The week in security: hackers work as quick as a Flash

The use of Facebook and Google credentials to log onto multiple services has been heralded as a benchmark in service integration, but a recent study has shown the protocols used to facilitate such logins remain woefully inadequate. This is a significant weak point in cloud-based services, while Microsoft's decision to release an anti-malware tool for its Azure cloud service seems to counter the company's own advice that one of Azure's benefits is to avoid reliance on security software.

Malware makers slipped a fake version of Adobe Flash called 'Aprenda' onto Google's Chrome Web Store – an attack that is quickly becoming more common. Perhaps tired of malware masquerading as Flash updates, the real Adobe introduced a silent update option with the latest version of its Flash Player.

The Chrome Web Store isn't the only place hackers are targeting: some warn that Board of Director information portals are being targeted by those seeking insider information, while new malware exploits a vulnerability in the Mac version of Microsoft Office to spread a remote-access Trojan horse.

Meanwhile, hacker group LulzSec claimed it had hacked a military-personnel dating website and stolen over 160,000 account details. MilitarySingles.com denied the attack, but there was evidence the information was in fact compromised.

They're just a few in the avalanche of malware that has plagued the world since 1984, which was effectively demonstrated by security firm AV-Test. Such firms are rushing as quickly as they can to keep up, with a group of researchers claiming a scalp as they shut down a second Kelihos botnet, while details emerged of a Chinese group that has been tied to a hacking campaign called Luckycat.

Yet, warnings circulated from no less than government body ACMA that 10,000 Australian users infected with the DNSChanger Trojan may find themselves unable to get online come July 9. It's a smaller-scale version of a threat from Anonymous to take down the entire Internet, which didn't eventuate but reinforced the continuing growth of co-ordinated hacktivism online. Interestingly, a DIY strategy for taking down the Sality botnet was outlined in great detail on a public mailing list.

Privacy was also in the spotlight, with the chairman of the US Federal Trade Commission going on record saying that a do-not-track law to protect Web users' privacy may be unnecessary; critics say such a plan would impose a significant regulatory burden. Yahoo, for its part, says it will implement do-not-track compliance later this year. Privacy may be equally elusive in bring-your-own device (BYOD) deployments, experts suggest, with some companies now demanding better information assurance and access to users' devices.

It's all part of an overall governance profile that every organisation must consider when weighing the business case for risk-management investments. requires more business, so it's essential for companies to find ways to securely collect and process information. Lack of appropriate safeguards can easily lead to hacks like the one experienced by MasterCard and VISA, from whom a massive quantity of details were stolen after a hack of payments processing firm Global Payments.

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