Talking John Brennan’s email breach on ABC’s PM

ABC logoOne of the more amusing information security stories last week was the news that CIA director John Brennan’s personal email account at AOL had been taken over by a couple of young hackers.

I ended up providing a few comments on ABC Radio’s PM on Thursday.

It’s a situation that would be deeply embarrassing for any CEO but for the director of the CIA to have his private email account accessed by hackers is beyond humiliating. Leaked emails appear to discuss the use of torture and to contain extensive details of the CIA chief’s private life. The CIA has condemned the hack as a crime, saying the hacked email was a family account. PM has obtained an interview with two people who claim to be the hackers. Sarah Dingle reports.

Here’s the entire 4-minute radio story.

Play

The audio is ©2015 Australian Broadcasting Corporation, and is being served directly from the program website, where there’s also a transcript.

Talking Stratfor hack on ABC TV’s “7.30”

I was interviewed for ABC TV’s current affairs program 7.30 yesterday about Anonymous’ hack of Stratfor. The story was Hack attack reveals Australians’ credit card details.

Interestingly, they chose to focus on the “liberation” of the credit card numbers and how it affected the Australian victims.

They didn’t use any of the material we recorded on who the various victims might be, what the still-to-come publication of some 2.7 million of Stratfor’s internal emails might reveal, and the effect that could have on both Stratfor and the individuals who’ve been feeding them information.

Indeed, this article by Barrett Brown makes it clear that those emails and other internal documents were the real target, not the credit card numbers. Anonymous is trying to give the impression that there’s some powerful stuff in there, but we’ll see.

I guess when you’ve only got six minutes and have to start with “Who is Anonymous?” and “Who is Stratfor?” then there’s not really enough time to get to “This is really a follow-up to Anonymous’ hack of HBGary Federal earlier in the year.”

Careful viewers will notice that reporter Sara Everingham described me as someone who “goes by the name Stilgherrian”, which is a bit of an oops but something that seemed to cause more distress to my Twitter followers than me.

Since some people have asked, I might as well tell you that the interview was shot in a spare office at the ABC’s Ultimo headquarters — rather different from the outdoor shot the last time I was on 7.30.

And despite the story being written and voiced by Sara Everingham, I was actually interviewed by Sarah Dingle. Ah, the Magic of Television!

The video in the story is Flash, so it won’t work on your iDevice. But there’s also an MP4 version of the video.

Talking hacker arrests on ABC’s “The World Today”

While I was busy writing an op-ed on the LulzSec vs Murdoch saga this morning — and I’ll post more about that momentarily — I got a phone call from ABC Radio’s lunchtime current affairs program The World Today to comment on the FBI’s arrest of alleged Anonymous-connected hackers overnight.

The story is TransAtlantic arrests target hackers, and if you click through you’ll get both transcript and audio. You’ll hear me, as well as Patrick Gray, presenter of the Risky Business podcast on information security. The reporter is Sarah Dingle.

I’d be interested to know what you think of these arrests.

Patrick reckons they arrested nobodies.

This current batch of arrests will “bring to justice” a bunch of people who made no attempt to conceal their actions because they’re either technically useless or just didn’t care.

They’re “low hanging anons”.

But that won’t stop the mainstream media from portraying this as the establishment striking back at online troublemakers.

I reckon that while that may or may not be true, the computers the FBI has just seized will be handy evidence when it comes to tracking down other culprits. After all, their operational security has hardly been world class.