Weekly output: supply-chain attacks, Mark Vena podcast, password managers, 5G vs. IMSI catchers, fake vaccination cards

TALLINN, Estonia–I’m writing a post from the other side of the Atlantic for the first time since November of 2019 because of a press trip set up for this week by Estonia’s business-development types to show off the country’s tech sector. That sort of thing would be a non-starter were I on anybody’s staff, but I’m not and I’ve gotten a lot out of a few previous trips along these lines. It does help that Estonia is no Las Vegas in its approach to the pandemic. 

Screenshot of the story as seen in Safari on an iPad8/10/2021: More SolarWinds-style attacks are coming. Here’s how to stop them, Fast Company

I wrote up the keynote that opened Black Hat, in which security researcher (and excellent Twitter individual) Matt Tait outlined how getting hostile code into a software supply chain can yield rewards so outsized that attackers have to work extra to focus their attack.

8/11/2021: SmartTechCheck Podcast by Parks Associates, Mark Vena

This week’s edition of my tech-analyst pal’s podcast featured an unusually contentious debate over Apple’s announced plans to do on-device scanning of photos ready to be uploaded to iCloud for matches of known child sexual-abuse material.

8/12/2021: Best Password Managers of 2021, U.S. News & World Report

I contributed an update to the guide I helped write at the start of this year. My work this time includes profiles of 1Password, Bitwarden, Dashlane, Enpass, and LastPass, plus comparisons of 1Password and LastPass, Dashlane and LastPass, and 1Password and Dashlane.

8/13/2021: 5G defends against IMSI catchers – but implementation is critical, Light Reading

My Black Hat coverage-from-afar continued with this writeup of a briefing about 5G’s vulnerability to IMSI catchers, the fake base stations sometimes used by law-enforcement and national-security investigators as well as criminal enterprises to intercept people’s communications.

8/13/2021: Fake vaccination cards, Al Jazeera

I thought the Arabic-language news network would want me to talk about the technical difficulties involved in making counterfeit-proof vaccination cards, but instead they stuck to such big-picture queries as why people would even want to spend $100 or so on fake vax cards sold by random con artists on Telegram.

Weekly output: iPhone 12 (x3), Pippa Malmgren, sustainable online commerce, Fig O’Reilly, Apple vs. Telegram

In case you hadn’t heard, Apple announced a new set of iPhones this week.

10/13/2020: iPhone 12, Al Jazeera

The Arabic-language channel had me on to discuss the key features of this new lineup, starting with 5G. I felt sorry for the translator–the differences between millimeter-wave, low-band and mid-band 5G are confusing enough to native speakers of English.

10/14/2020: On Apple iPhone 12, it’s a battle of the 5G bands among AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile, USA Today

I’m still puzzled by all the airtime Verizon got at Apple’s event, because its millimeter-wave 5G service increasingly looks like an epic disappointment. T-Mobile’s mid-band makes a better case for 5G–if you’re in one of the markets with the superior 5G flavor that T-Mobile has yet to highlight on its own coverage maps.

10/14/2020: Fireside: Friends or Foes? The impact of AI & Robotics on the Modern Workforce, Dublin Tech Summit Virtual

The first of three pre-recorded talks I did for this online conference had me interviewing science advisor and roboticist Pippa Malmgren about the future of drones–on Earth and across the solar system.

10/14/2020: Panel Discussion: Shopping for Sustainability, Dublin Tech Summit Virtual

My second DTS panel–but the last one I recorded–had me quizzing Etsy sustainability director Chelsea Mozen and Zalando product head Mike Mulligan about how these two online platforms are working to make their operations and their supply chains carbon neutral. We stuck around afterwards in the conference’s chat forum to answer audience questions.

10/14/2020: Fireside: Reach for the Stars, Dublin Tech Summit Virtual

As I noted in opening my talk with Fionnghuala (Fig for short) O’Reilly, who among things helps make NASA’s Space Apps challenge happen, the two of us share a few things in common: We both went to college in D.C., hold Irish passports, have pronunciation-defying names and know the joy of experiencing space launches.

10/15/2020: Apple To Telegram: Delete Posts Exposing The Belarus Dictatorship’s Enforcers, Forbes

I had meant to write this post last week, but held off on it to get some input from outside experts. Fortunately, nothing changed with the underlying story of Apple making the bizarre decision to tell the developer of a social app to delete individual posts allegedly doxing people propping up the dictatorship of Alexander Lukashenko in Belarus.

10/17/2020: SmartTechCheck Podcast (10-16-20), Mark Vena

I returned to the podcast Vena hosts for his employer Moor Insights & Strategy to talk about the pros and cons of Apple’s iPhone 12 lineup with fellow tech journalists Stewart Wolpin and John Quain.