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.

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

Talking the eBay data breach on ABC The World Today

ABC logoFollowing the earlier report on AM, ABC Radio’s The World Today explored the eBay data breach story further, looking at the potential for identity theft.

The reporter was Will Ockenden, and here’s how presenter Eleanor Hall introduced the item:

Internet retailing giant eBay is admitting today that the hacking of its computer systems three months ago could affect all 145 million users of the auction website.

The company has defended the time it has taken to discover the unauthorized access to its network, and the two week delay in letting its users know that their private information was stolen.

Internet security analysts say they now expect a rise in the number of secondary attacks, as hackers attempt to exploit other sites.

eBay users should change their passwords immediately, and if they use the same password anywhere else, they should change the password there too — and invest in password management software so they can start using different random, complex passwords for every online service.

Here’s the full story, served directly from the ABC website, where you can also read the transcript.

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The audio is of course ©2014 Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

Taking Heartbleed on ABC Radio “The World Today”

ABC logoBy Thursday, news of the Heartbleed security bug had permeated from the technical press and the odd radio talk show into mainstream current affairs.

And so it was that ABC Radio’s Will Ockenden spoke to me for a story on the lunchtime current affairs program, The World Today.

Online security experts are warning today that nearly every user of the web over the last two years is exposed to a security bug sweeping the internet. Known as Heartbleed, the bug is a serious vulnerability in a piece of encryption software which secures data on nearly two in three web servers. It’s now a race between the server administrators and hackers to either fix the software in time or come under attack.

Here’s the full story, served directly from the ABC website, where you can also read the transcript.

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The audio is of course ©2014 Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

Talking Tor and related matters on ABC The World Today

ABC logoMid-morning today I received a phone call from ABC journalist David Mark, who was after a backgrounder on the Tor network the lunchtime current affairs program The World Today. His call brought me the news of what appears to be a significant win in the battle against online child exploitation.

Fourteen arrests were made as part of Operation Round Table, which according to the (American) ABC, was an investigation led by the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), US Postal Inspection Service and federal authorities in Louisiana.

The roughly 250 victims were spread across 39 states and five other countries — Australia, Belgium, Britain, Canada and New Zealand. Most were boys between 13 and 15. Two victims were 3 or younger, authorities said.

The pornographic images were shared on an underground website on the Tor network, an online anonymity network that masks the location of servers and conceals an Internet user’s location. The subscription-based website operated from about June 2012 until June 2013, had more than 27,000 members and shared more than 2,000 webcam-captured videos, mostly of young boys, authorities said.

There’s further material in the (Australian) ABC story, Australian victims among 251 identified in ‘members only’ child porn website.

The World Today ran Mark’s four-minute story, including comments from US secretary of homeland security Jeh Johnson, and federal attorney-general for Louisiana Kenneth Polite, as well as my own small contribution.

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The audio is of course ©2014 Australian Broadcasting Corporation, served here directly from their website —– where you can also read a full transcript.

If you’d like some more information on how Tor works, and how users’ mistakes can lead to their anonymity being rather less effective than they’d hoped, my Crikey Clarifier: how the FBI hacked users of Tor, the ‘secret internet’ from August 2013 could be a useful starting-point.

Talking Bitcoin arrests on ABC The World Today

ABC logoOn Tuesday, news reached us that two men connected with the digital currency Bitcoin had been arrested in the US — one a prominent advocate, the other the operator of a currency exchange.

ABC Radio’s lunchtime current affairs program The World Today did a story about it the same day, in which I made a few brief comments. The reporter was Tom Nightingale. Here’s the audio.

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The audio is of course ©2014 Australian Broadcasting Corporation, served here directly from their website — where you can also read a full transcript.

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.