Conroy slur risked public panic: McAfee

Conroy slur risked public panic: McAfee

Summary: Communications Minister Stephen Conroy could have incited massive fear and panic in the community by accusing Google of capturing banking details, according to McAfee's chief technology officer for Asia Pacific, Michael Sentonas.

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Communications Minister Stephen Conroy could have incited massive fear and panic in the community by accusing Google of capturing banking details, according to McAfee's chief technology officer for Asia Pacific, Michael Sentonas.

Google admitted to capturing data over unsecured Wi-Fi networks through its Street View cars in May and took the cars off the road. Last month, in one of a number of attacks aimed at the internet giant, Conroy claimed some of the information captured could have included personal banking information.

"[If] you were doing a banking transaction, or transmitting personal information, they could have hoovered it up, sucked it up into their machine," Conroy told ABC Television last month.

"I don't think it helps to make general statements like that," Sentonas said. "It can incite massive fear and panic in the community, particularly around older people who aren't as familiar with the internet."

Sentonas said that due to the encryption and other security measures used by banks it was unlikely that any banking data was captured and what would have been captured would have been of very little use to anyone.

He added that while McAfee was reserving judgement on Google as the Australian Federal Police and the privacy commissioner continued to investigate the case, capturing so much data from Wi-Fi on its Street View cars is a "strange accident" to have happened.

Sentonas also believes the rising popularity of Google's Android will lead to an increase in malware on smartphone devices. Unlike Apple's iPhone, where every application goes through an approval process before it can be downloaded through the Apple store, the open source nature of Android leaves users open to vulnerabilities from unsigned applications.

"It's not like a year or two ago," he said. "Android is huge now, and the management for it does not exist."

Earlier this year McAfee launched its first antivirus application for Android. Last month the company introduced its first application for the iPhone, which includes search filtering and GPS locating for parents of children with iPhones.

Topics: Android, Google, Government AU, Security

About

Armed with a degree in Computer Science and a Masters in Journalism, Josh keeps a close eye on the telecommunications industry, the National Broadband Network, and all the goings on in government IT.

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6 comments
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  • Mr Conroy: Get a BASIC education before making such misguided and ridiculous accusations.

    If a person were to be online to his bank at the time of one of Google's accidental captures, it would have been an HTTPS connection which is encrypted between user and bank.

    Google has much better things to do than hack away at HTTPS encryption just to find out that the average Australian only has $10.00 in his bank account; the "well-off" $75.00; and the real bludgers on the community, politicians, $150,000.00 in the "petty cash" jar.
    Treknology
  • Mr Conroy is scaremongering, a detestable practice politicians love, to divert attention from the extreme unpopularity of his policies and their implementation.
    kipholbeck
  • ...and he deserves a smacking. I'd love to be the one to smack him. He's a complete tool.
    alfielee@...
  • Conroy definitely instills fear and panic in me. He's the scariest politician around.
    Scott W-ef9ad
  • Conboy is mad because Net users refuse to roll over and accept his grubby power play to impose his brand of censorship and control.

    So what does he do? Tries to create a diversion by stupidly attempting to portray Google as one of the greatest threats to privacy. We'll get the rest of his "thinking" after the election when he announces that govt control of Internet use will be expanded because of this "threat".

    If only the opposition had a better understanding of these issues, and a shadow minister who knew what he was talking about.
    gnome-8be8a
  • Google now needs to take legal action against Conroy - for slander. It has now reached the point where legally they now have grounds.

    This is also the only way he will stop shooting his mouth off, and start acting responsibly.
    Interweb-6272f