My week of Monday 7 to Sunday 13 December 2020 was remarkable productive even though I spent much of it in Sydney being a little unproductive. Three articles! A podcast! Even some planning!Continue reading “Weekly Wrap 550: Hot weather, cooler weather, productivity, and a magpie”
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.]
My week of Monday 15 to Sunday 21 June 2015 was yet another reasonably productive one, though the cold weather meant that I spent more time than ever before in the warmth of the Blue Mountains City Library in Katoomba.
This week also saw a significant reduction in my stress levels, for a variety of reasons. I’ll write more about that later in the week.
- Encrypting data at rest is vital, but it’s just not happening, ZDNet Australia, 18 June 2015.
- Every step you take: how advertisers are monitoring your every move, Crikey, 19 June 2015. A quick explanation of just how much data Facebook, Twitter and Google are using to fuel their targeted advertising.
- Australia seeks rules for ‘peacetime norms’ in cyberspace, ZDNet Australia, 19 June 2015.
- The 9pm Planet of Fascist Delusions, being The 9pm Edict episode 45. I think that podcast production expands to fill the time available for it. This episode soaked up 17 hours, spread over two days.
There were five editions of 5at5 this week, on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday. That’s more than 25 things for you to read! To save me having to tell you this, you could just subscribe.
- On Thursday, I spoke about Samsung’s smartphone vulnerability on ABC Radio’s The World Today.
- On Friday, I went to a lunchtime briefing by the Wynyard Group about their advanced crime analytics software can be used to “manage the foreign fighter threat”. It was held at the Sydney offices of UBS, who provided lunch in the form of a salmon.
The Week Ahead
My week will begin with the Winter Solstice — sorry, I’m running late — the week began with the Winter Solstice, which happened at 0238 AEST on Monday morning. I celebrated the Solstice as I often do, by reflecting on many things overnight, so Monday is a bit slow. Household chores, administrivia, some research, and the like. In the evening I’ll plan my writing for ZDNet.
Tuesday to Thursday will be writing days, with a couple of stories for ZDNet, as well as that goddam ebook. Friday will be devoted to certain activities related to the end of the financial year. The weekend will see the production of another episode of The 9pm Edict podcast, interspersed with a modest social life. That episode will be completed and posted on Monday 29 June.
That seems a bit thin. But my ponderings over the Solstice will trigger further actions, trust me. There is much that I want to change in the coming months.
[Photo: The View from Level 16, being the UBS offices on level 16 of Chifley Tower, 2 Chifley Square, Sydney, photographed on 19 June 2015.]