Talking infosec and bug bounties on ABC’s Future Tense

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.

Play

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.]

Weekly Wrap 92: Rosella invasion!

My usual weekly summary of what I’ve been doing elsewhere on the internets. This post covers the week from Monday 5 to Sunday 11 March 2012.

Podcasts

  • Patch Monday episode 128, “Cybercrime and the Russian mob”. Stephen McCombie, lecturer at the Centre for Policing, Intelligence and Counter Terrorism at Macquarie University, explains why Eastern Europe is the perfect breeding-ground for online crime. And Chris Gatford, proprietor of Hacklabs, says that organisations’ networks are showing the same vulnerabilities as a decade ago. We’re not learning. And the payment card industry data security standard (PCI DSS) has failed us too.

Articles

Media Appearances

Corporate Largesse

  • On Monday, RSA paid for lunch at The Summit Restaurant. From the rather lovely menu I selected the campechana of ocean trout, school prawns, Pacific oyster and crab in a wet tomato lime ceviche, followed by the dry aged Angus beef cheek and loin noisettes with Jerusalem artichoke, grapes and majoram — along with some of the double cream and butter mashed potato, and the crisp garden leaves and cress salad with chardonnay dressing. I forgot to write down what the wines were, sorry, but I can show you the view in directions one, two and three.
  • Also on Monday, I had coffee with Brad Arkin from Adobe, and they paid. I didn’t see the need to take a photograph.

Elsewhere

Most of my day-to-day observations are on my high-volume Twitter stream, and random photos and other observations turn up on my Posterous stream (or they used to before my phone camera got a bit too scratched up). The photos also appear on Flickr, where I eventually add geolocation data and tags.

[Photo: Rosella in da House. Technically this is being posted in the wrong week because it’s from 4 March, but it accurately summarises the mood of this week I think. Some of the local avian wildlife at Bunjaree Cottages has started to get a little more friendly.]

Visiting Canberra for eCrime Symposium

I’m off to Canberra for a few days next week to cover the 3rd Annual eCrime Symposium, which this year is a two-day event at the University of Canberra.

This event has been steadily growing since it was kicked off by former Australian Federal Police chaps Alastair MacGibbon and Nigel Phair two years ago. On that occasion I filed a story for Crikey, eCrime: the bad guys pwn the internet.

Last year I don’t seem to have filed a written story — I was writing abut the National Broadband Network instead — but I did chat with the FBI’s Will Blevins for a podcast, Cybercrime: the FBI’s worldview.

Those first two events were run under the rubric of the Surete Group, but now Messrs MacGibbon and Phair have formed the Centre for Internet Safety, part of the law school at the University of Canberra, and it’s all rather more special.

This year I’ll be filing for CSO Online. I’m arriving in Canberra on Monday evening 7 November, and will stay in town until just before lunchtime on Thursday 10 November.

[Update 12 November 2011: The articles I wrote about this conference are listed at Weekly Wrap 75: eCrime, Canberra and a dead computer.]

Alastair MacGibbon on the Cyber Crime report

While I’ve already given my opinion of the federal parliament’s Cyber Crime report, why not listen to an actual expert opinion?

Last night I spoke with Alastair MacGibbon (pictured) for today’s Patch Monday podcast. We recorded way too much material for the podcast, so here’s the full conversation.

MacGibbon was the founding Director of the Australian High Tech Crime Centre, was with the Australian Federal Police for 15 years, he graduated from the FBI’s National Academy in the US, was Head of Trust, Safety & Customer Support for eBay Asia Pacific for four years — in short, he knows his way around this stuff.

We talk through some of the recommendations of the report Hackers, Fraudsters and Botnets: Tackling the Problem of Cyber Crime released last Monday — including MacGibbon’s own somewhat controversial view that we should actively block people’s computers from accessing the internet if their security software isn’t up to scratch.

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[Photo: Alastair MacGibbon speaking at the recent Intelligence Squared debate, Governments should not censor the internet, in a frame grab taken from the ABC TV broadcast.]