Weekly Wrap 102: Infosec and interference

My week from Monday 14 to Sunday 20 May 2012 was mostly about the AusCERT information security conference and a blur of returning pain thanks to my dodgy shoulder.

As I finish compiling this post, I’ve still got lots of AusCERT material to produce and Monday looks like being intense. So let’s just list everything and see what happens.

Podcasts

  • Patch Monday episode 138, “Anonymous ‘crippled’: where to for hacktivism?”. Following last week’s conversation with Israeli information security researcher Tal Be’ery about hacktivists’ tactics, I spoke with former journalist and commentator Barrett Brown, who has worked with Anonymous for about a year and a half. He discusses Anonymous’ position in the wake of revelations that Sabu, a core member and informal leader of the offshoot hacking group LulzSec, had become an FBI informant.

Articles

These are just the first two articles from my AusCERT coverage. More will follow.

Videos

Media Appearances

Corporate Largesse

  • AusCERT 2012 conference organisers and sponsors paid for various meals and drinks, but I didn’t keep track of that. While that means I can’t disclose who paid, it also means I can’t be influenced because I can’t remember who’s meant to be doing the influencing. Complete market failure, that.

The Week Ahead

There’s a couple of days of intense writing and production ahead. At the very least there’s two or three articles about AusCERT 2012 and the Patch Monday podcast. Then there’s a piece to do for CSO Online, and one for Technology Spectator.

I should be returning to Wentworth Falls this evening, but I plan to be back on Wednesday night to go to a paintball session with Eugene Kaspersky and other journalists. That could be weird. And I’ll probably be in Sydney again at the end of the week, but that hasn’t been planned out yet.

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) and via Instagram. The photos also appear on Flickr, where I eventually add geolocation data and tags. Yes, I should probably update this stock paragraph to match the current reality.

[Photo: Airbus A320-232 VH-VGY at Gold Coast airport, the aircraft I traveled in on Saturday. Check out the complete history of VH-VGY at FlightAware.]

[Update 26 May 2012: Links added to last weekend’s audio recordings, added earlier today as separate blog posts. Update 3 June 2012: Link added to Tom Davey’s radio report.]

Weekly Wrap 101: Codeine and counter-surveillance

My week from Monday 7 to Sunday 13 May 2012 was less productive than it might have been thanks to my shoulder being “out” for a few days, resulting in severe pain. No, I don’t mean I have a gay shoulder. I mean that a rib wasn’t seated properly.

The shoulder was repaired on Wednesday and is now slowly getting better, thank you. But despite the pain and the codeine haze, I did get a little work done.

Podcasts

  • Patch Monday episode 137, “Removing the anonymity from Anonymous”. A conversation about the tactics of Anonymous, LulzSec and other hacktivists with Israeli information security researcher Tal Be’ery, web security research team leader at Imperva’s Application Defense Center (ADC), where he leads efforts to capture and analyse hacking data.

Articles

Media Appearances

Corporate Largesse

None.

The Week Ahead

The current plan? A day of writing at Wentworth Falls on Monday. A day of travelling on Tuesday, taking the train to Sydney and then flying to the Gold Coast. Once there I’ll be covering the AusCERT 2012 information security conference for ZDNet Australia, flying back to Sydney on Saturday afternoon.

On Sunday afternoon I’m speaking about the total surveillance society at the Sydney Writers Festival.

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. Yes, I should probably update this stock paragraph to match the current reality.

[Photo: Fuckin' art, innit, taken at the Hotel InterContinental, Sydney, on Saturday 12 May 2012.]

Talking hacking and irrational actors in Redfern

The Recordkeeping Roundtable panel “Freedom of Information?” held on 29 February was recorded, and here’s the audio.

The promo, as I told you earlier said:

In a connected world where information sharing is easier and has more impact than ever before, is the current framework of FOI, information security, privacy and archives laws and practices delivering the information society needs in a timely and appropriate way? This panel discussion will be about:

  • assessing the effectiveness of current information access and security laws and methods — are they hopelessly broken?
  • the culture of secrecy and withholding by government agencies
  • how technology and activism offer those with the skills and motivation some alternative and very powerful ways to access and reveal information, and
  • what can be done to address the current state of things and move to better ways of making information available when and where it’s needed.

I was the first speaker, talking about the new, disorderly ways of liberating information, using the Anonymous crack of Stratfor as an example. Since then, though, we’ve discovered that the whole thing might have been an FBI sting operation against WikiLeaks!

Recordkeeping Roundtable has posted the audio of the entire event: opening remarks by moderator Cassie Findlay; me; the speech by former diplomat Dr Philip Dorling, who now leads the journalistic pack in FOI stuff; the speech by Tim Robinson, Manager, Archives and Records Management Services at the University of Sydney; and the question and answer session.

Here, though, is a tweaked and slightly less bandwidth-hungry version of my speech.

Play

[The original audio recording by Cassie Findlay was sampled at 44.1kHz. This version has the audio levels compressed and normalised, and re-sampled to 22.050kHz. It’s posted here under a Creative Commons BY-SA license.]

[Update 26 May 2012: A transcript of what I said is now available.]

Freedom of Information panel, orderly and disorderly

On Tuesday 21 Wednesday 29 February 2012 I’m on the panel for “Freedom of information?”, presented by the Recordkeeping Roundtable.

The promo sayeth:

In a connected world where information sharing is easier and has more impact than ever before, is the current framework of FOI, information security, privacy and archives laws and practices delivering the information society needs in a timely and appropriate way? This panel discussion will be about:

  • assessing the effectiveness of current information access and security laws and methods — are they hopelessly broken?
  • the culture of secrecy and withholding by government agencies
  • how technology and activism offer those with the skills and motivation some alternative and very powerful ways to access and reveal information, and
  • what can be done to address the current state of things and move to better ways of making information available when and where it’s needed.

I think I’ll be rabbiting on about the internet and stuff. Information security, digital distribution, authentication of records, WikiLeaks, Anonymous. That sort of thing.

My fellow panelists are former diplomat Dr Philip Dorling, who now leads the journalistic pack in FOI stuff; and Tim Robinson, Manager, Archives and Records Management Services at the University of Sydney. The moderator is Cassie Findlay, Recordkeeping Roundtable co-founder and digital archivist.

It’s at the Australian Technology Park, Redfern, Sydney, and doors open at 5.30pm for a 6.00pm start. It wraps at 7.30pm for dinner. Admission is $5 and you should probably register.

[Update 16 February: Date changed to 29 February, as Dr Dorling must alas attend a funeral on the original date.]

Weeky Wrap 84: Rosellas, cyberwar and lots of radio

A weekly summary of what I’ve been doing elsewhere on the internets. This post covers the week from Monday 9 to Sunday 15 January 2012, posted way late because I’ve been incredibly busy.

Podcasts

  • Patch Monday episode 120, “Anonymous vs. Stratfor: the real issues”, being a nice long interview with Richard Stiennon, chief research analyst with IT-Harvest, a privately-held IT security research firm based in Detroit, Michigan. He also edits and publishes the newsletter Cyber Defence Weekly, and is author of the book Surviving Cyberwar.

Articles

Media Appearances

Corporate Largesse

None. I thought things might start picking up this week, but apparently not.

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. The photos also appear on Flickr, where I eventually add geolocation data and tags.

[Photo: Rosellas neat Wentworth Falls, photographed near Railway Parade on 17 January 2012.]