The week in security: Pushing the encryption point; don't give up security fight despite onslaught

Nobody is sure just how yet, but it's clear that the emerging Internet of Things (IoT) model is going to have significant implications for the structure and delivery of security long into the future. Privacy is likely to be one significant concern, even as the first anniversary of Australia's revamped Privacy Act passed amidst assessments that it is promoting new levels of accountability.

Such improvements mean there is still hope for information security despite a seeming flood of new security attacks, one expert was warning. Yet recurring issues such as the human face of security are sure to continue being an issue, particularly in cases such as the click-fraud malware being used for Russian propaganda. Microsoft followed Google's lead by cracking down on misleading advertisements designed to trick users into visiting malicious Web sites.

Encryption continued to be a contentious topic, with one expert arguing that encryption and key management are at the heart of great information security. A decryption tool was offered for the game-targeting TeslaCrypt ransomware, although there was less enthusiasm about the FBI's request for encryption back doors.

Mozilla is doing its part to help push the world to adopt encryption, with plans to offer some new Web browser features only through sites that adopt HTTPS encryption. That will require broader takeup of SSL certificates, something that a new startup has aimed to facilitate with a novel subscription model.

Whether due to back doors or vulnerabilities, every IT security specialist knows they're fighting a constant battle against difficult odds – whether they're working to improve communications with the board or get more responsive on the ground. Indeed, ever-smarter distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks require an ever-smarter defence against them, one expert has warned even as an Asian data centre was hit by a massive 334Gbps DDoS attack.

Australian companies are buying security appliances so quickly that growth in the country is forecast at twice the global average, new figures suggest. They're also snapping up mobiles at a dizzying rate, but one security expert was warning that securing those devices was still well out of reach for many companies. Adding no help at all to that particular area was the finding that zombie apps – those no longer being supported, but still installed on phones in your workplace – are still common.

It was a good week for Panama and Romania – which are, by new metrics, successfully fighting the deluge of spam] that used to come from servers in those countries. Romanian authorities also [[xref:http://www.cso.com.au/article/573554/police-breaks-up-cybergang-stole-over-15-million-from-banks/ on suspicion of hacking into banks and stealing more than $US15 million ($A19m), the Magento e-commerce platform was pushing customers to update to the latest version of its app after warnings of new attacks that could expose their credit card details.

Speaking of exposing details, another HTTPS snooping flaw was said to break security for thousands of iOS apps, while WordPress quickly moved to patch a second critical vulnerability in its code. Little wonder the European Union is considering formalising the use of open-source audits and bug bounties to protect citizens against mass surveillance.

Other EU action was also copping criticism, with Facebook attacking European privacy regulators over a strategy it believes could have a strong economic impact. Yet there was also dissent back in the US, as a group of US lawmakers reintroduced legislation designed to stop the NSA from bulk-collecting telephone records in that country.

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

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