The week in security: Security strategies evolving as new (and old) threats persist

A range of mobile apps are leaking back-end credentials that allow anybody to access millions of user records, a new study has found. This should come as little surprise given the sloppy approach taken by many organisations to securing privileged accounts, one analysis warns. Little wonder potential government cloud adopters are concerned about cloud-providers' lack of transparency.

The need to reshape existing IT-security tools has become a common thread in industry coverage – particularly as warnings suggest changes in the design of advanced persistent threats (APTs) could mean worse times ahead – but Dell's latest partnership highlights just how much things are changing. SentinelOne added a feature to restore files hit by ransomware, while Microsoft is also changing its security approach – extolling its security virtues and pushing a more holistic approach to enterprise security that spans its Windows 10, Office 365, Azure and MEMS platforms. And Google-owned VirusTotal began analysing Mac malware using its sandbox-detonation approach.

Yet even as things change, others stay the same: the Blackhole exploit kit, for example, surprised many by making a new appearance two years after it was thought dead. Exploit-kit activity was surging overall, while a new ad-fraud botnet was targeting major corporations and universities.

One Australian security consultancy was working to help those organisations with a new brand-protection tool designed to scour the Web for shadow-IT sites and knockoffs designed to trick consumers into handing over private information. The FBI offered 19 self-defence techniques to ward off hacktivists,

Cisco was [xref: |working to rebuild customer confidence]] after concerning revelations about its relationship with the NSA. Yet others were feeling less concerned about the NSA, with legislation in the wake of the recent Paris terrorist attacks seeking to extend that agency's phone metadata collection. Also following those attacks, secure-messaging app Telegram suspended 78 ISIS-related accounts even as the terrorist group moved some of its propaganda to the Darknet and hacker collective Anonymous declared war on ISIS, even as US journalist Ted Koppel was warning about the risks of a cyberattack on US infrastructure.

Building up a broader range of IT-security skills will be crucial in mounting a viable defence against such attacks, and the recent Day of STEM launch marked a significant step in Australia's quest to build these skills by matching public and private support for potential students in science, technology, engineering and mathematics-related fields. Indeed, partnerships are proving crucial to helping corporations and vendors keep up with the ongoing flood of malware and security attacks.

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