infosec

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Don't be a cog in the machine: click to embiggenMy week of Monday 24 to Sunday 30 August 2015 was disrupted by dentistry. A filling broke, quite a large one, and I lost half a day of covering the Gartner Security & Risk Management Summit. There were also budgetary impacts. Why do we have teeth?

There was some good news, however. My new MacBook Pro arrived, courtesy of The 9pm Urgent Hardware Refresh. Migrating everything to the new machine was seamless, and took just over two hours. I’ll report further on its performance in due course.

Articles

None, but I’ve done most of the work on a ZDNet column that will be posted on Monday.

Podcasts

None, but a new episode of The 9pm Edict will appear on Tuesday. I’ve already done a lot of the pre-production.

Media Appearances

  • On Wednesday morning, I spoke about telecommunications metadata on ABC 105.7 Darwin.
  • On Wednesday evening, I spoke about this very same subject at length on ABC 774 Melbourne, but I didn’t make a recording.

5at5

There were three editions of 5at5, on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. Why not subscribe so you’ll get all the future ones?

Corporate Largesse

  • On Monday and Tuesday, I covered the Gartner Security & Risk Management Summit at the Hilton Hotel Sydney, and there was plenty of food and drink. While I was there, Blue Coat gave me a 16GK thumb drive.

The Week Ahead

It’s the second of two weeks in Sydney, and it starts off hectic. On Monday, I have to finish a ZDNet column, scope out a server upgrade for a client, and complete The 9pm Edict podcast.

On Tuesday, I’ll organise the final technology purchases for The 9pm Urgent Hardware Refresh, and write my bit for the ACCAN National Conference debate on Wednesday. Then at 2030 AEST that night, I’m talking about some recent tech stories on ABC 702 Sydney and Local Radio around NSW.

On Wednesday, I’ll actually be at the ACCAN National Conference, or at least in the afternoon for the panel discussion. The morning is likely to be spent catching up on various background tasks.

On Thursday, I’m writing a column for ZDNet, and turning my UTS lecture from April into a video.

On Friday, I’ll design and test my new podcast recording set-up. I’ll post a description once that’s done.

The weekend will see me not working at all, ideally. No, really.

Further Ahead

On Friday 11 September, I’ll be presenting my regular guest lecture at UTS. And then on Saturday 12 September, it’s the recording session for The 9pm Edict Public House Forum, with post-production to be done on the Sunday.

[Photo: Don’t be a cog in the machine, being graffiti photographed somewhere in Sydney on 29 July 2007.]

The wokking of the kangaroo: click to embiggenMost of my week of Monday 17 to Sunday 23 August 2015 was wiped out by a cold, as I mentioned last time. But apart from that, I’m pleased with proceedings.

I didn’t get much new done, but some of my recent ZDNet columns seem to have gotten plenty of attention. I squirted out a new podcast, and locked in plenty of stuff for the future.

Articles

Following on from last week’s Android, you have serious security problems, we have…

Podcasts

Media Appearances

5at5

There were four editions of 5at5, on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday. Why not subscribe so you’ll get all the future ones?

Corporate Largesse

  • On Wednesday, I met with Dick Bussiere from Tenable Network Security — the chap who was quoted in this week’s ZDNet column — and their PR people paid for the coffee.

The Week Ahead

The week begins with the 0636 train to Sydney, because this is the first of two weeks I’m spending in Ashfield in Sydney’s inner west, catsitting. On Monday and Tuesday, I’m covering the Gartner Security & Risk Management Summit in Sydney. I daresay that I’ll spend a big chunk of Wednesday writing about things from that event. Thursday too, maybe.

Mid-week I’ll also be announcing the full details of The 9pm Edict Public House Forum. I’ve already said elsewhere that it’ll be recorded on Saturday 12 September at the Australian Arms Hotel in Penrith, but still to come is information on how you can be part of the live audience.

In the latter part of the week, I’ll finally be able to buy all the hardware that you good people have paid for in The 9pm Urgent Hardware Refresh. The new MacBook Pro has already been ordered, and should arrive late in the week. I’ll shop around for the rest as I get the time.

The weekend sees a Full Moon, so I shall take the necessary precautions. I’ll probably also knock off a quick episode of The 9pm Edict.

Further Ahead

During the following week, starting Monday 31 August, I’ll design and test my new podcast recording set-up. I’ll post a description once that’s done. I’ll be at the ACCAN National Conference on Tuesday 1 and Wednesday 2 September, and indeed taking part in a panel discussion on the Wednesday afternoon. The weekend of 5 and 6 September will see another special episode of The 9pm Edict.

Further ahead still, on Friday 11 September, I’ll be presenting my regular guest lecture at UTS. And then on Saturday 12 September, it’s The 9pm Edict Public House Forum, with post-production to be done on the Sunday.

[Photo: The kangaroo is wokked, being a photograph of my breakfast in progress, taken on 23 August 2015.]

ABC logoThe Ashley Madison hack returned to the news this week, because the 30-day deadline given by Impact Team, the hacker(s) who claimed responsibility, expired, and the site’s data started being dumped onto the internet.

While I’d spoken about this before on ABC 936 Hobart, this week I spoke about the then-latest developments on Friday with ABC Gold Coast. Here’s the full conversation with morning presenter Nicole Dyer.

The site I mentioned at the end, where you can check whether your email address appears in the Ashley Madison data dump, or in many of the larger data breaches of recent years, is haveibeenpwned.com, run by Australian security researcher Troy Hunt. Use it.

Play

The audio is of course ©2015 Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

Barangaroo from Pyrmont: click to embiggenMy week of Monday 10 to Sunday 16 August 2015 was just as remarkable as the previous week, in that I got plenty of interesting things done.

Given that this Weekly Wrap is so dreadfully late, however, I won’t go into any details.

Articles

Podcasts

None. But there’ll be a new episode of The 9pm Edict on Sunday 23 August. See Update 11 of The 9pm Urgent Hardware Refresh for details of the plan from there on.

Media Appearances

5at5

There were three editions of 5at5, on Monday, Thursday, and Friday. Why not subscribe so you’ll get all the future ones?

Corporate Largesse

None.

The Week Ahead

Most of it’s gone already, thanks to a nasty cold. Many people in and around Sydney seem to have been hit by this one. However, there’s a good two and a half days left, so…

On Friday (today), I’ll be re-planning everything post-cold, and writing a column for ZDNet.

On Saturday, I’ll be heading to Penrith to sort out a recording location for The 9pm Edict Public House Forum, as well as running a few errands. En route, I’ll be working on the script for the first of the three special podcast episodes for The 9pm Urgent Hardware Refresh. And on Sunday, I’ll be recording and posting that episode.

Further Ahead

The week beginning Monday 24 August will be the first of two weeks I’ll be spending in Ashfield in Sydney’s inner west, catsitting. I’m looking forward to it, though visiting Ashfield is always a bittersweet experience for me, for reasons that some of you may be aware of.

On Monday and Tuesday, I’m covering the Gartner Security & Risk Management Summit in Sydney. In the past, I’ve gotten good value out of this event. I daresay that I’ll spend a big chunk of Wednesday writing about things from that event. Thursday too, maybe.

In the latter part of the week, I’ll finally be able to buy all the hardware that you good people have paid for in The 9pm Urgent Hardware Refresh. In between some meetings in the city, I’ll be designing and testing my new recording set-up, and posting a description once I’ve gotten it all working to my satisfaction. The weekend sees a Full Moon, so I shall take the necessary precautions.

Looking even further ahead, I’ll be at the ACCAN National Conference on Tuesday 1 and Wednesday 2 September, and indeed taking part in a panel discussion on the Wednesday afternoon. The weekend of 5 and 6 September will see another special episode of The 9pm Edict.

And further ahead still, on Friday 9 September, I’ll be presenting my regular guest lecture at UTS. And then on Saturday 10 September, I should be recording The 9pm Edict Public House Forum — though I’ll officially confirm that date tomorrow afternoon.

[Photo: Barangaroo from Pyrmont, photographed on 11 August 2015 as I was waiting for a coffee companion. The Barangaroo development is certainly dominating the western side of the Sydney CBD now.]

Newtown, with mesh fence: click to embiggenMy week of Monday 3 to Sunday 9 August 2015 was remarkable, because I had so many votes of confidence, as it were. I’m pretty chuffed.

The most remarkable of all was that I raised more than $7200 in a crowdfunding campaign to replace and upgrade my core work tools. I won’t go into the details here, because you can check the project updates. But as I explained last week, having a working computer has really helped my mood. Knowing that I’ll soon have the kit to do certain kinds of projects is even more mood-improving.

Also, at the ADMA Global Forum, I met Professor Stephen Pulman, head of computational linguistics at some university called… Oxbloor or Oxfart or something like that. When I showed interest in his session on the sentiment analysis of textual data, including tweets, I was invited to his masterclass the next day. I’m kinda chuffed that I could dive deep into this stuff after so many years.

There’s a few other things too, but that can wait. On with the show…

Articles

Podcasts

None. But it’s looking like there’ll be three episodes of The 9pm Edict over the next five weeks. I’m also thinking of resurrecting Corrupted Nerds.

Media Appearances

  • On Monday morning, I spoke about the Wentworth Falls bushfire on ABC 702 Sydney.
  • On Tuesday evening, I spoke about various technology issues on ABC Local Radio across NSW, but there’s no recording. That’s a shame. It was a good segment.

5at5

There were editions of 5at5 on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday. Why not subscribe so you’ll get all the future ones?

Corporate Largesse

  • On Tuesday and Wednesday, I covered the ADMA Global Forum, so there was plenty of food and drink to be had at Sydney’s Hilton Hotel.
  • On Wednesday evening, I went to Text100’s (in)famous Xmas in August event at the Bavarian Bier Cafe in Sydney. Bang & Olufsen gave me a rather nice leather keyring, and a USB stick containing their promotional material. Amazon Kindle gave me a promo-filled USB stick too.
  • On Thursday, NetSuite has a lunchtime briefing at Gowings Bar & Grill at Sydney’s QT Hotel. As usual, the food and drink was stunning.

The Week Ahead

Monday will be a long, long day. I’m taking the 0706 train to Sydney. At 0900 I’m meeting someone over coffee. From 1000, I’ll be at Deloitte’s media briefing on their annual Media Consumer Survey. Then it’s a haircut, and lunch, and buying a new shirt. The afternoon is flexible, shall we say, because at 2030 I’ll be live on ABC TV’s Lateline to talk about certain cybers. I think I’ll try to have a nap in there somewhere.

Tuesday is an easier day, and I plan to sleep in. I’m finally getting an eye exam done, and then I’ve got a couple meetings before catching the train back to Wentworth Falls.

On Wednesday, I’ll be running errands and doing my shopping in Katoomba, as well as working on a few stories. On Thursday, I’ll be writing for ZDNet. And on Friday, it’s the next step of The 9pm Urgent Hardware Refresh. I’ll have the final budget and podcast content selections, so it’ll be time to lock in the shopping list, and send RFQs to my suppliers.

I think I’ll record an episode of The 9pm Edict on the weekend, but we’ll see how that goes. Next weekend is so far away…

[Photo: Newtown, with mesh fence, photographed on 4 August 2015 as my train down from the Blue Mountains sped through Newtown on its wat to Central station for its scheduled 0847 arrival.]

The Final Redoubt: click to embiggenMy week of Monday 27 July to Sunday 2 August 2015 represented a remarkable turnaround — perhaps the turnaround that I’d been detecting in the winds since June. And then there’s the bushfire. It’s all so complicated!

Why? It was a full week with a properly-working computer — a week spent in a house with a properly-working kitchen, heating, and inspiring view — and that brought back some of the clarity of thought which I’ve been sorely lacking. I got plenty done, the most important in many ways being the launch — finally! — of The 9pm Urgent Hardware Refresh.

I was very pleased when people started contributing to this crowdfunding campaign just as soon as it was launched. I’m even more pleased to report that as I write this, roughly half-way through the campaign period, we’ve reached 54% of the initial target. That means we’re likely to succeed.

The stress of not having a working computer is subsiding, but I’m not counting my chickens before they’re hatched.

People who write or perform for a living will also understand the importance of the kind of reassurance that comes with people supporting the plan which, until then, had existed solely in your own head.

That has helped. Thank you. If you haven’t done so already, please check out The 9pm Urgent Hardware Refresh

Thanks also to the many people who asked whether I was in any danger from this weekend’s bushfire at Wentworth Falls. No, I’m not.

The fire is only 3km from Bunjaree Cottages, but between it and me there’s some significantly challenging terrain, and the wind has been taking the fire in a different direction. More than 100 volunteers from the NSW Rural Fire Service have been keeping us safe.

I’m certainly paying attention to what’s happening, though, and I see that there’s a wind change forecast for Monday. Depending on how the RFS people go with their plans for the rest of today and overnight, well, my risk assessment may change.

Just as I write this, the alert for the fire area has been raised from WATCH AND ACT to EMERGENCY WARNING — the latter being described thusly:

You may be in danger and need to take action immediately. Any delay now puts your life at risk.

I must stress again, though, that I am not in the alert area, and I currently face no risk.

Articles

Podcasts

  • On Friday, I posted “The 9pm I Can’t Believe It’s Not a Planet”, being The 9pm Edict episode 46. I turned out better than its convoluted production process led me to imagine. I may tell you about that during the week.

Media Appearances

5at5

The hiatus has ended. There were two editions, on Thursday and Friday. Why not subscribe so you’ll get all the future ones?

Corporate Largesse

None. But there’s quite a bit scheduled for the coming week.

The Week Ahead

This is going to be a better-structured one, folks.

Monday will be a media production day — but I’ll decide the exact details on the day, depending on the bushfire threat level.

On Tuesday, I’ll be catching the 0706 train to Sydney, because on Tuesday and Wednesday I’ll be covering the ADMA Global Forum, presented by the Association for Data-driven Marketing and Advertising. Also, at 2030 AEST on Tuesday night, I’ll be a guest on ABC Local Radio around NSW. And on Wednesday night, I’ll be going to Text100’s (in)famous Christmas in August event, a preview of their clients’ consumer technology for Christmas.

On Thursday, I’ll be going to a lunchtime briefing by NetSuite, and writing something for ZDNet, before taking the train back to the Blue Mountains. Thursday is also the last day of The 9pm Urgent Hardware Refresh, with the campaign ending at 2100 AEST that evening.

On Friday, I’ll be confirming what’ll happen with the funds so raised.

[Photo: The Final Redoubt, photographed on 2 August 2015. Should I ever need a final hiding place from a severe bushfire — and everything has happened so quickly that we skipped straight past three levels of warning, the fire jumped the road and railway, and all escape routes were blocked — then this cutting on Railway Parade near Wentworth Falls is where I’d wrap myself in wet woollen items and hope for the best.]

FIVEaa logoThe (relatively) new Australian Cyber Security Centre (ACSC) released its first-ever unclassified threat report yesterday, but as I wrote at ZDNet, I was disappointed.

The report (PDF) has dropped, and indeed it contains few surprises. It tells the now-familiar story of serious and organised criminals, foreign state-sponsored actors, and other “cyber adversaries”, all of whom are getting better at what they do.

“The cyber threat to Australian organisations is undeniable, unrelenting and continues to grow. If an organisation is connected to the internet, it is vulnerable. The incidents in the public eye are just the tip of the iceberg,” begins the report’s foreword.

“Cyber adversaries are aggressive and persistent in their efforts to compromise Australian networks and information. They are constantly improving their tradecraft in an attempt to defeat our network defences and exploit new technologies,” it says later.

“Australia is an innovative country with a globally important resources sector. We are a regional leader with global interests and important partnerships. This makes Australia a target-rich environment for cyber adversaries.”

All of which is true, of course, but all of which has been said so many times before.

I spoke about the report today with Will Goodings on 1395 FIVEaa Adelaide — with somewhat less disappointment in my voice.

Play

The audio is ©2015 Nova Entertainment.

Rosella Cottage and its solar panels: click to embiggenMy week of Monday 20 to Sunday 26 July 2015 was ruined by health problems. I won’t go into the details. If you saw some facts, you saw them. Otherwise you missed them.

There were no articles or podcasts or editions of 5at5 produced, so I’ll make this Weekly Wrap look slightly better by omitting the sub-heads. I’ll skip the Corporate Largesse section too, because there wasn’t any, and stick to what did happen.

Media Appearances

  • On Tuesday, I spoke about the Ashley Madison data breach on ABC 936 Hobart.
  • On Wednesday, I spoke about the Ashley Madison data breach on Sydney radio 2UE, but I won’t be posting a recording because it adds nothing to the Hobart one. I’m thinking about being a lot more selective about what I post here — or at least what I go to the effort of writing a whole blog post about — and maybe even automating most of the Weekly Wrap. I mean, do you even read this?

The Week Ahead

I’m not going to match specific tasks to specific days at this stage, for various reasons. But I will say that my Pozible crowdfunding campaign for The 9pm Urgent Hardware Refresh has been given the green light, so I’ll press the “Go” button on that relatively early in the week, and I’ll produce an episode of The 9pm Edict podcast to coincide with that, more or less.

I’ll also write some stuff for people. Is that vague enough?

I’ll be in the Mountains for most of the week, I think. I can’t see much that’d draw me into Sydney, not when I apply a strict cost benefit analysis to it all. You people are terrible.

[Photo: Rosella Cottage and its solar panels, photographed on 30 January 2012. This week I returned to being based in Rosella Cottage, rather than the Bunjaree Cottages outbuilding called “The Studio”. It’s not only far more pleasant, it gives me morning views like this, and this, and this. I think this will help.]

ABC logoThe information security news story of the week was, of course, the data breach at “affairs” and “cheaters” website Ashley Madison, something first reported by journalist Brian Krebs.

I spoke about this data breach in a couple of radio spots — I’m reluctant to call it a
“hack” until we have some evidence that a hack was involved, as opposed to some internal problem — but I reckon the first was the best.

Here’s that conversation, a 13-minute chat from Tuesday morning with ABC 936 Hobart morning presenter Leon Compton. Enjoy.

Play

The audio is of course ©2015 Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

To boldly go...: click to embiggenMy week of Monday 13 to Sunday 19 July 2015 continued the lack-of-productivity theme, alas. Mostly because my dying computer decided to die far more rapidly than it had been until now.

My sincere thanks go to Justin Clacherty for lending me a spare MacBook Pro until I can organise my own new machine. I’m pleased that the set-up and transfer of data to this “new” machine only took nine hours — well, plus the six hours it took to take a proper backup of the old machine, because it kept throwing errors.

That said, in the latter part of the week I did get quite a bit done on the Pozible crowdfunding campaign to pay for that replacement machine. That campaign should launch in the next few days.

And because I had to archive some data off the old computer — because it had a 750GB hard drive, whereas the loaner has a 500GB SSD — I was browsing through old photos and videos. This put me into a particularly reflective mood again on the weekend. I hope that some good will come of this, because having a properly-working computer again — and a fast one! — should provide another boost to my optimism.

Articles

Podcasts

None.

5at5

5at5 was still on hiatus this week.

Media Appearances

Corporate Largesse

  • On Monday evening, I caught up with Leslie Nassar to discuss a SEKRIT project, and he bought me dinner.

The Week Ahead

I’m back in Wentworth Falls this coming week, and most of it hasn’t been mapped out yet. Still, I have a broad outline.

On Monday Tuesday, I’ll be submitting that Pozible project for approval, doing some shopping in Katoomba, and mapping out my writing commitments for the next few weeks. Now that I have a working computer again, I’ve got heaps of work to catch up with.

On Tuesday Wednesday, I’ll be completing a video to go with that Pozible project, which should launch that day. I’ll also be producing an episode of The 9pm Edict podcast. I’ll delay the posting of both until Wednesday Thursday if the Pozible campaign doesn’t launch.

The rest of the week is a bit vague, but I know there’ll be a ZDNet column in there somewhere. And I’m guessing I’d better organise some other work as well.

Update 20 July 2015: Edited to slide nearly everything in the plan back a day, to reflect a Monday sickie.

[Photo: To boldly go…, being a small boat heading out into the fog of San Francisco Bay on 10 December 2010.]

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