The week in security: Now law in Australia, data retention challenged overseas

It was a banner week for the handling of personal information, with Australia's controversial metadata retention laws becoming law after Labor capitulated on its previous opposition to the legislation. Similar issues were at the fore in the US – where numerous technology companies pressed the US government to stop its collection of metadata – and Europe, where Dutch telcos were ordered to delete data retained under previous data-retention laws after they were found to be unconstitutional. And the EU's high court was set to revisit the ability of US companies to handle the zealously-protected personal information of EU citizens.

They weren't the only ones concerned about personal privacy: 25 US states were concerned about the potential sale of personal information about millions of customers of bankrupt retailer Radio Shack as a desperate money-raising exercise, with New York threatening to sue if the data is sold. Seems the prospect of putting financial values on private information is too much for even US authorities to bear – understandably so, given the millions of records being breached in cybersecurity attacks on a regular basis.

Meanwhile, the UN Human Rights Council supported the appointment of an independent watchdog to monitor digital privacy rights, while the US Federal Trade Commission wants to keep a close eye on the protections around the evolving Internet of Things (IoT), even as IoT vendors like iSmartAlarm increased their integration with the broader Internet.

Zero-day and Web browser vulnerabilities spiked in 2014, by some metrics, while distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks were on the rise again after plateauing late last year – with Akamai's latest State of the Internet report showing a 20 percent growth in the attacks as European countries displaced the US as their second-largest originator.

Even as several popular hotel Internet gateway devices were found to be vulnerable to hacking and Cisco Systems patched autonomic networking infrastructure flaws in its iOS based routers, a flaw in some Cisco small-business phones allows eavesdropping on conversations and a flaw in a Dell support tool could have put PCs at risk of malware infection.

There were warnings about a new point-of-sale malware program called PoSeidon, while game-streaming service Twitch announced it may have been hit by a data breach. And, compounding the problem of security vulnerabilities, software flaws reached an all-time high even as many Web sites were found to still suffer from Flash-based vulnerabilities detected three years ago.

Indeed, timeliness continues to be an ongoing problem in the efforts of businesses to detect and act upon cybersecurity breaches. One new survey found that 75 percent of companies believe it would take hours, days or even weeks before they noticed that a cybersecurity attack had occurred. One security startup believes the way to fix this is to record an entire year's worth of network traffic for later analysis.

With one in three of the top million Web sites either vulnerable to hacking or having already been hacked, it's clear the security skills market needs to adapt to keep up. Yet there's so much happening on the security landscape that it's hard enough for authorities to keep up, never mind the training organisations tasked with delivering adequate cybersecurity skills to the market.

One way of improving the situation is to increase the use of encryption in securing Web connections, Google and others have argued, but this raises issues with advertising that have yet to be fully resolved. Google picked up on potential use of bad digital certificates from an Egyptian company – which quickly fessed up to its error even as Microsoft moved to block the bogus certificates and Mozilla considered sanctions for the company. With other authorities recently being picked up doing the same, the need for online trust has again come into sharp focus.

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 metadata retention lawscybersecurity attacksmalwarehackingiSmartAlarmDutch telcosAustralian lawCisco Systemscybersecurity attackRadio ShackGooglesecuritydata breachvulnerabilitydata retentionEgyptCSO AustraliaEU citizensLabor capitulatednew yorktechnology companies

More about CiscoCSODellEnex TestLabEUFederal Trade CommissionGoogleMicrosoftMozillaUS Federal Trade Commission

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

Market Place