Talking the “dark web” on ABC 891 Adelaide

ABC logoIt was a week for extended radio conversations about the darker side of the internet, it seems.

Not only did I speak about Anonymous on ABC 774 Melbourne, on Friday night I spoke about that ill-defined phenomenon known as the “dark web” on ABC 891 Adelaide with evening presenter Deb Tribe. And here is that conversation.

This audio is ©2015 Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

Talking Ruxcon, hacking, Dark Web on ABC 774 Melbourne

ABC logoThis evening I did one of my now (ir)regular spots on ABC 774 Melbourne, and since I’d been at Ruxcon over the weekend, that conference was an obvious topic.

Presenter Lindy Burns and I started off talking about the origins of the word “hacker”, and that led into a brief history of cybercrime, before we got into the so-called “dark web” and Silk Road… and even the risks of smart TVs.

Here’s the entire 23-minute conversation exactly as it aired — and as Ms Burns herself freely admits, it strayed well away from our planned topics.

The audio is ©2015 Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

Weekly Wrap 233: From privacy around and back to privacy

The Central Points: click to embiggenMy week of Monday 17 to Sunday 23 November 2014 was pleasingly productive, and struck a better balance between work and leisure time than the previous week. This pleases me.

I also suspect that Saturday night’s New Moon heralded the start of a new cycle of something or other, because so far Sunday has felt very different. We shall see.



There were editions of the 5at5 email newsletter on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday. Why not subscribe so you receive them all?

Media Appearances

Corporate Largesse

  • On Monday, I covered the iappANZ conference, so there was food and drink on offer, and so I consumed same. I also had too many drinks with certain ISOC-AU people afterwards.

The Week Ahead

On Monday, I’ll be writing a column for ZDNet Australia, and planning some technical work that’ll unfold in December.

On Tuesday, I’m heading in to Sydney for a lunchtime briefing by AVG Technologies. On the train, I’ll be working on a feature article for ZDNet Australia that’s due at the end of the month. I’ll complete that feature on Wednesday.

On Thursday, I’m writing another column for ZDNet Australia, and heading to Sydney for the annual internet industry boat party on Sydney Harbour, followed by further drinks in the evening. I’ll be staying in Sydney overnight.

On Friday, I’m writing a piece for Crikey, and starting work on another episode of The 9pm Edict podcast. That podcast will be finished on the weekend — although what else that weekend may hold is still to be determined.

[Photo: The Central Points, being part of a set of railway track points — what Americans would call “railroad switches” — photographed on 17 November 2014.]

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.

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 Tor and Silk Road on ABC Local Radio

ABC logoThis evening I had a lovely conversation on ABC Local Radio in Sydney and around NSW on the takedown of the Silk Road internet marketplace and the Tor anonymity software that made such anonymity possible.

The presenter was the redoubtable Dom Knight. Given that we last spoke in April, we had a lot to catch up on. Here’s the full audio.

The audio is of course ©2013 Australian Broadcasting Corporation, archived here because it isn’t being archived anywhere else. delays everything else in my life

The lack of posts since 15 January — including still not posting last week’s Weekly Wrap — is the direct result of me spending the entire week covering the 2012 conference in Ballarat. I’m exhausted. And today there’s still the War on the Internet forum to cover in Melbourne.

I’m exhausted. So it might be another day or two before I catch up with everything here. As usual, the best way to stay in touch with what I’m doing is my high-volume Twitter stream.