The week in security: Australian cloud, managed security capabilities bolstered

Microsoft announced its upcoming Australian version of its Azure cloud platform had achieved government security certification. On similar lines, Microsoft also joined other technology providers in promising to protect student privacy, and developed a new way to securely isolate data and applications from the cloud infrastructure they're running on.

Optus and FireEye were building up their own local security credentials, expanding their security operations centre network in a move that's expected to add up to 150 skilled security staff in coming months. Symantec took the significant step of moving to split the company into two parts – freeing up its security business to move on its own merits.

The spirit of the open Internet is alive and well in Europe, it seems, with the European Union's ombudsman recommending that documents relating to mass surveillance by UK state agencies should be published. The EU also looks set to be more proactive on data protection as the incoming data-protection commissioner trashed-talked the US government's record in the area. Yet individual companies are trying to be more open, with Twitter the latest company to sue for the right to reveal more information about government requests for user information; on similar lines, federal judges were pressuring attorneys to clarify the rationale and constitutionality of government data requests.

Cloud-storage site Firedrive had some wondering if it was down for the count after a six-day outage, while there were concerns that a critical Bugzilla vulnerability could give hackers access to undisclosed software flaws. Others were noting the success of a Russian hacking group that had built a 500,000-strong botnet by exploiting flaws in Windows XP and Windows 7 computers.

Even as its continued use of four-digit passcodes was flagged as a weak point in the security of its iOS 8 operating system, Apple was updating Mac OS X's built-in malware feature after the 'iWorm' back door was found to have infected more than 18,000 Macs. Yahoo was also fixing bugs, with the company announcing it had fixed a bug that was mistaken for the high-profile Shellshock vulnerability (which continues to cause angst). And Android, never far from a discussion about security, saw a huge spike in malware that raised concerns about the expansion of mobile malware – particularly given the continuing appearance of aggressive malware and figures suggesting some 45 percent of Android devices are still using a Web browser vulnerable to recently discovered flaws.

While criminals took millions from ATMs around the world using specialised software using techniques some think were taken from a how-to guide for hacking the internals of ATMs, British broadcaster BSkyB was fighting back against hack attacks, deploying Splunk's big-data platform to help detect hack attempts.

They and others will need everything they can get as hackers continue using new techniques to break ground in their infiltrations. DDoS attackers, for example, are starting to use an obscure protocol called Simple Service Discovery Protocol (SSDP) to fuel large DDoS attacks.

Temporary picture-sharing service Snapchat appeared to have been compromised as 100,000 photos from the service were leaked, while US retailer Kmart was hacked in a move that compromised large numbers of credit and debit card credentials.

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

Read more: Oracle to pour 155 fixes on top of Microsoft and Flash Patch Tuesday

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