Weekly Wrap is appearing on Tuesday. Monday was mostly an excursion with two friends to Dulwich Hill, Summer Hill and Ashfield. Dumplings were involved.

Today, Tuesday, is about email and planning and many minor tasks that need to be gotten out of the way, so that I can concentrate on promoting the Pozible project and plan out the next few weeks.

Wednesday and Thursday are writing days, with at least one thing to write for ZDNet Australia, plus some work to be done on sorting out my cashflows. Friday is Anzac Day. I will mark it in some way, personally, but I’m not sure how yet. The weekend is unplanned as yet.

I’m in Sydney all week, and currently plan to return to the Blue Mountains on Sunday.

[Photo: Salmon heads on special at $1.99 per kilogram, photographed at Cabramatta in Sydney's south-west on Saturday 19 April 2014.]

Stilgherrian in bunny hat from Download This Show

ABC logoCareful and sighted readers will have noticed that in the photo accompanying the audio for this week’s Download This Show I was wearing a bunny hat for Easter. That’s because this radio program now appears on video as well as part of the new RN TV.

Not all of it, but one segment at least, and you’ll see that video over the fold.

In light of the software bug Heartbleed, we examine password managers and ask are they the safest way to manage your security online?

Read the rest of this entry »

Stilgherrian, Marc Fennell and Claire Porter in the ABC studios: click for full image

ABC logoThis week saw my first appearance on ABC Radio National’s Download This Show. Presenter Marc Fennell made the grave mistake of putting me and Claire Porter, editor-a-large of Techly, in the same place at the same time. Chaos ensued.

“Killing Comic Sans, SELFIE Mirror, Password Managers” is the headline for this episode.

Comic Sans comeback: Created for Microsoft in the mid-90s, Comic Sans might just be the internet’s most-hated font. But this week we meet the guy who’s trying to save its reputation and reintroduce Comic Sans to a new generation, by making it look cool. In light of the software bug Heartbleed, we examine password managers and ask are they the safest way to manage your security online? And it’s a contender for the weirdest high-tech gadget yet: the mirror that automatically takes a selfie.

Here’s the full program.

Play

The audio is ©2014 Australian Broadcasting Corporation, and it’s served here directly from the ABC website.

[Photo: Stilgherrian, Marc Fennell and Claire Porter in the ABC studios, 17 April 2014.]

ABC logoAnother day, another Heartbleed-related radio spot. This one was on ABC Radio 774 Melbourne, 720 Perth, and local stations throughout Victoria and Western Australia.

This conversation with presenter Prue Bentley was a straightforward explainer. It contains the current state of play in terms of what we believe, so if you only want to listen to one then make it this one. Unless there’s a more recent one on the site somewhere.

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The audio is of course ©2014 Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

Sulphur-Crested Cockatoo: click to embiggenMy week of Monday 7 to Sunday 13 April 2014 was astoundingly busy and productive. Yes, Heartbleed is to blame. But so is completely ignoring medical advice — which is something I’ll write about next week.

While there’s a lot on my mind that I want to tell you about, I’ve been churning out so many blog posts today, and so many articles about Heartbleed in recent days, and drinking so much wine relaxing across the weekend, that I can’t be arsed saying anything more.

So here’s the list.

Articles

Every single thing that I wrote this week was about the Heartbleed security bug.

Media Appearances

5at5

I managed to pump out another five this week, although one of them was on the weekend. Why don’t you subscribe to 5at5, and then I don’t need to keep telling you about it.

Corporate Largesse

  • On Monday, some of the people at UTS bought me coffees and lunch. Does that count as largesse?

The Week Ahead

I have no idea. The only things that have been locked in are being in Sydney on Thursday morning so I can be a panellist on this week’s Download This Show for ABC Radio National, which is being recorded at 1100, and of course it’s Good Friday and then the Easter weekend, so in theory I shouldn’t be working.

The reality, however, is that Easter is a shitty time for freelancers, because public holidays mean a serious drop in revenue — and I’m already rather stressed about March having been a quieter month than planned.

But I’ll figure it out, just not tonight.

Oh, and there’s a lunar eclipse on Tuesday.

[Photo: Sulphur-Crested Cockatoo, photographed at dusk near Wentworth Falls on 8 April 2014.]

ABC logoThere’s something rather cool about being introduced with the Mission: Impossible theme, and that’s precisely what happened when I did a spot for ABC 702 Sydney on Friday morning.

The Heartbleed security bug was one topic, obviously, but I also spoke with breakfast presenter Robbie Buck about another story in the news that morning, about radio presenter and activist Vanessa Powell, who’d complained that Australia’s Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP) had been, as she put it, spying on her social media activities.

Or, as I put it, that they’d been reading what she published on the internet — just as, presumably, she’d been reading what they published on the internet. That they’d gathered her comments with some semi-automated process — and, presumably, she hadn’t gathered theirs the same way — to me says “naivety” rather than “victim of sinister conspiracy”.

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The audio is of course ©2014 Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

ABC logoBy Thursday, news of the Heartbleed security bug had permeated from the technical press and the odd radio talk show into mainstream current affairs.

And so it was that ABC Radio’s Will Ockenden spoke to me for a story on the lunchtime current affairs program, The World Today.

Online security experts are warning today that nearly every user of the web over the last two years is exposed to a security bug sweeping the internet. Known as Heartbleed, the bug is a serious vulnerability in a piece of encryption software which secures data on nearly two in three web servers. It’s now a race between the server administrators and hackers to either fix the software in time or come under attack.

Here’s the full story, served directly from the ABC website, where you can also read the transcript.

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The audio is of course ©2014 Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

FIVEaa logoI’ve already hinted at the importance of Heartbleed, the internet security bug, to my working week. Oh, and to the internet, yeah, that too. Well, my first media object was an article for Crikey. The second was this conversation on Adelaide commercial radio station 1395 FIVEaa.

Even though a lot more has been learned about Heartbleed since this conversation took place, and I’ve written a bunch of stuff for ZDNet Australia after each of the daily briefings by the SANS Institute’s Internet Storm Centre (ISC), which will be listed in the Weekly Wrap, this conversation with Will Goodings from Wednesday afternoon stands up surprisingly well.

I think.

Judge for yourself.

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The audio is ©2014 dmgRadio Australia, but here it is ‘cos it hasn’t been posted on the radio station’s website. Besides, this is a reasonable plug, and they sent the audio file to me knowing this is exactly what I was going to be doing with it.

Heartbleed logoNothing has appeared here since Weekly Wrap 200 last Sunday — including the update to my guest lecture at UTS from Monday — because my work schedule has been dominated by the Heartbleed internet security bug.

There’s a lot that’ll appear here in the coming three days, and not just the UTS lecture. There’s radio spots that I did with ABC 720 Perth, ABC 783 Alice Springs, 1395 FIVEaa Adelaide, ABC Radio’s The World Today, and ABC 702 Sydney, for starters, plus links to the stories I’ve written on Heartbleed — one for Crikey and four for ZDNet Australia — although clever possums will know that they’re already listed on the media page.

In the background, I’ve also been sketching out ideas for a Pozible crowdfunding campaign or two, continuing from the one I did last year, to resurrect Corrupted Nerds and The 9pm Edict. Stay tuned.

I guess I shouldn’t whinge about Heartbleed killing my schedule. Some people have to do the really hard programming and systems administration work to clean up the mess, not just write and talk about it, and the extra work is heartbleeding revenue straight into my pocket.

Banksia in the Mist: click to embiggenMy week of Monday 31 March to Sunday 6 April 2014 has definitely seen the beginnings of some sort of return to normality, despite the almost continuous dreary weather.

I won’t go on about that, however because I don’t want to jinx it. I’ll just list the stuff.

Articles

Media Appearances

5at5

I managed to pump one out every weekday this week, which hasn’t happened in a while. I think it’s about time for you to subscribe, if you haven’t already done so.

Corporate Largesse

  • On Wednesday I went to a briefing session by HP Enterprise Security Services at the Four Seasons Hotel in Sydney, where a lovely afternoon tea was served — although I’d had a big lunch, so didn’t really taste much of it.

The Week Ahead

On Monday I’m presenting an updated version of my guest lecture at University of Technology Sydney (UTS) at 1000, and that means it’s an early start. I’m catching an 0636 train from Wentworth Falls, arriving at Sydney Central at 0817. I could catch a later train, but I want to grab a bite to eat before meeting the course coordinator for coffee at 0900. Plus I want to allow for the possibility of delays. My Twitter stream should be fun that morning, for some value of fun.

If you want to take me to lunch on Monday, or otherwise catch up, now is the time to stake your claim.

I have another morning gig in Sydney on Tuesday, a meeting at 1045, so it looks like I’ll be spending plenty of time on trains over the next couple of days.

Then on Wednesday it’s an 0845 start in Sydney for the Amazon Web Services Sydney Summit. Ideally I’d stay in Sydney overnight from Tuesday, but the early-month cashflows look like they won’t permit that. Stay tunes for updates, however.

[Update 12 April 2014: Those two trips to Sydney didn't happen -- and it's a good thing they got cancelled, because once the Heartbleed security bug was announced on Wednesday my time, I was flat out on work related to that, Expect plenty of updates over the next 72 hours.]

The rest of the week and the weekend, including what will be written when, has yet to be mapped out. That will depend very much on what I manage to get done in the next 48 hours.

[Photo: Banksia in the Mist, photographed at Bunjaree Cottages on 4 April 2014.]

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