The week in security: Govt targets cybercrims; cybercrims target banks, unis

Workers have been agitating for bring-your-own-device (BYOD) strategies for some time now, but a new survey suggests many are actually concerned that BYOD – which has already raised security issues and is forcing companies to invest in sophisticated analytics – is giving management an excuse to snoop on their information.

If they're worried about snooping, users may want to look into encrypting their information with the new hash standard , SHA-3, which will implement a new algorithm called Keccak developed through a governmental competition. As another reflection of the changing role of the CSO , Microsoft was also getting tougher on security, with its products about to lock out encryption keys less than 1024 bits.

Also on the privacy front, privacy advocates were applauding Apple's privacy-related efforts in its iOS 6 operating system. Microsoft was not so lucky, with the Do Not Track feature in its new Internet Explorer 10 browser slammed  ferociously by the advertising industry.

The American Civil Liberties Union (ALCU) was lashing out  at the US Department of Justice (DOJ) about surveillance of online activities, while the government argued  that the location of mobile phones can not reasonably be expected to be kept private.

Governments and industry have struggled with the challenge of keeping up with emerging cyberthreats, but Iowa State University in the US has taken a novel approach by enlisting students to test the security capabilities of a range of network security products. Across the Atlantic, the UK government is investing £2 million ($A3.17m) in an international cybersecurity centre.

Analysis of the recent cyberattacks on several high-profile banks has revealed they were staged using the 'itsokknoproblembro' DDoS toolkit. They're not alone: it turns out 'malnets' , equally automated as large-scale attack tools, were behind two thirds of all cyber-attacks  in 2012.

A far-reaching cybersecurity exercise will simulate DDoS attacks on banks, while the real thing is apparently in the works as an international criminal ring plans to steal money from thousand of customers across 30 major banks.

The US government levied a $US163.2 million ($A161m) judgment against a software fraudster, while UK authorities were set to fine two SMS spam marketers £250,000 ($A396,500). TinKode, a hacker who attacked systems owned by Oracle, NASA, the US Army and US DoD, received a two-year suspended jail sentence. And authorities raided former Pirate Bay host PRQ and subsequently faced attacks on the Web sites of a variety of hosts.

This sort of activity has led to a collaborative effort amongst consumer-protection agencies in the US, Canada and Australia, which have targeted companies running a number of computer-related scams. This, even as scammers find ever more-sophisticated ways of sharing their spoils.

Even as Microsoft won a permanent ban on the Nitol botnet, hackers were busy publishing over 120,000 records from 100 top global universities including the University of Melbourne. TeamGhostShell may have made lots of noise, some say, but they haven't done much to open dialogues with the affected universities.

It was revealed that a router flaw had allowed a DNS attack on 4.5 million DSL gateways in Brazil. Also on the vulnerabilities front, many developers remain strong in their support of the Java development platform despite recent security issues.

Russian company Yandex launched a Chromium-based Web browser with a few special security-related add-ons, while startup ZeroVulnerabilityLabs debuted a new malware-blocking tool and other security add-ons  to protect users' social-media activities.

Finally, TraceSecurity launched a cloud-based risk, compliance and audit tool.

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