cybercrime

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Sydney Harbour BridgeMy week of Monday 21 Sunday 27 December 2015 started badly. At 0823 I received an SMS message from my bank, asking about a suspect transaction. Within minutes, the card number was cancelled, and a new card organised — but not before hundreds of dollars had been siphoned out in a series of transactions to PlayStation Network GBR.

What impressed me was the speed at which Westpac detected and dealt with this. The total elapsed time, from receiving the SMS, to identifying the dodgy transactions, to organising a replacement card and so on, was just 25 minutes. This is why stolen credit card details are now worth so little on the black market.

What didn’t impress me was the inability of the broader logistics chain to solve the immediate problem of giving me access to my money. The bank cites seven to ten working days to deliver a new card. So not before Christmas.

The bank can arrange cardless cash withdrawals from ATMs, sending single-use authorisation codes via the smartphone app, but for some reason that can’t be done with the specific kind of account I have. Sorry, but I wasn’t about to rush into signing up for a new bank account.

So I withdrew a bunch of cash from a bank branch, and then rearranged an “everything in cash” week. A little less productive, a little more walk-aroundey. Overall, a low-impact cybercrime, but still a pain in the arse.

Articles

Podcasts

  • “The 9pm Edict’s Public House Forum #2”, being The 9pm Edict episode 54, was recorded last Saturday and posted on Wednesday night. It’s also on SoundCloud and Spreaker.

Media Appearances

None.

5at5

Should 5at5 eventually reappear, you’ll know about it if you subscribe.

Corporate Largesse

  • On Tuesday, I went to Huawei’s end of year drinks for the media at ECQ Bar, Circular Quay. We were all given a Huawei P8lite smartphone and a $30 Telstra pre-paid SIM.

The Week Ahead

For most Australians, the week between Christmas and New Year is a holiday. But not for me. Despite many services only operating Tuesday through Thursday this week, if they’re running at all, I still have quite a lot to get done. Whether it can all happen is another question.

On Monday, I’ll bring all my geekery-for-money projects up to date, and schedule the next few weeks in more detail. Laundry shall also be done.

On Tuesday, I’ll bump out of the Ashfield residence where I’ve been cat-sitting, and run some errands to Enmore, Newtown, and perhaps elsewhere, and then start scripting the next episode of The 9pm Edict podcast.

Whether Tuesday evening sees me settle into Lilyfield, or whether I return to Wentworth Falls that afternoon, will only be decided on Monday. This post will be updated accordingly on Monday evening.

On Wednesday, I’ll write for ZDNet, I think, and finish the pre-production for The 9pm Edict. The podcast will be recorded and streamed live at 2100 AEDT.

On Thursday, I’ll do a bunch of bookkeeping, and prepare my budgets for January, before doing something that can best be described as celebrating New Year’s Eve. Details TBA.

Friday is New Year’s Day, and I’ll do something significant to mark the start of 2016. Friday will also kick off a long weekend that includes, amongst other things, lunch in Katoomba on Saturday.

[Photo: Sydney Harbour Bridge, photographed from Circular Quay on 22 December 2015.]

ABC logoIt was a week for extended radio conversations about the darker side of the internet, it seems.

Not only did I speak about Anonymous on ABC 774 Melbourne, on Friday night I spoke about that ill-defined phenomenon known as the “dark web” on ABC 891 Adelaide with evening presenter Deb Tribe. And here is that conversation.

Play

This audio is ©2015 Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

The 9pm Edict recording setup

Planet Earth is dissolving into a replay of the Middle Ages. Crusader Rabbit is off his leash, with more mouth foam than a rabid dog full of dishwashing liquid.

In this podcast, there’s talk of cybercrime, civilisation, sodomy, and probing up the jaxie. Nicholas Fryer ponders the strange days of Australian politics. And there’s just a little too much information about teapots.

You can listen to the podcast below. But if you want all of the episodes, now and in the future, subscribe to the podcast feed, or subscribe automatically in iTunes, or go to SoundCloud.

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If you’d like to comment on this episode, please add your comment below, or Skype to stilgherrian or phone Sydney +61 2 8011 3733.

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ABC logoThis evening I did one of my now (ir)regular spots on ABC 774 Melbourne, and since I’d been at Ruxcon over the weekend, that conference was an obvious topic.

Presenter Lindy Burns and I started off talking about the origins of the word “hacker”, and that led into a brief history of cybercrime, before we got into the so-called “dark web” and Silk Road… and even the risks of smart TVs.

Here’s the entire 23-minute conversation exactly as it aired — and as Ms Burns herself freely admits, it strayed well away from our planned topics.

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The audio is ©2015 Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

FIVEaa logoI’m pleased that the eBay data breach has been getting widespread media coverage. I certainly don’t mind doing a third radio spot today.

As has become a semi-regular thing, I spoke with afternoon presenter Will Goodings on 1395 FIVEaa Adelaide. Just a quick five minutes between a fascinating talkback in which people expressed strong feelings about not being able to smoke at al fresco eateries and the news.

I think we covered the essentials, no?

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eBay users should change their passwords immediately, and if they use the same password anywhere else, they should change the password there too — and invest in password management software so they can start using different random, complex passwords for every online service.

The audio is ©2014 dmgRadio Australia.

ABC logoFollowing the earlier report on AM, ABC Radio’s The World Today explored the eBay data breach story further, looking at the potential for identity theft.

The reporter was Will Ockenden, and here’s how presenter Eleanor Hall introduced the item:

Internet retailing giant eBay is admitting today that the hacking of its computer systems three months ago could affect all 145 million users of the auction website.

The company has defended the time it has taken to discover the unauthorized access to its network, and the two week delay in letting its users know that their private information was stolen.

Internet security analysts say they now expect a rise in the number of secondary attacks, as hackers attempt to exploit other sites.

eBay users should change their passwords immediately, and if they use the same password anywhere else, they should change the password there too — and invest in password management software so they can start using different random, complex passwords for every online service.

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

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The audio is of course ©2014 Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

ABC logoOnline marketplace eBay has suffered a massive data breach. Their official statement outlines what we know so far. This conversation on ABC Gold Coast from earlier this morning was the first of several media spots I’m doing today.

As I explained to presenter Nicole Dyer, if all 150 million or so user records were stolen, this makes it one of the Top 5 biggest data breaches by volume of all time.

eBay users should change their passwords immediately, and if they use the same password anywhere else, they should change the password there too — and invest in password management software so they can start using different random, complex passwords for every online service.

Play

Also worth listening to is Will Ockenden’s report on ABC Radio’s AM this morning. It features security researcher Graham Cluley.

The audio here is of course ©2014 Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

Banksia in the Mist: click to embiggenMy week of Monday 31 March to Sunday 6 April 2014 has definitely seen the beginnings of some sort of return to normality, despite the almost continuous dreary weather.

I won’t go on about that, however because I don’t want to jinx it. I’ll just list the stuff.

Articles

Media Appearances

5at5

I managed to pump one out every weekday this week, which hasn’t happened in a while. I think it’s about time for you to subscribe, if you haven’t already done so.

Corporate Largesse

  • On Wednesday I went to a briefing session by HP Enterprise Security Services at the Four Seasons Hotel in Sydney, where a lovely afternoon tea was served — although I’d had a big lunch, so didn’t really taste much of it.

The Week Ahead

On Monday I’m presenting an updated version of my guest lecture at University of Technology Sydney (UTS) at 1000, and that means it’s an early start. I’m catching an 0636 train from Wentworth Falls, arriving at Sydney Central at 0817. I could catch a later train, but I want to grab a bite to eat before meeting the course coordinator for coffee at 0900. Plus I want to allow for the possibility of delays. My Twitter stream should be fun that morning, for some value of fun.

If you want to take me to lunch on Monday, or otherwise catch up, now is the time to stake your claim.

I have another morning gig in Sydney on Tuesday, a meeting at 1045, so it looks like I’ll be spending plenty of time on trains over the next couple of days.

Then on Wednesday it’s an 0845 start in Sydney for the Amazon Web Services Sydney Summit. Ideally I’d stay in Sydney overnight from Tuesday, but the early-month cashflows look like they won’t permit that. Stay tunes for updates, however.

[Update 12 April 2014: Those two trips to Sydney didn’t happen — and it’s a good thing they got cancelled, because once the Heartbleed security bug was announced on Wednesday my time, I was flat out on work related to that, Expect plenty of updates over the next 72 hours.]

The rest of the week and the weekend, including what will be written when, has yet to be mapped out. That will depend very much on what I manage to get done in the next 48 hours.

[Photo: Banksia in the Mist, photographed at Bunjaree Cottages on 4 April 2014.]

Screenshot from The Project, 28 February 2014It’s been a while since I got to talk directly to The Project presenters, but I did so last night. And I was captioned as a “Cyber Security Commentator”, which is obviously a bit special.

The story was about the security risks of webcams. Presenter Gorgi Coglan introduced it thusly:

What if I told you that the webcam in your computer could be under the control of someone on the other side of the planet, and watching everything you do right now?

I was pleased that The Project introduced the Channel TEN audience to RATs, or remote administration (or access) tools, and managed — as they nearly always do — to strike the right balance between scary and funny.

Over the fold you’ll find the video of the entire four-minute segment — starting off with a “package”, as they’re called, featuring Hacklabs director Chris Gatford, followed by the panel interviewing me.

It was the Friday team, so that panel consisted of presenter Gorgi Coglan, comedian Lehmo, the inimitable Waleed Aly and, just to be different, Richie Sambora, guitarist of Bon Jovi fame.

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