AusCERT 2011: the good, the iPad, the insecure

AusCERT 2011: the good, the iPad, the insecure

Summary: The AusCERT 2011 is over and the sun has set on the exhibition floor for another year. ZDNet Australia brings you the highlights of the conference.

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TOPICS: ZDNetLive, iPad, Security
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The AusCERT 2011 is over and the sun has set on the exhibition floor for another year. ZDNet Australia brings you the highlights of the conference.

Day 1: Bennett Arron, welsh comedian and identity theft victim, recalled a bizarre conversation with customer service when trying to track down a person who was using his identity.

After he explained that his identity had been stolen, the company refused to disclose the active address on the account because of the UK's data protection laws.

Customer services: we can't give you somebody else's information.

Bennett: but he is pretending to be me.

Customer services: therefore, not you. And under the Data Protection Act, we can't give you that.

Half an hour later, Bennett called up the same number, pretending to be himself, and asked them for his address. And they gave it to him.

Day 2: Former ZDNet Australia journalist Ben Grubb made the headlines after his iPad was confiscated by the police. His crime was to publish a photograph obtained using a brute force attack on Facebook's URL system. Before you know it, Grubb had been arrested, unarrested and gained a couple of thousand new Twitter followers.

I did make at least one new friend this year — Will Gragido, an ex-marine from Chicago, who explained how modern warfare relies on bits as much as it does bombs and bullets. Gragido has written a book on the subject, titled Cybercrime and Espionage: An Analysis of Subversive Multi-Vector Threats.

Day 3: ZDNet Australia held its Tough Talk on cloud security. Eugene Kaspersky was on form again...

"I suggest not to use the term 'security' because there is no security in this world. I will believe in aliens but not in security," he said.

To finish off the main conference there was the speed debating session where all gloves were off. I thought the days of bashing Microsoft for producing crappy code were long gone. It seems I was wrong.

During one debate, which was about whether website owners should be held responsible if their site serves malware, Verizon's VP for National Security Policy Marcus Sachs took a little dig at Maarten Van Horenbeeck, who works in Microsoft's product security response team.

"Let the website owners do what they need to do. If you want to hold someone responsible [takes a long look at Maarten] those who write operating systems that might be somewhat buggy could be the first you might want to have a look at," said Sachs.

This was another top effort by the AusCERT conference team. Thanks to AusCERT general manager Graham Ingram and especially AusCERT business manager Claire Groves.

Topics: ZDNetLive, iPad, Security

Munir Kotadia

About Munir Kotadia

Munir first became involved with online publishing in 1998 when he joined ZDNet UK and later moved into print publishing as Chief Reporter for IT Week, part of ZDNet UK, a weekly trade newspaper targeted at Enterprise IT managers. He later moved back into online publishing as Senior News Reporter for ZDNet UK.

Munir was recognised as Australia's Best Technology Columnist at the 5th Annual Sun Microsystems IT Journalism Awards 2007. In the previous year he was named Best News Journalist at the Consensus IT Writers Awards.

He no longer uses his Commodore 64.

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