The week in security: Apple details iOS security as Bitcoin hacked again, XP next

A fraudulent site, promising returns of Bitcoins lost in the Mt Gox implosion, was tempting punters on the virtual currency, while the Website of Meetup was down after its CEO refused to pay a $US300 extortion demand. Experts suggest such extortion attempts are becoming more frequent.

Little wonder that a survey of IT decision makers found that fraudsters are considered to be the biggest cybersecurity threat, although many mobile users might beg to differ as it becomes clear neither Google nor Apple can protect users from inherent mobile application risks. Mozilla is trying a different approach by encouraging developers to apply to its whitelist before March 31.

Speaking of deadlines, Microsoft's discontinuation of support for Windows XP on April 8 is likely to lead to a devastating attack on the operating system; experts recommend nine steps to take if you insist on sticking it out through the XPocalypse. Separately, a major security flaw is threatening Linux users.

Other hackers weren't keen to wait that long, targeting home networks in an attack that successfully compromised 300,000 home routers and altered their DNS settings in a type of attack known as 'pharming'. They also brought down another Bitcoin bank, shutting down Flexcoin after a massive theft of the virtual currency that had experts poring over the vulnerabilities that were successfully exploited by hackers.

Rogue advertisements were overtaking porn as the top mobile attack method, although reports suggested that even buying a mobile can be dangerous enough as pre-installed malware turned up on new phones, according to reports. As if that weren't bad enough, a new crimeware tool, called Dendroid, is facilitating the task of making new Android malware. Curiously enough, Apple broke with its tradition of secrecy and shared unprecedented detail about the security architecture of iOS.

Similarly, some worried that the success of the CyberLocker ransomware was set to spawn a generation of copycats. Others pointed out that Java remained a major vulnerability, responsible for half of all exploits, while a report from Kaspersky Lab said the Tor network was becoming a breeding ground for botnets and 'darknet' markets.

The UK's deputy prime minister announced the creation of an expert panel to look into the use of surveillance data, while a group of US lawmakers was calling for new data protection standards to prevent widespread data breaches in the future. This came as the CIO of Target resigned and other retailers sat up and took notice of that company's disastrous privacy breach.

An Adobe survey of e-signature adoption found that Australia still lags the world in adoption of the technology despite electronic signatures having been legal for 15 years. Barracuda Networks updated its Copy secure file-sharing app, while an Oracle technical expert predicted the growing importance of social-media logins as one of many factors in ensuring enterprise user authentication.

Telcos were in the news as Deutsche Telekom began working with cloud-encryption provider CipherCloud to protect its hosted applications. Sprint was [[xref: |sued by the US government] for allegedly overcharging for the cost of surveillance related services by over 50 per cent.

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