Talking Regin spyware on ABC The World Today

ABC logoComment on current affairs programs happens in the most random ways. Last Tuesday I did a quick comment on the newly-revealed Regin spyware from a park bench in Sydney — a quick break while dashing between Wynward railway station and lunch.

Now at the time of doing this piece for ABC Radio’s The World Today, I’d read the report in The Intercept, and a couple of mainstream news stories that had bounced off that, but I hadn’t read either of the white papers from Symantec (PDF) or Kaspersky Lab (PDF).

For an initial comment on mainstream radio that was probably enough of an orientation, but with the benefit of hindsight a few days later, well, I might have put things slightly differently.

The journalist is Liv Casben.

Play

The audio is ©2014 Australian Broadcasting Corporation, and it’s served here directly from the ABC website where you’ll also find a transcript.

Weekly Wrap 216: The return, the throat, the stress

The Tower at Dusk: click to embiggenMy week of Monday 21 to Sunday 27 July 2014 is just about to end, after a month of virtual silence on this website. I’ve been active elsewhere, just not here. So what’s the story?

I’ve been exhausted. A few weeks ago I made the mistake of spending a Friday evening in a Sydney mass-market bar with ordinary people, and I seem to have picked up some sort of disease. An infection. A lurgy. Whatever. As far as I can tell, it’s something that’s currently doing the rounds in Sydney. A sore throat with fatigue that’s difficult to shake. So I’m not too worried, just annoyed.

I also went for nearly a week without a computer, when my MacBook Pro had to go in for repairs. That was more disruptive to my work patterns than I’d hoped. Maybe I’ll write about that soon. Maybe not. The short version is that an iPad is just not the same.

And as a third disruption, there was a technical crisis that affected the clients of my other little business, and which took over my attention for two long days. I don’t think I’ll write about that at all, because it’s annoying.

The combined result, however, is that I’ve only had energy to focus on those things, plus the things that I’d committed to do and which generated immediate revenue. Well, some of them anyway. And everything else has been burned.

I plan to back-fill the missing posts of media appearances and the like, but they’ll have to wait for about a week. Meanwhile, this Weekly Wrap contains the links to the stuff that is available now, and a plan for the week ahead. And a photo.

Oh, and I should also mention that on Thursday and Friday I had the distinct pleasure of presenting a two-day “Writing for the Web” course at the University of Technology Sydney (UTS). It made a lovely change from my usual solitary work.

Articles

Here’s everything I’ve written since Weekly Wrap 211.

Media Appearances

Quite a few since the last Weekly Wrap, but none this week. Watch out for blog posts as I publish the backlog.

5at5

Is listing them here pointless? Just head over to the 5at5 site, and either subscribe or browse back through the recent editions.

Corporate Largesse

None this week. I’ll report the rest in the next Weekly Wrap.

The Week Ahead

Monday is about finishing a column for ZDNet Australia and producing an episode of The 9pm Edict, as well as wrapping up some geekery for a client.

Tuesday and Wednesday I’ll be in Sydney covering the ADMA Global Forum for Crikey and Technology Spectator. I’m particularly looking forward to meeting Bob Garfield, co-presenter of WNYC’s On the Media.

Also on Tuesday evening I’m heading to the OpenAustralia Foundation pub night.

On Thursday there’s a media briefing on various information security matters by Cisco and, in the evening, drinks with executives from Oracle.

Friday will see me wrapping up whatever media objects need completing, and then the weekend is unplanned.

And at various points through the week I’ll be trialling a Microsoft Nokia Lumia 930 smartphone, their latest flagship model, with particular attention being given to the camera.

[Photo: The Tower at Dusk, being a shot of a mobile phone tower at Katoomba in the Blue Mountains earlier this evening.]

Weekly Wrap 198: Secrets, security, Sydney and more wine

Sydney skyline, with frigate: click to embiggenMy week of Monday 17 to Sunday 23 March 2014 was a busy one, and moderately productive. I am happy with it.

Apart from the media objects listed here, I did quite a bit of background work on a SEKRIT project that I’ll announce on Tuesday. The only hint for now is that it’s something that quite a few people have been wanting for a while now.

Articles

Media Appearances

5at5

We’re back up to four out of five days being published. Excellent.

Corporate Largesse

  • On Monday I went to an event with a delightful name: Dell Australia’s Steak, Storage & Solutions Media & Analyst Lunch at Kingsley’s Steak & Crabhouse in Woolloomooloo. Obviously they paid for the food and wine.
  • On Tuesday I went to a media briefing by Imperva at Wolfies Restaurant, Circular Quay, where of course they paid for the food and wine. Imperva also gave us: A rather nice branded notebook; a branded pen; and a well-made carry bag to put them in. M.Tech, one of Imperva’s channel partners, gave us: A branded water bottle, carry bag, and business card holder.
  • On Tuesday I finally got around to checking my postbox, where I discovered that Sourcefire had sent me a six-pack of Sierra Nevada Pale Ale and a branded bottle opened / key ring to open them with. Thanks for that.

The Week Ahead

It’ll be a busy week. Indeed, it’s the first week of a challenging three months ahead. I’ll tell you more about that later, but one key issue is that I need to decide how I’ll ramp up my revenue in the coming quarter. I have plenty of ideas, I just have to choose — and choose wisely.

On Monday I’ll be doing the final planning for the SEKRIT thing to be announced on Tuesday, as well as speaking with my editors about their needs for the next month or so.

On Wednesday I’m heading into Sydney for a few things, including the SANS Australia Community Night presentation Why Do Organisations Get Compromised? I’ll then stay in Sydney overnight, and on Thursday I’ll write my ZDNet Australia column before heading back up the hill.

Friday has been kept clear for work on my legacy business Prussia.Net, although that may change. The weekend is currently unplanned.

[Photo: Sydney skyline, with frigate, 17 March 2014, being a photograph taken from the steps leading from Potts Point down to Woolloomoloo. In the background is the Sydney CBD. In the foreground, mostly hidden behind trees, is a Royal Australian Navy frigate docked at Fleet Base East.]

Weekly Wrap 190: Wattle you know, some productivity!

Australia Day in the eucalypt forest: click to embiggenMy week of Monday 20 to Sunday 26 January 2014 saw the return of something approaching productivity, as well as a stabilisation of the chaos. Excellent.

I’ve also started to get a clearer idea of where I want to take my media work in 2014, but more about that another time.

Articles

Media Appearances

Corporate Largesse

  • On Tuesday one of the police sergeants at Katoomba gave me two packets of blue jelly beans. This is not a euphemism. They were part of the community outreach they were doing at the Katoomba Village shops. They were yummy.

There was nothing more substantial, surprisingly. But the coming week has some, and I’m looking forward to it.

The Week Ahead

I’ve finally caught up with these posts, so it’s now worth writing about my plans again. I wonder how long this will last?

As I write this on a holiday Monday afternoon, I’m still in the Blue Mountains. However I plan to be in Sydney overnight on Tuesday and Thursday, in both cases because there’s a good chance that certain business-social events in the evening could run a bit late. Or a bit messy. Or both. I’ll be in Sydney Tuesday through to Friday.

As always, the plan could change at short notice, so either pay attention to my Twitter stream or look at the calendar.

Tuesday will primarily be about mapping out the next few weeks — something that needs re-doing after the unproductive weeks disrupted my previous version of the plan. I won’t jinx it now by proposing when I do what, however. Let’s just watch it unfold.

[Update 28 January 2014, 1055 AEDT: Deleted references to being in Sydney on Tuesday. Plans changed.]

[Update 29 January 2014, 1610 AEDT: Changed references to when I’d be in Sydney again. Because plans changed again.]

[Photo: Australia Day in the eucalypt forest, being a lovely rendition of a wattle of some description on a quiet, drizzly day. Now bad for a photo taken on a bashed-up smartphone.]

Weekly Wrap 188: Long views to launch another long year

My week of Monday 6 to Sunday 12 January 2014 saw the start of some productivity for 2014, but for various reasons was relatively slow — and as usual when I’m posting late, it’s “just the facts”.

Articles

  • 2014, the year that infosec gets political, CSO Online, 6 January 2014. This was actually written at the very end of November 2013 for a print publication handed out through December, which is why it’s missing some of the most recent Snowden revelations.
  • Australian retailers recruiting generals for yesterday’s war, ZDNet Australia, 10 January 2014. I don’t often write about retail, but the decisions by both Myer and David Jones to search for new CEOs without specifically looking for online clue struck me as a particularly daft strategy.

Media Appearances

None.

Corporate Largesse

None. It’ll be another week or two before the hospitality starts flowing again.

Fine posts for 2013, such that they are

As in previous years, the list of most popular posts for 2013 was disappointing, so I’ve hand-curated this list of seven stories for you to consider instead.

As usual, this does not include the material I wrote elsewhere, for ZDNet Australia, Technology Spectator, CSO Online, Crikey, ABC The Drum and the rest. That’s all listed on my Media Output page, although I’ll probably highlight a few articles of enduring interest some time in the next few days.

  1. See this, folks? It’s a picture of democracy, being my defence of the Daily Telegraph’s right to conduct whatever party-political campaigning they like. Even if you don’t like it, the newspaper does still have freedom of political speech.
  2. Microsoft has banned me from covering TechEd, which I still consider to have been an ill-thought move on their part.
  3. My guest lecture in March to first-year journalism and media studies students at the University of Technology Sydney (UTS) on Algorithms and the Filter Bubble, plus the updated versions from August, Take 2A and Take 2B. All three are available as audio files, plus the accompanying slides.
  4. Why people who say “train station” sound stupid, being my first foray into computational linguistics.
  5. My fish are dead: the black dog ate them (an explanation?), being an announcement and discussion about my encounter with severe depression this year — something which still has a significant impact on my life.
  6. Six Pigeons for Jeffrey, being my personal photographic tribute to this fascinating Australian artist.
  7. Hillary’s mangoes, no NSA involved, which is more about the daft reactions to Edward Snowden’s revelations of the NSA’s surveillance operations.

If you’d like to compare this with previous years, try these: