Talking SIM cards, spooks and hacks on 2UE

2UE logoThe second radio spot I did on The Great SIM Heist — or perhaps I should say the claimed heist, or even the alleged heist — was for the Sydney talk radio station 2UE on Tuesday afternoon.

I won’t repeat all the background. See my previous post for that. But I will say that it’s always interesting to hear the different questions asked and concerns raised by different presenters. And of course my responses differ in content and style to match the style of the program and the radio station.

Here’s the full seven-minute chat with drive presenter Justin Smith. At the end, we seem to have invented a new regular segment. And at least this time I pronounced Gemalto correctly.

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This audio is ©2015 Radio 2UE Sydney Pty Ltd.

Talking SIM cards, spooks and hacks on The World Today

ABC logoOn Friday, The Intercept published some astounding claims under the headline The Great SIM Heist: How spies stole the keys to the encryption castle. The story claims that Five Eyes spooks had achieved a major breakthrough in their ability to monitor mobile communications.

American and British spies hacked into the internal computer network of the largest manufacturer of SIM cards in the world, stealing encryption keys used to protect the privacy of cellphone communications across the globe, according to top-secret documents provided to The Intercept by National Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden…

With these stolen encryption keys, intelligence agencies can monitor mobile communications without seeking or receiving approval from telecom companies and foreign governments. Possessing the keys also sidesteps the need to get a warrant or a wiretap, while leaving no trace on the wireless provider’s network that the communications were intercepted. Bulk key theft additionally enables the intelligence agencies to unlock any previously encrypted communications they had already intercepted, but did not yet have the ability to decrypt.

The company in question is Gemalto. With headquarters in Amsterdam, and 28 “personalisation facilities” around the world that burn the encryption keys into SIM cards, it has nearly 30% of the market — making it an obvious target for spooks.

The story started to filter through to the mainstream media on Monday in the US, or Tuesday Australian time, and I’ve already done two radio spots on the topic — and doubtless there’ll be more to come.

The first spot was an interview for ABC Radio, and parts of it ended up in this report on The World Today.

[The three Australian mobile network operators] Telstra, Vodafone and Optus have all confirmed that Gemalto has supplied their SIM cards. Sarah Sedghi reports.

This is the full five-minute report.

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

Talking propaganda hacks on 2UE

2UE logoThis was the week that the Australian media returned from holidays. What caught the eye, or ear, of Justin Smith on Sydney’s radio 2UE on Tuesday afternoon was the series of hacks and planned hacks for political purposes.

Someone had hacked the Twitter and YouTube accounts of US Central Command (CENTCOM) — although it probably wasn’t Islamic State. And Anonymous, or at least their French-speaking sections, announced that they were declaring war on the jihadists.

I’m posting the audio stream even though it suffers some dropouts. I’m assuming this was just the stream back to me, rather than the broadcast chain, because we continued on air regardless.

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This audio is ©2015 Radio 2UE Sydney Pty Ltd.

Talking Regin spyware on ABC The World Today

ABC logoComment on current affairs programs happens in the most random ways. Last Tuesday I did a quick comment on the newly-revealed Regin spyware from a park bench in Sydney — a quick break while dashing between Wynward railway station and lunch.

Now at the time of doing this piece for ABC Radio’s The World Today, I’d read the report in The Intercept, and a couple of mainstream news stories that had bounced off that, but I hadn’t read either of the white papers from Symantec (PDF) or Kaspersky Lab (PDF).

For an initial comment on mainstream radio that was probably enough of an orientation, but with the benefit of hindsight a few days later, well, I might have put things slightly differently.

The journalist is Liv Casben.

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The audio is ©2014 Australian Broadcasting Corporation, and it’s served here directly from the ABC website where you’ll also find a transcript.

Visiting Canberra to hear Eugene Kaspersky

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.

[soundcloud url=”https://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/115103814″ width=”100%” height=”166″ iframe=”true” /]

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.]