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ABC logoThe Ashley Madison hack returned to the news this week, because the 30-day deadline given by Impact Team, the hacker(s) who claimed responsibility, expired, and the site’s data started being dumped onto the internet.

While I’d spoken about this before on ABC 936 Hobart, this week I spoke about the then-latest developments on Friday with ABC Gold Coast. Here’s the full conversation with morning presenter Nicole Dyer.

The site I mentioned at the end, where you can check whether your email address appears in the Ashley Madison data dump, or in many of the larger data breaches of recent years, is haveibeenpwned.com, run by Australian security researcher Troy Hunt. Use it.

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The audio is of course ©2015 Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

Screenshot of Stilgherrian on Lateline: click for video and transcriptIt was my very great pleasure to talk about hacking and the impending security disaster that is the Internet of Things (IoT) on ABC TV’s Lateline last night — and don’t I look concerned.

Also joining the program was security researcher Runa Sandvik, who got plenty of media recently for hacking a smart sniper rifle.

I won’t go into too many details here, because you can see the video and transcript at the Lateline website. For the next month or so, you can also watch it in HD on iView.

However, this exchange surprised me:

STILGHERRIAN: … Scarier though is what’s happening with smart TVs. There are millions of those around the world. They’re networked, so you can watch clips from YouTube or whatever on them or Netflix or any of the streaming services, and yet I’ve seen a young hacker from South Korea not only hack a smart TV, hack it in 10 different ways and set it up so that the camera and microphone in the TV are streaming live video and sound out to the internet while the television looks like it’s turned off. These are televisions that are being installed over the last few years and more in the future in hotel bedrooms, classrooms, corporate boardrooms. So they’re kind of like an always-on surveillance device.

JOHN BARRON: I guess, Runa, the question then occurs: well, who would want to do this? Who would want to hack into somebody’s TV set in suburban Australia or the United States? The answer would probably be: well, nobody. But why would somebody want to do this?

RUNA SANDVIK: There’s a mix. There’s definitely people that are doing this for sort of evil purposes, if you will, or to make money, and there are people that do it just because they can, because it’s there, it’s a possibility, it’s not as secure as it should be and they do it just to show that they can.

Personally, I’d have thought that the security risks of peering into people’s homes would have been obvious, but the questions moved on before I could point out the attraction to both pilferers and perverts.

Anyway, you can also read my thoughts on this in my December 2014 column, All aboard the internet of things infosec hype train, and its January 2014 predecessor, Our hackers, who art in open source, deliver us from refrigerators.

FIVEaa logoThe (relatively) new Australian Cyber Security Centre (ACSC) released its first-ever unclassified threat report yesterday, but as I wrote at ZDNet, I was disappointed.

The report (PDF) has dropped, and indeed it contains few surprises. It tells the now-familiar story of serious and organised criminals, foreign state-sponsored actors, and other “cyber adversaries”, all of whom are getting better at what they do.

“The cyber threat to Australian organisations is undeniable, unrelenting and continues to grow. If an organisation is connected to the internet, it is vulnerable. The incidents in the public eye are just the tip of the iceberg,” begins the report’s foreword.

“Cyber adversaries are aggressive and persistent in their efforts to compromise Australian networks and information. They are constantly improving their tradecraft in an attempt to defeat our network defences and exploit new technologies,” it says later.

“Australia is an innovative country with a globally important resources sector. We are a regional leader with global interests and important partnerships. This makes Australia a target-rich environment for cyber adversaries.”

All of which is true, of course, but all of which has been said so many times before.

I spoke about the report today with Will Goodings on 1395 FIVEaa Adelaide — with somewhat less disappointment in my voice.

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The audio is ©2015 Nova Entertainment.

ABC logoThe information security news story of the week was, of course, the data breach at “affairs” and “cheaters” website Ashley Madison, something first reported by journalist Brian Krebs.

I spoke about this data breach in a couple of radio spots — I’m reluctant to call it a
“hack” until we have some evidence that a hack was involved, as opposed to some internal problem — but I reckon the first was the best.

Here’s that conversation, a 13-minute chat from Tuesday morning with ABC 936 Hobart morning presenter Leon Compton. Enjoy.

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The audio is of course ©2015 Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

FIVEaa logoThis week Apple launched its Apple Pay service in the UK, the second market after the US, which meant it and other new payment systems blipped up in the news.

On Thursday I spoke about Apple Pay with Will Goodings on 1395 FIVEaa in Adelaide. He was bouncing off a story in the Australian Financial Review, Why Australia’s banks are still well placed to fend off Apple Pay.

After speaking with me, he spoke with Chris Hamilton, CEO of the Australian Payments Clearing Association — and that’s in the recording too, because it’s interesting stuff.

I was also going to mention the forthcoming Samsung Pay, because ZDNet reviewed the beta rollout in South Korea, but we didn’t get to that.

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The audio is ©2015 Nova Entertainment.

ABC logoIt would be unfair to say that Randi Zuckerberg is only important because her brother is Mark Zuckerberg, founder of Facebook. She already had her own media career. Nevertheless…

Ms Zuckerberg spoke at the Asia Pacific Cities Summit in Brisbane on Wednesday, and if The Australian‘s report on Thursday is an accurate rendition, it must’ve been a disjointed jumble of ideas.

Chief amongst them was the idea of a “digital detox”, something which I’ve spoken about before. That topic caught the eye of the team at ABC 891 Adelaide, and I ended up speaking about it with Peter Goers. He normally presents the evening program, but this week he was filling in on mornings.

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The audio is of course ©2015 Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

ABC logoOn Tuesday night I spoke about the state of the art of targeted advertising on ABC Local Radio across NSW.

Presenter Dom Knight ended up talking with me for 25 minutes, covering the issues I wrote about for Crikey in Every step you take: how advertisers are monitoring your every move, plus The Atlantic’s story on how Facebook tracks the spread of political symbols.

I neglected to record the segment off the live steam, but I’ve obtained a recording made off-air. So rather than the full studio sound, you’ll hear the glory that is AM radio, with hiss and crackle and all that stuff. If a better-quality recording turns up, I’ll update this page.

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The audio is of course ©2015 Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

ABC logoAs expected, last night the Australian parliament passed new laws enabling copyright-holders to take out Federal Court injunctions requiring internet service providers to block access to overseas websites that host infringing material.

Actually, as Andrew Colley wrote at CSO Online Australia, copyright-holders have to prove that the site’s “primary purpose” is to “facilitate” copyright infringement. His story outlines The Greens’ argument that the bar should be higher, requiring “flagrant” conduct.

Over at ZDNet, Josh Taylor wrote an excellent backgrounder, Village Roadshow’s long fury road to blocking piracy sites. Not a “furry road”, please note. That would be something slightly different.

This afternoon I spoke about some of these issues with afternoon presenter Lorna Perry at ABC 105.7 Darwin, and here’s that 11-minute convesation.

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The audio is ©2015 Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

ABC logoHundreds of millions of Samsung smartphones have a serious security vulnerability. The company has known about it since December, but hasn’t done anything about it. I spoke about this on ABC Radio’s The World Today on Thursday.

A software bug is making around 600 million Samsung mobile phones around the world vulnerable to attack. The bug in the phone’s keyboard software could allow hackers to read text messages and to view and take photos. It was found by a US computer security company which informed Samsung late last year.

If you want the technical details, read the Ars Technica story, New exploit turns Samsung Galaxy phones into remote bugging devices.

Here’s the three-and-a-half minute radio story. There’s also a transcript, and a written news story, Samsung phones vulnerable to cyber attacks because of software bug.

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The audio is ©2015 Australian Broadcasting Corporation, and it’s being served here directly from the ABC website.

Since this report aired, Samsung has said that it will fix this vulnerability, but not all Samsung smartphone owners will receive the fix immediately.

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