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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.


The audio is ©2015 Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

ABC logoOne of the more amusing information security stories last week was the news that CIA director John Brennan’s personal email account at AOL had been taken over by a couple of young hackers.

I ended up providing a few comments on ABC Radio’s PM on Thursday.

It’s a situation that would be deeply embarrassing for any CEO but for the director of the CIA to have his private email account accessed by hackers is beyond humiliating. Leaked emails appear to discuss the use of torture and to contain extensive details of the CIA chief’s private life. The CIA has condemned the hack as a crime, saying the hacked email was a family account. PM has obtained an interview with two people who claim to be the hackers. Sarah Dingle reports.

Here’s the entire 4-minute radio story.


The audio is ©2015 Australian Broadcasting Corporation, and is being served directly from the program website, where there’s also a transcript.

The Pozible crowdfunding campaign “Send Stilgherrian to Ruxcon 2015” has been successfully funded. See you in Melbourne next weekend.

16 October 2015 by Stilgherrian | No comments

ABC logoAs the working week came to a close on Friday, news was spreading that Australia’s new PM Malcolm Turnbull has been using a “private” email address for some of his official communications — a situation, it was said, was similar to that of Hillary Clinton when she was US Secretary of State.

It’s not quite the same. Clinton’s people had rolled their own email service, whereas Turnbull had used a commercially-available service — it looks like it was Microsoft’s Outlook.com as resold by NetRegistry. But the concerns were the same. Was it secure? And was it being properly archived as required by law?

Don’t assume government email is more secure than private email, Turnbull said. But the archive question never seemed to get as much traction.

I spoke about some of these issues on ABC 720 Perth with Jamie Burnett.


This audio is ©2015 Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

I’m re-launching Corrupted Nerds, my podcast about “information, power, security and all the cybers in a global internet revolution that’s changing… everything.”

And to kick things off, today I launched a crowdfunding campaign to take the podcast to Ruxcon 2015, one of Australia’s key information security conferences, which is being held in Melbourne on 24–25 October 2015.

[Update 16 October 2015: The campaign closed last night, and was successfully funded. Thank you.]

Screenshot of completed Pozible campaign: click for campaign web page

There’s plenty of information on the Pozible campaign page. I should mention, though, that the initial $2000 target just gets me to Melbourne and puts a roof over my head. We need to go beyond that to fund some production.

If there’s something you think should be explained better, or if you have a suggestion, please let me know.

Bonus link: Today, ABC Radio National’s Media Report broadcast an interview with me about my crowdfunding work, Crowdfunding journalism.

Stilgherrian speaks during the ACCAN conference debate“Will the latest wave of digital disruptors liberate consumers from monopolies or shackle them to new ones?” asked the Australian Communications Consumers Action Network (ACCAN) in the program notes for the somewhat amusing debate which ended their annual conference back on 2 September.

I was on one of the debate teams. Guess which side.

Well, the affirmative team was Daniel Duggan, head of mobile for Yatango; Brad Kitsche, Uber’s director of public policy for the Oceania region; and Brendan Coady from Maddocks Lawyers.

So yeah, I was the final speaker on the negative team, following David Vaile, executive director of the Cyberspace Law and Policy Centre at the University of NSW; and Katina Michael, associate professor in the Faculty of Engineering and Information Sciences at the University of Wollongong.

And we won.

The video over the fold has the entire thing, except for the first few words by our moderator, Delia Rickard, dDeputy chair of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC).

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UTS logoThis morning I delivered version six of my now-regular guest lecture to media students at the University of Technology Sydney (UTS), “Algorithms and the Filter Bubble”. Here are the references and further reading.

The links over the fold start off with some background material that sets out my worldview, and then things are in roughly the same order as presented in the lecture — with the order becoming less coherent further down the page. There’s more material linked here than I mentioned in the lecture itself. Enjoy.

A recording of the lecture will be made available in roughly one week on Wednesday 23 September on Friday 25 September, as the change in Prime Minister has triggered the demand for some of my commentary. This page may be updated with further links at that time.

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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.


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.


The audio is of course ©2015 Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

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