Weekly Wrap 410: Unexpected crickets before Canberra

Cricket!This is about Monday 2 to Sunday 8 April 2018, but let’s get on with the details.

Podcasts

  • “The 9pm Probe: Dr Alice Gorman, space archaeologist”, being The 9pm Edict episode 76. You can also listen to it on SoundCloud and Spreaker. This is the pilot episode of what I hope will become a regular addition to The 9pm Edict cycle, a series of long-form interviews with interesting people. Please let me know what you think.

Articles

Media Appearances

Corporate Largesse

None.

The Week Ahead

It’s going to be a big one. On Monday morning I’m heading down to Sydney, where I’ll do some important preparations, like getting a haircut. I’ll also be continuing with the research on that SEKRIT editorial project. I’ll be able to tell you about that eventually, but not just yet.

On Tuesday I’m taking the 1201 train to Canberra, doing a bunch of stuff en route. That evening, I’m covering a panel discussion at the Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI), Stopping a Cyber Threat on Our Election: US and Australian Experiences. Should be interesting.

On Wednesday and Thursday, I’m covering the Australian Cyber Security Centre (ACSC) Conference, so on Friday I reckon I’ll still be writing about that. There’s usually a bunch of stories.

I’ll stay in Canberra until late Saturday afternoon, and have a lazy day in Sydney on Sunday.

[Photo: Cricket! A large and, I think, female cricket found at Bunjaree Cottages near Wentworth Falls on 2 April 2018.]

Talking the Yahoo data breach on ABC The World Today

ABC logo“The internet company Yahoo has revealed it has been hacked again, this time losing a billion user accounts,” began ABC Radio’s The World Today report on Thursday.

Guess which muppet was interviewed by journalist Will Ockenden? Yeah, me.

Here’s the full four-minute story.

Play

The audio is ©2016 Australian Broadcasting Corporation, and is being served directly from the ABC website.

Talking medical device hacks on ABC The World Today

ABC logoWhenever there’s news of a medical device being hacked, it gets a lot of attention — and rightly so. So when cardiac devices made by St Jude Medical got some attention, I did a radio spot.

ABC Radio journalist Lindy Kerin recorded a brief interview with me on 25 October, and fragments were used in this 5-minute story from The World Today, and in a separate written story, Cyber security experts claim St. Jude cardiac implants vulnerable to life-threatening hacks.

Play

The audio is ©2016 Australian Broadcasting Corporation, and is being served directly from the ABC website.

Talking Samsung’s phone vulnerability on The World Today

ABC logoHundreds of millions of Samsung smartphones have a serious security vulnerability. The company has known about it since December, but hasn’t done anything about it. I spoke about this on ABC Radio’s The World Today on Thursday.

A software bug is making around 600 million Samsung mobile phones around the world vulnerable to attack. The bug in the phone’s keyboard software could allow hackers to read text messages and to view and take photos. It was found by a US computer security company which informed Samsung late last year.

If you want the technical details, read the Ars Technica story, New exploit turns Samsung Galaxy phones into remote bugging devices.

Here’s the three-and-a-half minute radio story. There’s also a transcript, and a written news story, Samsung phones vulnerable to cyber attacks because of software bug.

Play

The audio is ©2015 Australian Broadcasting Corporation, and it’s being served here directly from the ABC website.

Since this report aired, Samsung has said that it will fix this vulnerability, but not all Samsung smartphone owners will receive the fix immediately.

Talking SIM cards, spooks and hacks on The World Today

ABC logoOn 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.

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The audio is ©2015 Australian Broadcasting Corporation. It’s served here directly from the ABC website, where you can also read a transcript.

Talking Twitter’s business on ABC Radio’s The World Today

ABC logoOn Friday I was interviewed about Twitter’s latest quarterly results by ABC Radio’s lunchtime national current affairs program, The World Today — and in particular the potential future impact of bullying and trolling. And here’s the result.

“Twitter CEO admits cyber bullying poses threat to revenue growth,” was the story’s headline, and this is how presenter Peter Lloyd introduced it:

“The social media giant Twitter is being been forced to confront a serious threat to its profitability – cyber bullying. In internal emails leaked to a news website, the Twitter’s CEO says he ashamed of his company’s handling of bullies. Dick Costolo says harassed users are abandoning the service and as part of the quarterly financial results announcement overnight, Twitter reported disappointing user growth in the final three months of last year.”

The reporter was Pat McGrath.

Play

The audio is ©2015 Australian Broadcasting Corporation. The audio is being served directly from the ABC website, where you can also read a transcript.