The 9pm Extra: Vertical Hold episode 403, “Has Elon Musk sunk Twitter? Should Medibank pay its cyber-ransom?”

The header of Elon Musk’s Twitter page as at 4 November 2022. (Screenshot: Stilgherrian) Inset: Vertical Hold podcast profile image. (Supplied)

Elon Musk finally owns Twitter, but is the social media giant circling the drain or about to become something entirely new? Should Medibank pay the ransom to keep customers’ sensitive medical data safe? I was on this week’s Vertical Hold: Behind The Tech News and this is an updated version.

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Yes of course Optus suffered a “cyber attack”, just one which looks like it was trivial to accomplish

I hate Optus

It’s still an attack even if the defences were useless. It’s still a crime even if it were easy to commit. Optus may have been a target ripe for the taking, and may well have been negligent, but the hackers are still the baddies here.

Continue reading “Yes of course Optus suffered a “cyber attack”, just one which looks like it was trivial to accomplish”

Talking about the seed brushing scam on ABC RN Breakfast

Unsolicited packet of seeds believed to be part of a “brushing” scam. (Photo: Ohio Department of Agriculture)
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In recent weeks Australians have started receiving unsolicited packages from China containing seeds, as have random people in other countries. It’s part of a scam called “brushing” and it’s not quite what it seems.

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Weekly Wrap 432: More cybers, with a little Cronulla

The Right to StrikeI don’t know what to make of my week from Monday 3 to Sunday 9 September 2018. It felt like I was quite busy, but there isn’t as much visible output to show for it. Oh well.


I wrote a third piece for ZDNet that should appear on Monday.

Podcasts, Media Appearances, Corporate Largesse

None. I am very embarrassed not to have done the podcast on Wednesday as promised. I did make the journey to Cronulla the recording session, as foreshadowed last week, but it turned out that I wasn’t quite recovered from illness, and needed to rest. But see below.

The Week Ahead

It’s a Sydney-centric week. I’ll head down the hill on Monday morning for least one meeting that afternoon.

On Tuesday and Wednesday I’m covering the AI & Machine Learning Summit. Thursday and Friday will be therefore about writing.

Further Ahead

The next episode of The 9pm Edict will now be recorded on Tuesday 18 September at 2100 AEST, because that week looks less hectic. Listen on the livestream or on Spreaker apps, or listen later on the usual feeds.

Beyond that:

  • Flying Sydney to Adelaide in a Vans RV-6 light aircraft registration VH-SOL piloted by Mark Newton, on Friday 28 or Saturday 29 September. I’ll record things for a podcast en route.
  • FireEye Cyber Defense Summit, Washington DC, 1–5 October.
  • Australian Cyber Conference, formerly the Australian Information Security Association (AISA) National Conference, Melbourne, 9–11 October.
  • The Sibos global financial services conference, Sydney, 22–25 October.
  • International Association of Privacy Professionals ANZ (iappANZ) Annual Summit, Privacy: Handling the Seismic Shift, Melbourne, 1 November. (TBC)

[Photo: The Right to Strike. Trade union members leading a protest march through Pitt Street, Sydney on 6 September 2018. It was a big event, with the column stretching for maybe two kilometres, yet it received little media coverage. As for this photo, I wish I’d had a wider angle lens and been able to bet in closer.]