infosec

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Sunrise over Rozelle Bay, Sydney: click to embiggenMy week of Monday 13 to Sunday 19 April 2015 was rather full, but not as productive as the plan intended. Instead, there were unexpected loose ends to tie up, plus hours and hours of introspection.

Introspection about the fact that Q1 of 2015 was, in revenue terms, my second-worst quarter in more than four years. Introspection about just how I’ll increase revenue. And about the isolation of living at Bunjaree Cottages, which isn’t good for me — and the fact that these accommodation arrangements, only ever intended to be for “a few weeks”, have run for more than four years. All my household possessions, apart from two suitcases of personal items and the like, have been in storage all this time.

Introspection about two events coming up next month, a birthday that ends in a “5” and, on 13 May, the twentieth anniversary of moving from Adelaide to Sydney — a move triggered by taking on a new job during the first dotcom boom. With both work and accommodation issues on the agenda again, is it time for another migration?

Introspection about the “need”, as my doctor put it, to get some exercise, change my diet, and lose 10kg of weight. And introspection about just how I’ll change all those things — and more that I haven’t mentioned yet — without going postal.

I don’t have any answers yet. Heck, I don’t even have most of the questions. But I am starting to get a clearer view of the landscape, like the sun rising through dawn clouds.

All that said, I did get a few things done this week…

Podcasts

  • “The 9pm Statement of Regret”, being The 9pm Edict episode 40. It contains quite a bit about Australia’s forthcoming celebrations for Anzac Day and the mythic nature of Gallipoli in those celebrations. I’d like to hear your responses. Your deadline for audio comments is Tuesday 21 April at 1700 AEST.

Articles

5at5

There were four editions of 5at5 this week, on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday. To save me having to tell you this, you could just subscribe.

Media Appearances

Corporate Largesse

  • On Friday, I had coffee with an executive from Dyn, an internet performance optimisation company. That coffee was paid for by their PR people.

The Week Ahead

I’ll be in the Blue Mountains all week, as far as I can tell at this stage.

On Monday and Tuesday, I’m finishing a column for ZDNet Australia, producing another episode of The 9pm Edict podcast, and setting up some sort of subscription drive for same. Those last two tasks are intertwined. On Tuesday night, I’ll be talking tech news with Dom Knight on ABC 702 Sydney at 2030 AEST.

On Wednesday through Friday, I’ll finally get that ebook sorted, write a column for ZDNet Australia, review the scripts for six episodes of a television drama. Yes, that last one is running late. Also left over from last week is producing and posting the recording of my recent lecture at UTS. There’s no way that’ll fit into the coming week.

The weekend is currently unplanned, but given how much I’ll be doing during the week, I suspect I’ll just be a sloth for two days. Apart, that is, from going to a local Anzac Day Dawn Service somewhere. Maybe. I may also try to have some sort of social life. Possibly.

Further Ahead

The following week, on 29-29 April, I’ll be covering the Disruptocon conference in Sydney, trying not to choke on the name.

Then on Saturday 2 May, I’ll be flying to the US for eight days, primarily to cover NetSuite’s SuiteWorld conference once again. I currently plan to return to Australia on Tuesday 12 May. I’ll tell you more about that trip in due course.

Update 24 April 2015: Edited to reflect cancellation of US trip.

[Photo: Sunrise over Roselle Bay, Sydney, photographed on 19 April 2015. Yes, today.]

Forest, rain and train: click to embiggenMy week of Monday 30 March to Sunday 5 April 2015 was and action-packed week of extremes. Kinda.

Well, I made it up as I went along. I was in both Sydney and the Blue Mountains. The weather was variable. Does that count as extreme? How about standing right next to David Marr while he was paying attention to other people and I felt ignored and sulky?

Coming soon to a games store near you, Extreme David Marr.

Articles

Podcasts

5at5

Four editions of 5at5 this week, on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday. You should subscribe, you know. If you subscribe, Jesus will love you. Promise.

Media Appearances

Corporate Largesse

None.

The Week Ahead

On Monday, despite it being a public holiday, I’ll be producing the bulk of an episode of The 9pm Edict. On Tuesday, I’ll be doing some errands and shopping in Leura and Katoomba in the morning. In the afternoon, I’ll be planning out some writing for April. And in the evening, I’ll publish the completed podcast.

On Wednesday, I’ll be updating my regular lecture for journalism students at the University of Technology Sydney (UTS).

On Thursday, I’ll be making the long commute to Sydney to deliver that lecture at UTS at 0900. Then at 1030 I’m going to the Australian launch of VMware’s vCloudAir. And then I’ll be writing for ZDNet Australia probably.

Friday through Sunday are currently unplanned. It will include, however, the turning of the UTS lecture into a podcast, some writing for someone else, and a variety of revenue-generating activities.

Caveat

The squid is none of your business.

[Photo: Forest, rain and train, being the view from a Blue Mountains line train as it travelled between Katoomba and Leura on a rainy day Friday 3 April 2015.]

The Wire logoOn Monday I recorded an interview on Bitcoin’s secret sauce, the blockchain, with The Wire, the current affairs program for Australia’s community radio network produced by 2SER in Sydney. It went to air that night as past their story Blockchains to the rescue?

It was only a couple of years ago that Bitcoin was taking the world by storm — the price rocketing by hundreds of percent. Since then, however, it has fallen into obscurity, with less and less companies accepting it as payment. But even if Bitcoin does not make it as a full fledged currency, the technology behind it may find a place elsewhere.

Journalist Josh Nicholas also spoke with Professor David Glance, Director of University of Western Australia’s Centre for Software Practice. The narrative contrasts my enthusiasm, for want of a better work, with Glance’s scepticism. That’s probably down to the questions asked and the editing, because I suspect our views are actually much the same.

The audio is ©2015 2SER-FM 107.3. It’s also available at The Wire program website — that’s exactly the same as what you can hear here, it’s just that the audio file here has my branding — and you can also listen to the entire episode.

Please stand behind the yellow line: click to embiggenMy week of Monday 23 to Sunday 29 March 2015 is being documented late. Things did not go to plan, and I was annoyed.

Articles

Podcasts

None. The next episode of The 9pm Edict did not appear on Tuesday 24 March as previously advised, but it will finally arrive on 7 April.

5at5

Only one edition of 5at5 this week, on Monday. You should subscribe, you know.

Media Appearances

None. It’s been a while now.

Corporate Largesse

  • On Tuesday I was briefed by Oracle executives on “Cloud, Big Data and platforms” over lunch at the Bentley Restaurant + Bar in Sydney. The food was excellent. I had the pork cheek with garlic and yoghurt purée, raddichio and jamon, and the mulloway with pink turnip and brown butter.

[Photo: Please stand behind the yellow line, being platform markings and adjacent scenery at Leura station in the Blue Mountains, photographed in 28 March 2015.]

Downpour at Katoomba station: click to embiggenMy week of Monday 2 to Sunday 8 March 2015 was productive, although not everything happened in the sequence that I’d intended, and not everything has appeared yet.

Articles

I also wrote a feature story and another column for ZDNet Australia, but they’re both still working their way through the production pipeline.

Podcasts

5at5

There were actually six editions of 5at5 this week, on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday. You should subscribe, you know.

Media Appearances

Corporate Largesse

  • I received a copy of the second novel in John Birmingham’s new series, Resistance: A Dave Hooper Novel 2, which is rather lovely. I’ll be reading it soon, because I really liked the first book in this series.

The Week Ahead

Monday will be a day of communication and planning, wrapping up with drinks and, I suspect, dinner with friends in Katoomba. Tuesday is not yet allocated to anything specific.

Wednesday will see a day trip to Sydney for a lunchtime briefing by MuleSoft. Thursday will probably see another long commute for a morning briefing by Deloitte, although I may just dial in instead. Somewhere in there, I’ll write a column for ZDNet Australia.

Friday through Saturday are unplanned at this stage. But since I didn’t visit Albion Park today to watch Qantas land their Boeing 747, I may visit the Historical Aircraft Restoration Society (HARS) for one its open days — which can be any of those three days. I’ll have to figure out which would work best, given the rest of my schedule.

Further Ahead

I’ll be in Melbourne from Tuesday 17 to Sunday 22 March for the Cisco LIVE event and then a couple days of meetings and the like. If you feel the need to catch up, or any other urges, please let me know.

[Photo: Downpour at Katoomba station, photographed on 1 March 2015. Technically that’s outside the timespan covered by this post, but I’m beyond caring any more.]

ABC logoSo SIM card manufacturer Gemalto has responded to the claims that America’s NSA and Britain’s GCHQ had hacked their network in 2010 and 2011 and stolen SIM card encryption keys. I spoke about that response on ABC Radio’s AM this morning.

You can read Gemalto’s full press statement, but The Wall Street Journal has a good summary, and The Intercept has various infosec experts disputing Gemalto’s analysis.

If nothing else, it seems unlikely that Gemalto could have conducted a thorough forensic investigation in just six days — although they may have just dig out a report they’d prepared earlier.

Here’s how AM introduced the story today:

Overnight the world’s largest SIM card manufacturer has responded to allegations it was hacked by American and British spies. Dutch company Gemalto confirmed it was the target of sophisticated hacks in 2010 and 2011, and most likely the US National Security Agency and their British counterparts were responsible. Last week, documents from Edward Snowden alleged spies stole encryption keys from Gemalto, giving them potential to monitor mobile communications. But Gemalto denies there was mass theft of encryption keys and says their products are secure.

And here’s the full report from journalist Sarah Sedghi.

The audio is ©2015 Australian Broadcasting Corporation. It’s served here directly from the ABC website, where you can also read a transcript.

FIVEaa logoThird time’s the charm, right? My third radio spot on The Great SIM Heist was for 1395 FIVEaa in Adelaide on Wednesday afternoon.

Again, I won’t repeat the background, because it’s all in my first post on the subject. But I will say that this is the most detailed conversation about it so far, because presenter Will Goodings and I spoke for 13 minutes.

That said, there’s not much more information than we had yesterday. Gemalto isn’t due to hold its press conference until late this evening Australian time, so we’ll know more tomorrow.

The audio is ©2015 Nova Entertainment.

2UE logoThe second radio spot I did on The Great SIM Heist — or perhaps I should say the claimed heist, or even the alleged heist — was for the Sydney talk radio station 2UE on Tuesday afternoon.

I won’t repeat all the background. See my previous post for that. But I will say that it’s always interesting to hear the different questions asked and concerns raised by different presenters. And of course my responses differ in content and style to match the style of the program and the radio station.

Here’s the full seven-minute chat with drive presenter Justin Smith. At the end, we seem to have invented a new regular segment. And at least this time I pronounced Gemalto correctly.

This audio is ©2015 Radio 2UE Sydney Pty Ltd.

ABC logoOn Friday, The Intercept published some astounding claims under the headline The Great SIM Heist: How spies stole the keys to the encryption castle. The story claims that Five Eyes spooks had achieved a major breakthrough in their ability to monitor mobile communications.

American and British spies hacked into the internal computer network of the largest manufacturer of SIM cards in the world, stealing encryption keys used to protect the privacy of cellphone communications across the globe, according to top-secret documents provided to The Intercept by National Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden…

With these stolen encryption keys, intelligence agencies can monitor mobile communications without seeking or receiving approval from telecom companies and foreign governments. Possessing the keys also sidesteps the need to get a warrant or a wiretap, while leaving no trace on the wireless provider’s network that the communications were intercepted. Bulk key theft additionally enables the intelligence agencies to unlock any previously encrypted communications they had already intercepted, but did not yet have the ability to decrypt.

The company in question is Gemalto. With headquarters in Amsterdam, and 28 “personalisation facilities” around the world that burn the encryption keys into SIM cards, it has nearly 30% of the market — making it an obvious target for spooks.

The story started to filter through to the mainstream media on Monday in the US, or Tuesday Australian time, and I’ve already done two radio spots on the topic — and doubtless there’ll be more to come.

The first spot was an interview for ABC Radio, and parts of it ended up in this report on The World Today.

[The three Australian mobile network operators] Telstra, Vodafone and Optus have all confirmed that Gemalto has supplied their SIM cards. Sarah Sedghi reports.

This is the full five-minute report.

The audio is ©2015 Australian Broadcasting Corporation. It’s served here directly from the ABC website, where you can also read a transcript.

Log: click to embiggenMy week of Monday 16 to Sunday 22 February 2015 has been busy, productive and exhausting. And it’s still going. If only my life lately were about more than just trying to be busy and productive. Sigh.

Podcasts

  • “The 9pm Malcolm and the Cnuts”, being The 9pm Edict episode 37. I hadn’t planned to do an episode of the Edict this week, but on Friday I had an encounter with Malcolm Turnbull, and one thing led to another… But I am getting more efficient. This episode only took six hours to produce, although it did omit a couple of regular segments.
  • Corrupted Nerds Extra: Malcolm Turnbull opens NICTA Techfest 2015, being the full audio of Turnbull’s speech and subsequent doorstop press conference.

Articles

5at5

There were four editions of 5at5 this week, on Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and an off-schedule 7at7 on Sunday morning. You might want to subscribe so you receive them all as they’re released. Subscribe. Just subscribe.

Media Appearances

None.

Corporate Largesse

  • On Friday, I went to NICTA’s Techfest at Australian Technology Park, where I was fed and watered.
  • Sunday is the first day of the Tech Leaders Forum, formerly known as Kickstart, at the Fairmont Resort. The event continues on Monday, so I’ll post the full list of largesse next week.

The Week Ahead

Monday is the second and final day of the Tech Leaders Forum, after which I shall collapse and have an early night.

On Tuesday and Wednesday, I’m writing a feature for ZDNet Australia.

On Thursday, I’m heading to Sydney for the next step in my treatment program for sleep apnoea — which I have yet to blog about in any detail — as well as some errands and then, at 1615 AEDT, a television spot on ABC News24.

On Friday, I’ll probably be writing my usual column for ZDNet Australia.

Saturday is unplanned. Place your bids now.

On Sunday, I’ll be producing an episode of The 9pm Edict podcast. Because I am an idiot.

[Photo: Log. Termites had eaten out the core of this tree at Bunjaree Cottages, and it had filled with water — much to the surprise of the chain-saw wielding chap who felled it. A shame I wasn’t there to see it. Photographed on 20 February 2015.]

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