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ABC logoEven though it’s a year old, the website that crashes an iPhone is back in the news this week — presumably because knowledge of the trick “went viral”, as they say.

This story piqued the interest of Fiona Willey, presenter of ABC Radio’s Statewide Drive in NSW, and we spoke on-air earlier this evening.

This is the full nine-minute interview, including a bit about the story from September 2015 when malware-infected apps made their way into the offical Apple App Store in China.


The audio is ©2016 Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

Purple flag, a flower of some Patersonia species: click to embiggenMy week of Monday 3 to Sunday 9 November 2014 was remarkably productive, despite the temptations of then grains and the gentle ministrations of Mistress Insomnia.



My 5at5 daily email newsletter reappeared, and I managed to produce all five editions on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. Why not subscribe so you receive them all?

Media Appearances

Corporate Largesse

  • On Thursday, I went to the launch of the Microsoft Nokia Lumia 830 smartphone at Paramount House in Surry Hills, where I was of course given good canapés and wine. I also got a Lumia-branded tote bag containing a packet of Microsoft-branded jelly babies; a 2GB USB stick containing media information; and a loaner unit of the Lumia 830 itself. I’ll be using it over the next two weeks, and will report back at the end of that time.
  • Also on Thursday, I went to the Indies Party, the annual not-quite-Christmas party held jointly by the PR agencies Bass PR, Shuna Boyd PR, Einsteinz Communications, and Espresso Communications. There was food and drink aplenty.

The Week Ahead

The coming week is both busy and more structure than usual. That said, my schedule is always subject to last-minute changes — whether that’s down to the news cycle, cashflow glitches, or simply not caring any more. As usual, the daily plan tweets my be found on my voluminous Twitter feed.

Monday should see the completion of an episode of The 9pm Edict podcast.

Tuesday is a Sydney day. I plan to attend the Remembrance Day ceremonies in Martin Place, though that will depend on me getting a decent sleep the night before. Then there’s a lunch briefing with the Australian government’s CTO, John Sheridan, then coffee with a PR agency, then two events in the evening. Audible is launching something or other with the hashtag #ListenUp, and Chinese tech giant Huawei is launching their new smart device. That looks like rather a long day, so I plan to stay overnight in Sydney.

Wednesday should see a morning of writing, then a meeting with executives from Slovakian information security company ESET, and some time at AVAR, the 17th annual conference of the Association of Anti-Virus Asia Researchers, which ESET is organising this year.

That conference runs through to Friday, but I’m not sure how much of it I’ll be able to catch. I still have my usual column for ZDNet Australia to write on Thursday, and some administrivia to deal with on Friday, and I hope to get some other bits and pieces of writing done too.

The weekend is yet again unplanned, as seems to be the usual way lately. At least at this stage.

Update 10 November 2014: Edited to add a section for 5at5, which I’d forgotten.

[Photo: Purple, being a flower of some Patersonia species, photographed at Bunjaree Cottages on 5 November 2014. It’s a Patersonia serica, according to Flower Checker.]

FIVEaa logoThe WireLurker malware that affects Apple’s iOS and OS X devices has been in the technical news this week. That caught Will Goodings’ eye, as did the Forbes list of the world’s 100 most powerful people. We chatted about both on Friday afternoon.

I wrote about WireLurker at Crikey, so I won’t repeat that here. Our conversation on 1395 FIVEaa fleshes out some of the issues. If you want to get into the technicals, you can always read the original report from Palo Alto Networks or the independent analysis by Jonathan Zdziarski.

As for the Forbes list, Goodings was wanting to chat about Google founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page jointly holding the number nine spot. Which we did. But he also was interested in my suggestions.

For the most powerful Australian, I nominated the prime minister’s chief of staff Peta Credlin. “Nothing goes into the prime minister’s ear without her say-so, and nothing comes out of the government onto the media without her say-so,” I said.

Goodings then added his own comments, based on having see Credlin at work. It’s worth listening to. It starts at 15 minutes 27 seconds. I’ll also extract them for the next episode of The 9pm Edict.


The audio is ©2014 dmgRadio Australia.

ABC logoToday the iPhone 6 went on sale, and of course the Apple fanchildren went into their usual semi-crazed state waiting for the Apple Stores to open — even on the Gold Coast.

ABC Gold Coast morning presenter Nicole Dyer decided to give me a call to explain the phenomenon, and here’s the recording.

She asked me about Stephen Fry’s review of the iPhone 6 for The Guardian. I was not complimentary. I referred to it as “one of the most embarrassing pieces of technology writing in the history of electricity”.


The audio is ©2014 Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

FIVEaa logoThe third and final of today’s radio spots about the alleged hack of Apple’s iCloud service was at lunchtime, so I’d had time to wake up and gather my thoughts — as well as see how the infosec community was reacting.

The afternoon presenter on 1395 FIVEaa in Adelaide, Will Goodings, gave it plenty of time too, some 14 minutes, so we covered quite a few issues — including the privacy implications of cloud technology generally.

I sound a bit tired or something, though. Possibly because I was tired.


The audio is ©2014 dmgRadio Australia.

Today’s previous two radio spots were for Nova 100 Melbourne and ABC Radio’s AM.

ABC logoA few minutes after doing the live spot on Nova 100, I recorded an interview on the alleged Apple iCloud hack for ABC Radio’s national current affairs program AM.

Reporter Emily Bourke would have gone away with a disjointed mess of soundbites, but the disjointedness isn’t so important when it’ll be edited into a multi-voice report.

I think this one quote best summarises my view of the compromise we enter into when using cloud services:

The big problem with creating massive online cloud storage systems — which is now the way we do things on the internet, whether it’s Apple or Microsoft or Google or Amazon or whoever — is that you create a vast honey pot of a target for the attackers.

Once you find one way to get in, you can potentially get access to hundreds of thousands, if not millions of people’s data.

The plus side is such concentrated services means they can hire some of the best security people they can find, putting brains onto the problem is obviously important. So at one level the cloud providers can, if they do it right, protect things far better than you or I could on computer systems under our own control.

The failures are therefore going to be far less frequent. It’s just that when the failures do happen they can be catastrophic.

Here’s the full story, served directly from the ABC website, where you can also read the transcript.


The audio is of course ©2014 Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

A few sentences of my comments were also used in a later report on The World Today at lunchtime, which featured security researcher Troy Hunt.

Nova logoIt’s starting to look like an alleged hack of Apple’s iCloud service was the source of a series of nude photos of female celebrities that has appeared online. That news led to a series of radio appearances for me today. Starting with this one.

The story itself has already been widely reported, and I won’t go into any detail about the victims of this invasion of privacy. One good place to start is this summary at The Guardian, and there’s more technical details at TUAW. These blog posts will simply present the media spots that I did.

First up was Nova 100 in Melbourne. This was done live with breakfast presenters Meshel and Tommy at 0720, and my coffee hadn’t kicked in yet. That’s why I screwed up my first, embarrassingly-wrong go at the explanation — at least that’s my excuse and I’m sticking to it.


It seems Meshel was quite taken with my name. That’s so sweet.

The audio is ©2014 dmgRadio Australia.

FIVEaa logo“Facebook Messenger app has permission to spy on your phone,” screeched a headline on 9 News today. “The new Facebook Messenger app has permission to take pictures and videos without your confirmation and to call numbers without intervention, causing unexpected charges.”

This story caught the attention of 1395 FIVEaa Adelaide afternoon presenter Will Goodings. As you’ll hear, I talked him out of some of the scarier ideas, but did mention the issues of granularity in smartphone app permissions that I’ve written about before.

Here’s the full interview, plus a little end note about what we might do with Adelaide’s Festival Plaza. I present a modest proposal, as does a listener.


The audio is ©2014 dmgRadio Australia.

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