This Weekly Wrap is actually eight Weekly Wraps in one, covering Monday 6 February to Sunday 2 April 2017, numbers 350 to 357. Eight times the value!
Of these four weeks, I’ve spent roughly a week each in San Francisco, Ho Chi Minh City, and Canberra. I also visited a Cold War relic near San Francisco, namely Nike Missile Site SF-88L at Fort Barry. Other stuff happened too.
There’s so much in this Eight-Week Wrap, the bulk of it is over the fold. I won’t be able to list all the highlights, but I will mention two of the lowlights. I caught a conference plague, which slowed me down a bit. And my stress and anxiety levels, which had not been declining, went through the roof. And they’re still there.
This health issue is being addressed, so no sympathy is needed. (Instead, perhaps send me a tip to help with the revenue shortfall, especially with the low-reveue holiday periods of Easter and Anzac Day coming up.) But it does mean that my alleged plans for the next few weeks should be taken with an even bigger grain of salt than usual.
Continue reading “Weekly Wraps 350 to 357: Gosh is that the time?”
Earlier this month I was in Melbourne to speak at Pause Fest, as well as talk to the media about some of the issues surrounding digital surveillance and privacy.
Here’s the 19-minute conversation I had with Lindy Burns on ABC 774 Melbourne on Wednesday 10 February. As usual, we rambled all over the landscape of the topic, but I think you’ll find it interesting.
Podcast: Play in new window | Download (11.2MB)
This audio is Â©2016 Australian Broadcasting Corporation.
[Note: Yes, I’m catching up on my blog posts, I should have them all caught up within the next 24 hours.]
So 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.
Podcast: Play in new window | Download (1.8MB)
The audio is Â©2015 Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Itâ€™s served here directly from the ABC website, where you can also read a transcript.
Third 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.
Podcast: Play in new window | Download (18.4MB)
The audio is Â©2015 Nova Entertainment.
The 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.
Podcast: Play in new window | Download (7.0MB)
This audio is Â©2015 Radio 2UE Sydney Pty Ltd.
On 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.
Podcast: Play in new window | Download (Duration: 4:59 — 2.3MB)
The audio is Â©2015 Australian Broadcasting Corporation. It’s served here directly from the ABC website, where you can also read a transcript.