The week in security: Malware-laden apps persist as iOS 9 zero-day scores $1m bounty

Launches of numerous new security tools, from a range of vendors, suggested that we are in a time of strong security innovation. Some of that innovation is also coming from open-source vendors like security specialists Kustodian, who have eschewed commercial solutions and gone open source-only to improve their value proposition and target companies like SMEs, who struggle to boost security without a lot of money to spend.

UK police arrested another person in their investigation of the breach of telco TalkTalk, while Irish ad analytics company PageFair apologised after hackers used its systems to launch attacks against a range of online users.

Such breaches could increasingly create problems for corporate board members – 9 out of 10 of which said that regulators should hold businesses liable for breaches if they haven't taken reasonable steps to secure customer data. Yet the problems caused by such breaches can often extend much further: Swiss email provider ProtonMail, for example, paid a ransom to stop attackers from DDoSing its systems, but when the attacks kept coming the company is now appealing for public help to fund a commercial DDoS protection service.

Google was patching critical vulnerabilities in Android's media processing capabilities, while a SDK built by Chinese Internet giant Baidu was found to offer backdoor-like access to Android users' devices. Google was also pointing fingers, highlighting 11 serious vulnerabilities in Samsung-written code on the company's Galaxy S6 Edge phone; perhaps seizing an opportunity for PR, BlackBerry said it would out-patch its Android rivals in maintaining its Android Priv handset.

Yet Android wasn't the only platform getting breached: a zero-day broker said it had paid out a $US1m bounty to a hacking group that found a remotely exploitable bug in iOS 9.1. And many US companies are still using Apple mobile apps seeded with malware in the XcodeGhost hacking scheme – found in interesting fashion by one mobile app company that couldn't understand why its app kept getting rejected by Apple.

Indeed, mobile security firm Lookout has warned of more than 20,000 Trojanised apps lurking in third-party app stores – with even Apple struggling to keep its app store malware-free.

Apps may be gaining as malware conduits, but mobile porn and banking were also gaining in popularity as malware authors look for new opportunities. Many companies will be exploring application whitelisting as a result – and if you're one of them, consider NIST's new advice on whitelisting best practices.

Mozilla followed Google's recent lead in simplifying Firefox notifications about improper digital certificates, while Microsoft followed Mozilla's lead in considering a ban on outdated SHA-1 certificates.

Want to know more?

Read more: ​Encrypted email firm ProtonMail stiffed after paying DDoS ransom

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Tags PageFairopen source$1m bountyChinese InternetKustodianiOS 9 zero-daysecurity toolsmalwareCSO AustraliamozillaProtonMailtelco TalkTalk

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