The week in security: Governments back cybersecurity; new hope in ransomware flood

Government bodies were getting serious about cybersecurity, with the state of Victoria launching an ICT strategy that included a cybersecurity commitment and the federal Budget reaffirming support for the cybersecurity sector.

This kind of support will be crucial, since many say the CISO role is the hardest ICT role to fill. Little wonder that the US government is designing a bug-bounty program to help engage as many minds as possible around the security challenges that government organisations face.

With 60 percent of enterprise mobiles still vulnerable to the QSEE exploit within the Android operating system, Google is developing a stronger security core for its upcoming Android N operating system. This, as the company moved to block the vulnerability-prone Adobe Flash for Chrome users at the same time as Adobe moved to patch the latest Flash zero-day.

Malware purveyors scored a hit as an HTTPS hijacking click-fraud botnet infected almost 1 million computers, while malware called Skimer was found to be helping hackers steal money from Microsoft Windows-based ATMs. Ransomware dominated detections of malware in March, figures from FireEye found.

Don't lose all hope, however: there is finally a reason to hope for those targeted by ransomware,with Kaspersky Lab researchers figuring out how to crack the new version of the CryptXXX ransomware and other researchers offering a tool to decrypt files locked by the TeslaCrypt strain.

Security experts warned that the cybercriminal business model is vulnerable to intervention despite becoming increasingly sophisticated in recent years.

Witness the attempts of one hacker to sell a list including 167 million LinkedIn user passwords. Also vulnerable, apparently, is the Symantec antivirus engine, which was discovered to have a flaw that puts computers at risk of being hacked.

Ditto an old Android malware, which follows an old-is-new trend by tweaking old Russian malware to look for credentials from customers of six Australian banks. Even as researchers warned that Twitter and smartphone users have little of the privacy they may crave, a Deloitte study confirmed that most Australian mobile apps are sending data overseas.

This, as criminal defendants began questioning the methods being used by the US FBI to hack systems for evidence. The UK's University of York explained how it has improved its data security using software-defined networking, while some security practitioners were advising how law firms can make life more difficult for would-be hackers.

Those hackers are, one security conference heard, being identified as much by their behaviour as by their names. Device security continues to remain in the spotlight, with some saying that medical devices are still vulnerable to exploitation even as some security companies move to improve the situation.

Cisco was patching high severity flaws in its Web Security Appliance while unpatched devices from Ubiquiti Networks were being infected by a worm that exploits a remote-access vulnerability that has been known about for over a year.

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