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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.

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 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.

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.

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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.

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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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