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Conversations 14: Joe Franzi, Australian Signals Directorate

Photo of Joe FranziJoe Franzi, Assistant Secretary for Cyber Security with the Australian Signals Directorate (ASD), gives his first on-record media interview in his five years in that role.

It’s not often that we get to hear from people like Joe Franzi. He’s been working in Australia’s defence and intelligence community for more than 37 years. Most recently, that’s been with the ASD, formerly the Defence Signals Directorate (DSD), Australia’s equivalent to, and partner with, the US National Security Agency.

The ASD isn’t just cyber spies. Like the NSA, it’s also responsible for defending government, military and other critical communications networks. That’s where Franzi currently fits in, and for the last year his team has been the defence-sector contribution to the Australia Cyber Security Centre (ACSC), opened a year ago.

A spoiler: there’s no grand secrets in this interview. Maybe next time. But what you will hear is some intelligent comments about risk management — including a view on whether Australia’s new prime minster Malcolm Turnbull should really be using commercial email services — and about the cultural issues that come up when you put together a cyber defence team from disparate organisations.

This interview was recorded on Thursday 15 October 2015 in Melbourne, Australia, during the annual conference of the Australian Information Security Association (AISA).

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Thank You

This episode of Corrupted Nerds was sponsored by Mercury ISS.

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Episode Notes

  1. Australian Signals Directorate.
  2. Australian Cyber Security Centre.
  3. Take a lead from Turnbull’s ‘forward-leaning’ infosec posture: senior ASD officer, ZDNet, 19 October 2015.
  4. Telstra’s Five Knows of Cyber Security are detailed in the company’s Cyber Security Report 2014 (PDF).
  5. Bug bounties and pentesting: the Wild West of online security, ABC Radio National’s Future Tense, 29 November 2015.

[Photo: Photo of Joe Franzi courtesy Department of Defence. Digital Manipulation by Stilgherrian.]

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