Flame gets me talking cyberwar worms on The Project

The Flame worm seems to have captured the imagination of the mainstream media this week — to the point where I ended up talking about it on the Channel TEN program The Project on Tuesday night.

If you’re not up to speed yet, try my day one piece for Crikey then my day two piece for CSO Online — the latter having been written after we’d all calmed down a bit.

As you can see, I’ve uploaded the relevant video clip to YouTube because I can’t seem to get the official embed code from The Project’s website to work properly. If that YouTube embed isn’t working either, you can view the segment on YouTube. Or watch the entire program segment on The Project’s website.

Yes, The Project team really did manage to turn a discussion of cyberwar into a joke about masturbating to internet pornography. It’s a talent.

My thanks must go to Channel TEN Sydney for providing me with a clean shirt to wear, and with lighting that didn’t make me look too bad even though I hadn’t shaved and wasn’t wearing any makeup.

That’s a poor-quality screenshot on the right, created by pointing screen-capture software at the video being streamed from The Project website, then stepping through the resulting movie one frame at a time until I found one that didn’t make me look like too much of a goose.

But if you think it looks like I’m joining the Melbourne-based program from a slick TV studio in Sydney, think again.

The green screen is your friend.

This is the actual booth, just off the master control room, from which I joined the program.

An ordinary office chair in front of a green screen. I listened to the program presenters through an earpiece. I could not see them. Instead, I just looked straight down the barrel of a TV camera.

Ah, the magic of television…

Overall, I think I managed to follow the segment producer’s final instructions: relax and have fun. I think I got the tone right for the program. But what do you think?

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6 comments

  1. BernieTB’s avatar

    Excellent attempt to talk about a subject with at least some gravitas. Too bad they’re more interested in making the “masturbating for your webcam” jokes, but that’s modern populist media, I guess. If there’s no punchline, they’re not interested.

  2. Stilgherrian’s avatar

    @BernieTB: Thanks for the feedback. On the punchline thing, well, I reckon that cyberwar wouldn’t get in front of The Project audience at all unless it was wrapped in a joke. Isn’t there some research that says the young’uns get more news from comedy and satire programs than from news programs?

  3. peterhau’s avatar

    The Young’uns will probably get cyberwar when it effects them, their social media sites or skype. I took the time to tune in to watch your discussion – It was the only reason for watching.

    Most of the focus the project takes away by jokes and satire dilutes the underlying problem, which is that there is a cyberwar going on and that viewers need to be aware and diligent of their own security measures.

    Unfortunately, most see security as they might an insurance policy – you don’t notice it isn’t there until it isn’t, and your information is scattered across the internet.

  4. Stilgherrian’s avatar

    @peterhau: It’ll be interesting to see how this “cyber” (I know, I know) Cold War unfolds. And yes, I’ve had enough people in infosec that I respect confirming that “cold war” is an appropriate term that I’m happy to use it myself.

  5. Ian Kath’s avatar

    It always amazes me how polite you are on the Teev.

    Instead of the foul mouthed, vitriol driven hell-fire you throw out on the 9pm Project or on Twitter. You come across as a totally reasonable tech journo, much like everyone’s charming, fun loving uncle.
    When you’re ready to leave that old media world, it would be a sight for all of us to see you let loose with what you really think, in the most violent mainstream media assassination you can come up with and your own seppuku, leaving the stations quaking at what happened.

  6. Stilgherrian’s avatar

    @Ian Kath: Oh, you shouldn’t be surprised at all! It’s just the basic media etiquette — or the job, really — of matching your writing or performance style to the audience and the context.

    On ABC TV’s Lateline it’s serious and about the political implications. On The Project it’s about fun but a 6pm timeslot, so it’s masturbation but mindful that you can’t say that with children watching. And The 9pm Edict is my own project under my own masthead.

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