Talking WireLurker, Google, Peta Credlin on 1395 FIVEaa

FIVEaa logoThe WireLurker malware that affects Apple’s iOS and OS X devices has been in the technical news this week. That caught Will Goodings’ eye, as did the Forbes list of the world’s 100 most powerful people. We chatted about both on Friday afternoon.

I wrote about WireLurker at Crikey, so I won’t repeat that here. Our conversation on 1395 FIVEaa fleshes out some of the issues. If you want to get into the technicals, you can always read the original report from Palo Alto Networks or the independent analysis by Jonathan Zdziarski.

As for the Forbes list, Goodings was wanting to chat about Google founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page jointly holding the number nine spot. Which we did. But he also was interested in my suggestions.

For the most powerful Australian, I nominated the prime minister’s chief of staff Peta Credlin. “Nothing goes into the prime minister’s ear without her say-so, and nothing comes out of the government onto the media without her say-so,” I said.

Goodings then added his own comments, based on having see Credlin at work. It’s worth listening to. It starts at 15 minutes 27 seconds. I’ll also extract them for the next episode of The 9pm Edict.

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The audio is ©2014 dmgRadio Australia.

Talking Telstra wholesale pricing on 1395 FIVEaa

FIVEaa logoTelstra is Australia’s biggest telco, and owner of the vast majority of the copper customer access network (CAN), the so called “last mile” — and it wants to raise its wholesale prices, charging other telcos 7.2% more.

“The move would affect almost every Australian with a phone line or an internet connection, because Telstra owns most of the copper phone lines that other telcos depend on to service their customers,” reported ABC News.

“The company leases about 4 million line services to rivals and has not raised wholesale prices since 2011.”

On Wednesday I spoke about the distinction between retail and wholesale telecommunications providers, and whether a 7.2% rise is reasonable, with Will Goodings on 1395 FIVEaa — after independent Senator Nick Xenophon has given his views.

Xenophon thought the rise was unreasonable, because Telstra had “gotten $11 billion” from NBN Co. I disagreed on both counts.

For reference, here’s the current Telstra Wholesale rate card (PDF).

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The audio is ©2014 dmgRadio Australia.

Talking voiceprint biometrics on 1395 FIVEaa

FIVEaa logo“Two of America’s biggest retail banks — JPMorgan Chase & Co, and Wells Fargo & Co — are quietly recording the biometric details of some callers’ voices to weed out fraud,” reported Associated Press this week. The news caught the eye of Will Goodings at 1395 FIVEaa in Adelaide. I told him that the Americans are way behind Australia on this one.

All of the Big Four banks here are already using voiceprints. In the case of NAB and Westpac, since about 2009.

In fact, Australia is a world leader in voiceprint technology. In a Patch Monday podcast from March 2012, I spoke with Dr Clive Summerfield, chief executive of Auraya, who told me that Australia’s social services agency Centrelink has been using voiceprints to identify callers since 2005, and more than 95% of callers are identified this way. Voiceprints are also used by the Australian Taxation Office.

Here’s a recording of the conversation we had on air on Friday afternoon, complete with a talkback caller who followed me.

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The audio is ©2014 dmgRadio Australia.

Talking the alleged Apple iCloud hack on 1395 FIVEaa

FIVEaa logoThe third and final of today’s radio spots about the alleged hack of Apple’s iCloud service was at lunchtime, so I’d had time to wake up and gather my thoughts — as well as see how the infosec community was reacting.

The afternoon presenter on 1395 FIVEaa in Adelaide, Will Goodings, gave it plenty of time too, some 14 minutes, so we covered quite a few issues — including the privacy implications of cloud technology generally.

I sound a bit tired or something, though. Possibly because I was tired.

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The audio is ©2014 dmgRadio Australia.

Today’s previous two radio spots were for Nova 100 Melbourne and ABC Radio’s AM.

Talking greatest inventions on 1395 FIVEaa Adelaide

[I’m finally tackling the backlog of media spots that need posting, some of them going back weeks. This is the first, from late June. — Stilgherrian.]

FIVEaa logoIt’s now 25 years since Australia got the internet, at least in terms of a permanent link. Will Goodings thinks the internet is humanity’s greatest invention, and I tend to agree. But what’s your choice?

We ended up speaking about this stuff on 1395 FIVEaa Adelaide on 26 June 2014, along with studio guest Ben Lewis, programs coordinator at RiAus, a science hub in Adelaide that emphasises the role of science and technology as being “as much a part of our cultural fabric as art, music, theatre and literature”.

Here’s the full conversation, as well as the first part of the talkback. The rather rough edit in the middle is to remove the ad break.

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The audio is ©2014 dmgRadio Australia.

Talking Facebook app privacy on 1395 FIVEaa Adelaide

FIVEaa logo“Facebook Messenger app has permission to spy on your phone,” screeched a headline on 9 News today. “The new Facebook Messenger app has permission to take pictures and videos without your confirmation and to call numbers without intervention, causing unexpected charges.”

This story caught the attention of 1395 FIVEaa Adelaide afternoon presenter Will Goodings. As you’ll hear, I talked him out of some of the scarier ideas, but did mention the issues of granularity in smartphone app permissions that I’ve written about before.

Here’s the full interview, plus a little end note about what we might do with Adelaide’s Festival Plaza. I present a modest proposal, as does a listener.

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The audio is ©2014 dmgRadio Australia.