Conversations

Conversations is an umbrella category of posts containing the full versions of the interviews and other guest spots I do for other people’s media products, including radio, podcasts and television. RSS Feed

ABC logoEven though it’s a year old, the website that crashes an iPhone is back in the news this week — presumably because knowledge of the trick “went viral”, as they say.

This story piqued the interest of Fiona Willey, presenter of ABC Radio’s Statewide Drive in NSW, and we spoke on-air earlier this evening.

This is the full nine-minute interview, including a bit about the story from September 2015 when malware-infected apps made their way into the offical Apple App Store in China.

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The audio is ©2016 Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

There’s a reason the list of most popular posts for 2015 was so disappointing. Take out the posts related to podcasts and crowdfunding, or were audio or video grabs from my media appearances, or were a Weekly Wrap, are you’re left with just two.

  1. It’s time to turn around the Revenue Ship, and fast, 5 April. This was a reflection on the need to get some revenue happening. I probably should have paid more attention.
  2. Algorithms and the Filter Bubble references for 2015, 11 September. These were the notes for my lecture at University of Technology Sydney.

Obviously all my interesting writing is now elsewhere, at the mastheads that pay for it. But this fact has gotten me thinking. More on these thoughts soon.

ABC logoIt was a week for extended radio conversations about the darker side of the internet, it seems.

Not only did I speak about Anonymous on ABC 774 Melbourne, on Friday night I spoke about that ill-defined phenomenon known as the “dark web” on ABC 891 Adelaide with evening presenter Deb Tribe. And here is that conversation.

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This audio is ©2015 Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

ABC logoAnonymous was back in the news last week following their declaration of war against Islamic State, and the declaration of last Friday as a day of trolling against IS.

On Tuesday night, I spoke about the “organisation” and its history with ABC 774 Melbourne evening presenter Lindy Burns.

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The audio is ©2015 Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

Kinderling logoWhile I’d heard of Kinderling, I hadn’t really known what it was about — until this Wednesday, when I did a spot on this new digital radio station in Sydney.

Kinderling grew from the Australian independent music and arts community with a vision to create contemporary children’s radio that is grounded in Australian culture, society and natural habitat.

With over a decade of radio experience (and ten kids!) between them, the Kinderling team has developed a program schedule that soundtracks your day with kids.

The trigger for this conversation was of course this week’s news of the VTech hack and data breach. Here’s my 10-minute conversation with Kinderling Conversation presenter Shevonne Hunt.

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You can check to see if you were caught up in this data breach at Troy Hunt’s Have I Been Pwned.

The audio is ©2015 Kinderling. You can also listen at their website.

ABC logoFollowing last week’s news of the security issues relating to Wi-Fi Hello Barbie, the weekend saw the disclosure of a data breach at toymaker VTech which revealed the details of children and their parents.

I’ve just spoken about this with Emma Griffiths on ABC 612 Brisbane.

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If you think you might have been affected, search for your email addresses at Have I Been Pwned.

The audio is ©2015 Australian Broadcasting Corporation. I daresay I’ll be talking about this some more in the coming days.

Recording Future Tense narration in ABC Radio studio E46

ABC logoIt has been my very great pleasure this week to produce an entire episode of ABC Radio National’s Future Tense, titled Bug bounties and pentesting: the Wild West of online security.

Here’s how the ABC has introduced this documentary:

Online information security is estimated to be worth more than $75 billion annually. And that figure is certain to grow as more and more of our everyday devices are given internet connectivity.

So why are our cyber-networks still being hacked on an industrial scale? Despite all that we’ve learnt about online fraud and malicious attacks, why is the digital world still so fragile?

In this edition of Future Tense, technology writer and commentator Stilgherrian talks ‘bug bounties’ and ‘pentesting’ as he introduces us to those at the coal-face of the security challenge.

Here’s the full half-hour documentary, featuring Alastair MacGibbon, Children’s eSafety Commissioner for the Australian Government; Casey Ellis, founder and CEO of Bugcrowd; Associate Professor Asha Rao, information security expert from RMIT University; Fatemah Beydoun, Chief Awesome at Security Code Warrior and a former IT security auditor; Joe Franzi, Assistant Secretary, Cyber Security, Australian Signals Directorate; John McCormack, CEO of Raytheon|Websense; Nathaniel Wakelam, professional penetration tester/hacker; and a snippet from Alan Dupont, Professor of International Security at the University of New South Wales.

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The program is ©2015 Australian Broadcasting Corporation, and it’s served here directly from the ABC website, where you can also read a transcript.

Both the ABC and I are pleased with how this went, and I’ve been invited to pitch further story ideas in the new year.

[Photo: Recording my Future Tense narration in ABC Radio studio E46 in Sydney, on Monday 23 November 2015. This environment was overkill. I wasn’t using any of the studio gear, just my own Sennheiser e835 microphone, Zoom H6, and MacBook Pro — so basically the three items in the foreground — but I needed a proper quiet room.]

ABC logoThe news that a Wi-Fi enabled Hello Barbie doll had been released got plenty of media interest at the end of the working week, especially since the security and privacy risks weren’t just theoretical.

Hello Barbie was soon hacked.

I was interviewed by journalist Penny Timms about these security risks by ABC Radio’s national current affairs program PM.

The makers of one of the world’s most famous dolls are due to roll out their latest edition. Forget Malibu Barbie, because wifi Barbie could be on shelves by Christmas. The technology means the doll can hold conversations with her owner. But security experts warn there are serious flaws, with suggestions the technology has already been hacked.

Somehow I managed to include some paranoid ideas for using Hello Barbie for psychological warfare.

ABC News also posted a written story, which uses some different quotes. But here’s the radio story.

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The audio is ©2015 Australian Broadcasting Corporation. It’s being served from the ABC website, where you can also read a transcript.

Screenshot of Stilgherrian from Download This Show: click for podcast websiteABC logoWould you believe it’s been more than a year since the last time Marc Fennell invited me onto Download This Show? Well, it is.

Ironically, it seems like this week’s episode was designed specifically to troll me. We discussed TV (which I don’t watch) in the context of the new Apple TV, cars (which I don’t drive) in the context of hacking them, and weddings (which I’m not interested in). Still, Janet Carr and I had fun.

Here’s how the ABC website describes the episode:

Has Apple really reinvented the ole TV box? Also is your digital DAB radio the key to hackers accessing your car? More inside…

There’s a video of the Apple TV segment over the fold. If it doesn’t work for you here, watch it on YouTube.

Read the rest of this entry »

ABC logoThis evening I did one of my now (ir)regular spots on ABC 774 Melbourne, and since I’d been at Ruxcon over the weekend, that conference was an obvious topic.

Presenter Lindy Burns and I started off talking about the origins of the word “hacker”, and that led into a brief history of cybercrime, before we got into the so-called “dark web” and Silk Road… and even the risks of smart TVs.

Here’s the entire 23-minute conversation exactly as it aired — and as Ms Burns herself freely admits, it strayed well away from our planned topics.

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The audio is ©2015 Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

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