The week in security: Scams cost Aussies $45m in 2015 already; Hacking Team spoils grow

Australians lost $136,000 to malware in June alone and have so far lost $45 million to scammers this year, new figures from the ACCC revealed even as attackers hit the Telegram messaging app in Australia and APAC areas, knocking the service offline. No wonder Australian IT managers feel besieged by attackers – and that BYOD users worry that their employers can't keep private data safe.

Also hitting many Australian businesses was the discontinuation of support for Windows 2003. For those still using the now-deprecated operating system, it's time to panic. Microsoft also discontinued the issuing of anti-malware signatures for its Security Essentials software on Windows XP-based PCs.

Forensic analysts continued to trawl through the motherlode of hacking information released during the recent compromise of the Italian Hacking Team, with findings including at least three unpatched exploits for Flash Player (driving Mozilla to block Flash in Firefox and leading many to suggest disabling Flash altogether). A surge in malvertising during June – and a new approach based on SSL redirects – may exacerbate that problem, even though Adobe moved to patch the vulnerabilities in Flash Player as quickly as it could.

It was not quick enough, however, to stop Ubuntu Linux vendor System76 to ditch Flash altogether. And Google, while not mentioning Hacking Team explicitly, made noise about moves that will increase the sensitivity of its Chrome browser to compromised and questionable Web sites.

Hacking Team also planted its spyware in a widely distributed Android news app, and figured out how to embed malware-loading code into a computer's UEFI firmware so it persists even after an operating system reinstall. The company's CEO, however, insisted that its tools had not been compromised.

Another hacker group, Pawn Storm, was reportedly using another unpatched vulnerability in its fight against military, government and media organisations. And the 'Morpho' group was targeting corporate intellectual property with its particular approach.

With so many hacks already in the wild, it's little wonder that this year's DEF CON conference includes an open invitation to try to hack Internet of Things (IoT) devices. Yet other forces were conspiring to shut down export, research, and even discussion of cybersecurity tools and exploits.

Meanwhile, the US government is to begin talks for standards around the privacy of drones, which are causing all sorts of headaches for those that believe the open air should be open to all. Also causing headaches is the US National Security Agency's ongoing phone snooping, which was the target of an ACLU request that it be shut down.

Also in government news, a survey found that Australians are willing to accept anti-terrorism goals as justification for surveillance of social-media channels, but are less willing to support the trawling of social-media information for other purposes. Indeed, many people are taking control of their social-media exposure, with most Google de-listing requests in Europe received from normal people rather than just high-profile figures. But there will be no way to hide from new air-passenger data retention policies set to be implemented across Europe.

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

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Tags cybersecuritydata securityIT managersPawn Stormsecurity essentialsHacking TeamprivacyBYODUEFI firmwareAustralian businessesacccflash playerInternet of Things (IoT)Cyber ScamsSystem76

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