The week in security: The end of Flash ads; Bounty offered as Ashley Madison fallout continues

Fallout from the Ashley Madison hack continued, with suicide, spam and a host of other consequences including a class-action lawsuit and the resignation of the company's CEO.

One startup was copping heat after building a marketing campaign around the content, while analysis of users' passwords showed that they were as weak as those used anywhere else despite the sensitivity of what they were protecting.

Given the events of recent weeks, many executives would be considering how to protect the business against online extortion – but it's too late for executives of Ashley Madison parent company Avid Life Media, which has offered more than $500,000 for information that leads to the arrest and conviction of the perpetrators.

Even as a Kaspersky Lab report warned that virtual machines are twice as expensive to recover after a security event, some were concerned that security-industry trust and collaboration would be affected by allegations the company falsified data to throw off competitors. This, amidst warnings that current DDoS protection isn't cutting it anymore, that many companies are still failing to get the basics of security right, and that companies need to make a “massive shift” in their security investments.

A Gartner security symposium brought together many of Australia's top security minds, with themes such as the need for people and balance and the challenges of mobile security – of which we were painfully reminded with news that a long-available Google Play application was leveraging a vulnerability in Android's TeamView remote support tool to allow for screen recording. LG phones were said to be most exposed to the vulnerability.

Some were wondering whether Windows 10's design represents the end of privacy as we know it. Little wonder that many security practitioners believe application security needs to be bolstered now. Yet those efforts should, according to new research, be focused on just 1 percent of employees that cause 75 percent of cloud-related security risks; the trick, of course, is identifying the 1 percent.

Yet the laws to support such protections are often woefully outdated, leaving lawyers to get creative when it comes to finding laws under which to prosecute cybercriminals. This means the legal ramifications of a cyber attack remain unclear, even as experts warn that security professionals should be lawyered up when it comes to strategies for protecting customer data.

Phishing was emerging as a revitalised liability, with figures suggesting the average large company spends $US3.7m ($A5.2m) per year to deal with the problem. Ad fraud, another ongoing security problem, remained high although a new study found that it's lower in Australia than in other countries. Yet, according to a new report, the fraud rate has been doubling as cybercriminals created new accounts in users' names. Amazon took a step towards reducing fraud by banning Flash-based ads, while Google announced similar plans to freeze Flash and was asking developers to disable an iOS 9 privacy feature “to protect advertising”.

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