The week in security: OAIC promotes breach notification as Apple, Google hit

A study of Android mobile applications found that many popular apps fail to take even basic precautions to protect users' data. Despite this, some were arguing that it's not as dangerous as it seems to provide payment card information to many online services.

That may be news to US home-renovations giant Home Depot, which suffered the ignominy of a massive payment-systems breach and now may face a federal investigation of its data-security practices.

Despite drawing heat, Home Depot's move to publicly confirm the breach reflects a growing trend towards breach notification that seems to have gained traction in Australia: recently revised data breach guidelines from the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner specifically talk about the importance of notification after a confirmed privacy breach. Verisign's CSO agrees, saying that even DDoS attack victims need to involve the police.

Google lived up to this trend – sort of – by openly discussing a leaked list of 5 million Gmail credentials, although the company said the incident wasn't a breach since it hadn't actually been hacked.

While they freely recognise the importance of data security, many companies are still reluctant to pay enough to lure security talent in a highly skills-competitive world. The NSA isn't one of them, by all accounts, since its security experts have proved so good at their work that the tech industry is lobbying the US Senate to pass the USA Freedom Act and end the organisation's bulk collection of phone data.

Speaking of law enforcement, analysis of Silk Road's CAPTCHA code was the thing that led the FBI to its main servers, according to reports. Also in reports was a study that found most Craigslist buyer scams are perpetrated by just five gangs in Nigeria – although Chinese criminals are apparently also putting on a strong showing as increasing profits and lowering prices for crimeware fuels online marketplaces for the launching of cyber-attacks.

Those marketplaces are far from the only places where cyber-attacks are occurring, though: a report from Cisco Systems said that malicious advertising had hit Amazon, YouTube and Yahoo. OpenSSL was warning vendors against marketing themselves based on OpenSSL security advisories, while Apple began emailing people when iCloud is accessed via the Web in what was seen as a response to the large-scale celebrity nude photo hack just days before the launch of its iPhone 6, Apple Watch and associated Apple Pay ecosystem – which elicited cautious optimism from security professionals.

Also raising privacy concerns was Microsoft's Delve enterprise social-media offering, which had some people worried about the implications of its design. A popular Joomla e-commerce extension proved to have a problematic vulnerability.

The UK Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) fined a worker for taking company data when he left his job, although it's hardly going to be the last time: security observers were warning companies that the emerging wear your own device (WYOD) trend of wearable technology was likely to cause headaches for security managers.

This article is brought to you by Enex TestLab, content directors for CSO Australia.

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