Weekly Wrap 370: One and a half launches and climbing

Taking off for new adventuresMy week of Monday 26 June to Sunday 2 July 2017 was strangely quiet, but also strangely productive. It’s a fine start for the new financial year.

I’m even fixing my broken time-management systems, and that’s just one of the reasons I finally feel like I’m climbing out of a low patch.

Articles

I wrote a second piece for ZDNet, which will be posted on Monday.

Media Appearances

On Tuesday night Australian time, the ransomware known variously as Petya or NotPetya amongst other things, spread across the planet. Inevitably, I ended up talking about it in the media on Wednesday. I did radio spots on 3AW Melbourne, ABC Brisbane (where I also spoke briefly about the €2.4 billion fine copped by Google), ABC Melbourne, and various ABC News reports. I also appeared on Channel TEN’s The Project.

And on Friday evening, I spoke about Australia’s new cyber warfare unit (briefly) and other matters with Peter Goers on ABC Adelaide.

Podcasts, Corporate Largesse

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Talking Facebook audio snooping on The Project

Screenshot of Stilgherrian on The ProjectGiven that Facebook is the biggest social network on the planet, and therefore the biggest data miner of them all, there was naturally plenty of media interest in the privacy implications of their latest feature: audio matching.

As explained in these stories at ZDNet and The Independent, and in Facebook’s own blog post, the new Facebook app can use your smart device’s microphone to identify the music you’re listening to or the TV program you’re watching.

On Thursday I spoke about this on Channel TEN’s The Project. “Look I wouldn’t trust Facebook, personally, as far as I could spit a cow,” I said.

Over the fold you’ll find the video of the entire four-minute segment — starting off with a “package”, as they’re called, featuring Angus Kidman, editor of Lifehacker.com.au, followed by the panel interviewing me. The presenters are Carrie Bickmore, Ray Martin (yes, that Ray Martin), Jo Stanley and Lemo.

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Talking RATs and webcams on The Project

Screenshot from The Project, 28 February 2014It’s been a while since I got to talk directly to The Project presenters, but I did so last night. And I was captioned as a “Cyber Security Commentator”, which is obviously a bit special.

The story was about the security risks of webcams. Presenter Gorgi Coglan introduced it thusly:

What if I told you that the webcam in your computer could be under the control of someone on the other side of the planet, and watching everything you do right now?

I was pleased that The Project introduced the Channel TEN audience to RATs, or remote administration (or access) tools, and managed — as they nearly always do — to strike the right balance between scary and funny.

Over the fold you’ll find the video of the entire four-minute segment — starting off with a “package”, as they’re called, featuring Hacklabs director Chris Gatford, followed by the panel interviewing me.

It was the Friday team, so that panel consisted of presenter Gorgi Coglan, comedian Lehmo, the inimitable Waleed Aly and, just to be different, Richie Sambora, guitarist of Bon Jovi fame.

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Talking Google and privacy on The Project

Screenshot from The Project, 13 December 2013On Friday 13 December I recorded some grabs for the Channel TEN program The Project, which were used that night in a story about Google’s idea of putting microphones in your house so that their “digital assistant” software could figure out how it could help you next.

I was amazed that Google would even suggest this idea so soon after they were linked to Edward Snowden’s revelations about the US National Security Agency (NSA). But then again, Google is a many-headed hydra of an organisation. It can walk and chew gum at the same time. Badly.

The Project only ended up using two of the grabs, but over the fold you’ll find the video of the entire four-minute segment — including some guy called Mark Pesce in the studio, talking to the panel.

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Talking geoblocking on The Project

Screenshot from The ProjectI am continually intrigued by the choices of stories that I end up talking about on Channel TEN’s The Project — like bouncing off the release of a parliamentary report on IT pricing to discuss how to avoid geoblocking.

It’s nearly two weeks since we recorded some sound bites at the foot of Sydney Harbour Bridge. The story was originally scheduled to air the following night. But on the day there was a far better yarn to tell — the anniversary of MMS, which could lead to some fun sexting jokes — and then the prime minister called the election. I was starting to assume that the story had been spiked.

But no, it went to air on Monday night, and it turned out to be quite a good explanation of the issue and how to get around the geoblocks — as well as the risks.

The video of the three-minute segment, including comments fore and aft by the presenters, is over the fold.

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