The week in security: iappANZ weighs privacy progress; Obama, industry fight government spying

Privacy Commissioner Timothy Pilgrim released a new Privacy Regulatory Action Policy as the iappANZ Privacy Summit kicked off. Also instructive on the policy front was Scotland's National Health Service, which shared its experience meeting healthcare privacy requirements with attendees. Vodafone's head of privacy was also on hand, pointing out that economics is playing an increasing role in discussions about the risks of privacy.

With data breaches on the rise and 320 discrete incidents last quarter leaking 183 million customer records – and things getting grimmer for retailers by the day – it's little wonder that many users are focused on exercising their right to be forgotten, with Google employing a large team of lawyers, engineers and paralegals to evaluate URLs requested for delisting.

One service that probably has many users wishing they could be forgotten is WhatsApp – which announced it now supports end-to-end encryption of messages between users. This followed on the trend of smartphone encryption, which is becoming an increasingly significant part of the security discussion. EFF and Mozilla certainly see it that way, with both supporting a new certificate authority that will issue free SSL/TLS certificates to Web site owners.

This, as a US government investigation questioned the value of privacy certifications from online provider TRUSTe. Others were concerned about thought leadership as the possibility of privacy as the Internet of Things takes hold.

US telco AT&T decided to stop using a 'permacookie' technique that allows it to track users' every move online, while Swedish ISP Bahnhof went several steps further by allowing its users to sign up for a free service that hides their every online move.

Also in the same vein, US president Barack Obama was urging legislators to pass the USA Freedom Act, which would ease the bulk collection of telephone records by the NSA. Efforts to rein in US government spying got support from Apple, Microsoft, Google, and others while the US government was also clamping down on a massive tech-support scam that was charging people for supposed lifetime support packages for a real antivirus product.

Whether or not all this enforcement effort would address reported mobile-phone surveillance planes being deployed by the US Department of Justice, was another question. But the US State Department, for its part, shut down its unclassified email system during the G20 to minimise possible damage from hackers, with subsequent reports suggesting the email system had already been hit by suspicious activity that had also been observed as malware authors turned their sights to pro-Tibet activists on the occasion of the G20.

It's hardly the only one: Android and iOS apps are still being cloned to spread malware, according to the latest survey of such apps. BitTorrent was dismissing security concerns raised about its Sync app, while a long-running Android botnet was evolving and said to pose a threat to corporate networks.

For its part, the PCI Council was looking for ways to tap into emerging security technologies to help prevent the kind of breaches that made this year one of the worst ever on the security front. The FIPS standard might be a help in some cases, and the USB Armory is another one.

Read more: Peeling back the darknet

But many companies may want to focus more on dealing better with DDoS attacks – which, Akamai recently warned, we're not very good at in Australia. Vietnam, India, and Indonesia have been pegged as the leaders in the DDoS front next year.

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

Join the CSO newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags Vodafone'sUSB Armory#iappanzBarack ObamaTrusteCSO AustraliaiappANZ Privacy SummitTimothy PilgrimEnex TestLabdata breachesWhatsAppPrivacy Regulatory Action Policyobamagovernment spying

More about AppleAT&TCSODepartment of JusticeEFFEnex TestLabFreedomGoogleiappANZMicrosoftMozillaNSATRUSTeUS Department of JusticeVodafone

Show Comments

Featured Whitepapers

Editor's Recommendations

Solution Centres

Stories by David Braue

Latest Videos

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: Will your data protection strategy be enough when disaster strikes?

    Speakers: - Paul O’Connor, Engagement leader - Performance Audit Group, Victorian Auditor-General’s Office (VAGO) - Nigel Phair, Managing Director, Centre for Internet Safety - Joshua Stenhouse, Technical Evangelist, Zerto - Anthony Caruana, CSO MC & Moderator

    Play Video

  • 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

More videos

Blog Posts

Market Place