My fortnight of Monday 28 January to Sunday 10 February 2019 was a mixed bag. The hot weather knocked me around a bit, and so did the lack of news, but hey these things happen sometimes.Continue reading “Weekly Wrap 454: Gently sliding back into work”
The first of these articles is the final one related to the launch by foreign minister Julie Bishop of Australia’s first International Cyber Engagement Strategy. See last week’s wrap for the first two.
- Cyber attribution isn’t so important, even for nation states, ZDNet Australia, 9 October 2017.
On Tuesday, the Australian Cyber Security Centre (ACSC) released its 2017 Threat Report. The next day, at the national conference of the Australian Information Security Association (AISA), an Australian Defence Signals (ASD) officer told us more about an incident in that ACSC report.
- ACSC Threat Report highlights deplorable ignorance, ZDNet Australia, 10 October 2017. The ignorance of the media and politicians, that is.
- Secret F-35, P-8, C-130 data stolen in Australian defence contractor hack, ZDNet Australia, 11 October 2017. This is the story that exploded, introducing the world to APT ALF, and Alf’s Mystery Happy Fun Time.
- Blaming government for defence contractor’s lax cybersecurity ‘a stretch’: Pyne, ZDNet Australia, 12 October 2017. If you read this column, you’ll see that I disagree with Minister Pyne’ view.
None by me, but…
Then the world decided to follow up my story on that Australian defence industry data breach.
It began in Australia and expanded from there, with stories in the Sydney Morning Herald (in the front page!); The Australian; ABC News; the Guardian; News.com.au; BuzzFeed; The Express in the UK; Voice of America; RT; Arab Times in Kuwait; via AAP to outlets including Sky News Australia; and via Reuters to others. If I tried to find them all, and link to them all, I’d be here all night.
To quote ZDNet security editor Zack Whittaker in New York, it ran everywhere — and to be honest, that surprised me. I’ve covered cybersecurity, as we call it now, for a few years. This is a pretty ordinary event. It just happened to combine “mystery hacker”, with the controversial F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, with the authority of an ASD officer.
On Thursday, I did media appearances on ABC News24; ABC Radio’s The World Today; ABC TV’s 7.30; and Channel Ten’s The Project. On Friday, I appeared on BBC World’s Newsday.
I can’t possible list all of the follow-ups, but here’s a few that I’d like to mention:
- Oz military megahack: When crappy defence contractor cybersecurity ‘isn’t uncommon’, surely alarm bells ring?, by Richard Chirgwin at The Register.
- Australian defense firm was hacked and F-35 data stolen, DOD confirms, by Sean Gallagher at Ars Technica, confirming the breach from the American end of the supply chain.
- ASD disclosure is a good thing, by James Riley at InnovationAus.com. It’s a point I agree with.
The story also morphed as it was re-reported, sometimes drastically changing the meaning of the event. One publication, which I won’t name, even reported that the ASD had been hacked, at least until I contacted them. I hope to find the time to write up that evolution, but for now here’s a few tweets.
- On Wednesday, there was food and drink at the AISA National Conference, which was held at the Hyatt Regency Sydney. Hivint offered a beer. I accepted. It was nice. Telstra gave me a t-shirt.
The Week Ahead, and Further Ahead
I’ll play it by ear. At this stage, there’s nothing special through to the end of the year, so now is your chance to fix that.
[Photo: Mountain Life, with Fog, The entry road to the Carrington Hotel, Katoomba, photographed through the evening fog on 10 October 2017.]
I’ll just get on with the facts.
- Who’s afraid of WhatsApp?, ZDNet Australia, 18 October 2016.
- There isn’t a cybersecurity skills gap: Rik Ferguson, ZDNet Australia, 20 October 2016.
- GCHQ tech leader’s plan to secure an entire country, ZDNet Australia, 21 October 2016.
None, but see the next item.
- On Sunday, I was part of the panel discussion that closed the Ruxcon information security conference. I recorded it, and it will soon appear as a Corrupted Nerds podcast.
- Tuesday through Thursday I was covering the Australian Information Security Association (AISA) national conference. There was food and drink.
[Photo: Bus Stop Skink, photographed at a bus stop in Lilyfield in Sydney’s inner west on 19 October 2016.]
- ACSC Threat Report: The real messages, ZDNet Australia, 13 October 2016.
- My pathetic joke tweet about Samsung was included in a News Corporation story that they used globally, including in The Sun.
Podcasts, Corporate Largesse
None. But in the coming week…
The Week Ahead
Monday and Tuesday are about planning, research, and errands. Monday’s errand is to Parramatta, Tuesday’s to Hornsby. There’s a slight chance I’ll get that episode of The 9pm Edict podcast recorded, but don’t hold your breath.
And then it’s all the cybers…
On Wednesday and Thursday I’m covering the AISA National Conference in Sydney. On Friday it’s a medical appointment before flying to Melbourne. Then on Saturday and Sunday I’m covering the Ruxcon Security Conference, where I’m also on the closing panel.
I’ll be in Melbourne through to 30 October. One important event is on the evening of Wednesday 29 October, when I’m MCing a panel for La Trobe University, Big Data and Cybersecurity: Are We Ready?.
And the rest? I’ve created a new calendar page, Stilgherrian in Public, updated automatically from the calendar on my laptop.
[Photo: Sydney Harbour Bridge and its southern approaches , photographed on 30 October 2012.]
Apart from generating three quite adequate articles, and recording plenty of audio for future projects, I also made some excellent contacts at the Australian Information Security Association (AISA) National Conference and elsewhere, and certain geekery went pretty much to plan.
I was especially pleased that the Pozible campaign Send Stilgherrian To Ruxcon 2015 was fully funded. I’ll have more to say about that on Monday.
- Wyatt Roy’s Policy Hack is already becoming a joke, ZDNet Australia, 12 October 2015.
- Australia’s Children’s eSafety Commissioner wants a great human firewall, ZDNet Australia, 14 October 2015.
- Welcome to Brandistan, home of wobbly data retention, ZDNet Australia, 16 October 2015. This contains more than a bit of sarcasm, and was a lot of fun to write.
I also recorded an interview with Joe Franzi, Assistant Secretary Cyber Security with the Australian Signals Directorate (ASD), Australia’s equivalent to the US National Security Agency (NSA). It’s the first recorded interview he’s ever done in that role, and it’ll turn into an article for ZDNet on Monday. The full audio will appear in due course. Stand by.
None, but a new episode of The 9pm Edict will appear on Tuesday.
I’ve also been commissioned to produce an episode of ABC Radio National’s Future Tense, which will appear in late November.
- On Friday, I was interviewed for a story looking at the future of technology for ABC Online, which will appear some time in the coming week.
There’s still nothing from 5at5, and that continues to be terrible. Why not subscribe so you’ll get all the future ones when they eventually appear?
- The AISA conference obviously included plenty of free food and drink.
- My travel and accommodation for that Melbourne trip was covered by Tanium.
- Michael McKinnon, social media and security awareness director with AVG Technologies AU Pty Ltd, was generous with the hospitality too.
The Week Ahead
It’s another busy week ahead. On Monday, I’m dealing with administrative loose ends, and at 1600 AEDT being a guest for the recording of Mark Pesce’s podcast TWISTA – This Week in Startups Australia, before finally returning to the Blue Mountains .
Tuesday , I’m doing the shopping in Katoomba, and wrapping up another episode of The 9pm Edict. . Wednesday is a day off.
I’m writing for ZDNet, before heading into Sydney for the evening. , I’ll waste much of the day tying up idioti lcoose ends.
Friday starts early, . The rest of the day will be spent
catching up with various people, and doing some location scouting , before some sort of drinks and dinner thing with a few people.
On Monday and Tuesday 26-27 October, I’ll still be in Melbourne doing various things. That includes a Monday night radio spot on ABC 774 Melbourne at 1930 AEDT.
Update 19 October 2015: Edited to reflect a change of plans. Update 20 October 2015: Edited to reflect further change to the plan. Update 25 October 2015: Edited once more to reflect continuing change.
[Photo: Lumpy Weather, photographed from seat 29A of VA830 on 13 October 2015.]
I launched Send Stilgherrian to Ruxcon 2015, a Pozible crowdfunding campaign with an obvious aim. As I write this, it’s already reached 29% of its initial target, which is promising.
On the health front, the broken tooth was repaired again. As for my shoulder, the X-rays and ultrasound imagery taken last week showed no permanent damage or signs of specific problems. It’s “just” strained muscles and tendons, and all that’s needed is rest. It does seem to be getting better, albeit very slowly.
- US-China agreement is cyberpeace for our time, in public anyway, ZDNet Australia, 30 September 2015.
I got most of an episode of The 9pm Edict recorded, but was too tired to complete it on Sunday night. Stand by.
- On Wednesday, I spoke about Facebook hoaxes on ABC 105.7 Darwin, but I didn’t record it.
- Also on Wednesday, I spoke about Bitcoin and tractor square dancing on ABC 774 Melbourne and stations around Victoria, but I didn’t record that either.
- On Thursday, I spoke about my crowdfunding efforts on ABC Radio National’s Media Report.
There were no editions of 5at5 at all, and that’s terrible. Why not subscribe so you’ll get all the future ones?
Having migrated the final batch of a long-standing client’s websites to new virtualised infrastructure, I finally shut down my remaining hard-iron Linux server, a leased machine somewhere in a rack in San Francisco. Typing
halt for the last time also ended my business relationship with ServePath, which later became GoGrid, and which was recently acquired by and absorbed into Datapipe. I’ll miss the excellent support their engineers have provided over the years.
Meanwhile, I’ve picked up a quick little job: building what is in essence a paywall for the website of the literary magazine Meanjin, so they can start selling digital subscriptions.
The Week Ahead
Once more, most of this week is over. It’s already the end of Thursday! But there’s still plenty of things to do…
On Friday, it’s the long train commute to Sydney for a lunchtime briefing on smart cities and the Internet of Things with Alcatel-Lucent’s expert on such things, Marc Jadoul. I’ll knock off some errands while I’m down there, and certain SEKRIT planning on the train.
On the weekend — note that I’m not predicting a specific day for each item — I’ll finish that episode of The 9pm Edict, finish the video of my UTS lecture, do some audio equipment tests, and do the preparatory work for Meanjin.
The week beginning Monday 12 October will be a hectic one. Monday is the calm before the storm, when I’ll collect my thoughts and prepare myself.
On Tuesday, I fly to Melbourne, sneaking in a quick work session at Meanjin in the afternoon, before a reception kicks off the Australian Information Security Association (AISA) National Conference. I’m covering that for ZDNet, as well as recording material for my own Corrupted Nerds podcast. My thanks got to security vendor Tanium for covering my costs.
On Friday, I’ll be writing for ZDNet before flying back to Sydney. Some time on the weekend, I’ll produce another episode of The 9pm Edict.
The week starting… no, I’ll tell you about that next time.
[Photo: Waratah in bloom at Bunjaree Cottages, photographed on 8 October 2015. This waratah flower is slightly past its peak, but the intensity of its colour still manages to dominate the camera’s sensors.]