The week in security: Old malware continues onslaught as new devices found vulnerable

A broad study of equipment firmware found poor security practices are rife, with weaknesses presenting new opportunities for hackers to exploit the emerging 'Internet of Things'. Seemingly confirming their fears, a hacking contest found 15 new router vulnerabilities while others warned that the emergence of the 'Heartbleed' OpenSSL bug this year highlighted more severe underlying issues in hardware design.

The UK government-backed Cyber Security Challenge UK was trying to do something about all of this, with a plan to teach UK students aged 12 to 18 better cybersecurity skills in a rebadging of the US Cyber Patriot program. The Certificate Authority Security Council backed tighter SSL server rules to take effect from November 1, although it wasn't enough to save US supermarket chain Supervalu as it became the latest large company to suffer a major data breach.

There was strong movement in the identity and access management (IAM) space, with IBM purchasing Lighthouse Security Group for its identity capabilities and Microsoft's own strategy showing a strong basis in cloud services. Kaseya, for its part, was also buying big in better IAM, with the purchase of longtime partner Scorpion Software bringing new authentication capabilities to Kaseya's products.

As if to confirm the thrust of their investments, US based Educational Testing Service shared how it centralised its IAM and extended it into the cloud. Amazon was protecting its virtual desktops using two-factor authentication, while Google was refining its strategy for fighting targeted phishing attacks in its Gmail service and warning users of downloads that appear benign but aren't. And none too soon, as the new Kovter police blackmail Trojan spread its wings and raised concerns that old-style ransomware is back in fashion and the new Gameover Zeus (GOZ) botnet continued its own growth.

Other malware never left fashion, with reports that a longstanding vulnerability exploited by Stuxnet, Flame and other malware is being used to attack millions of Windows XP users around the world – four years after it was patched. Contractors' home networks were being flagged as a security threat – perhaps highlighting a built-in market for a home-network intrusion-prevention system – while others warned that the NSA's MonsterMind cyber-retaliation program is a bad idea that will lead to innocent parties being targeted.

UK government agency GCHQ was revealed to have scanned for vulnerable systems it could exploit across 32 countries, according to a German media report. Yet a tighter all-round focus on security may help justify the security of electronic voting, with the NSW Electronic Commission weighing in on the controversial (in Australia) practice. Also on the government security front, the Australian Signals Directorate granted AirWatch Secure Content Locker for iOS devices accreditation to PROTECTED level security status and the Australian Bureau of Statistics shared its experiences and its broader internal use of agile methodologies.

Join the CSO newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags security

More about Australian Bureau of StatisticsEducational Testing ServiceGCHQKaseyaNSASupervalu

Show Comments

Featured Whitepapers

Editor's Recommendations

Solution Centres

Stories by David Braue

Latest Videos

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: The Human Factor - Your people are your biggest security weakness

    ​Speakers: David Lacey, Researcher and former CISO Royal Mail David Turner - Global Risk Management Expert Mark Guntrip - Group Manager, Email Protection, Proofpoint

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: Current ransomware defences are failing – but machine learning can drive a more proactive solution

    Speakers • Ty Miller, Director, Threat Intelligence • Mark Gregory, Leader, Network Engineering Research Group, RMIT • Jeff Lanza, Retired FBI Agent (USA) • Andy Solterbeck, VP Asia Pacific, Cylance • David Braue, CSO MC/Moderator What to expect: ​Hear from industry experts on the local and global ransomware threat landscape. Explore a new approach to dealing with ransomware using machine-learning techniques and by thinking about the problem in a fundamentally different way. Apply techniques for gathering insight into ransomware behaviour and find out what elements must go into a truly effective ransomware defence. Get a first-hand look at how ransomware actually works in practice, and how machine-learning techniques can pick up on its activities long before your employees do.

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: Get real about metadata to avoid a false sense of security

    Speakers: • Anthony Caruana – CSO MC and moderator • Ian Farquhar, Worldwide Virtual Security Team Lead, Gigamon • John Lindsay, Former CTO, iiNet • Skeeve Stevens, Futurist, Future Sumo • David Vaile - Vice chair of APF, Co-Convenor of the Cyberspace Law And Policy Community, UNSW Law Faculty This webinar covers: - A 101 on metadata - what it is and how to use it - Insight into a typical attack, what happens and what we would find when looking into the metadata - How to collect metadata, use this to detect attacks and get greater insight into how you can use this to protect your organisation - Learn how much raw data and metadata to retain and how long for - Get a reality check on how you're using your metadata and if this is enough to secure your organisation

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: How banking trojans work and how you can stop them

    CSO Webinar: How banking trojans work and how you can stop them Featuring: • John Baird, Director of Global Technology Production, Deutsche Bank • Samantha Macleod, GM Cyber Security, ME Bank • Sherrod DeGrippo, Director of Emerging Threats, Proofpoint (USA)

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    IDG Live Webinar:The right collaboration strategy will help your business take flight

    Speakers - Mike Harris, Engineering Services Manager, Jetstar - Christopher Johnson, IT Director APAC, 20th Century Fox - Brent Maxwell, Director of Information Systems, THE ICONIC - IDG MC/Moderator Anthony Caruana

    Play Video

More videos

Blog Posts