The week in security: More vulnerabilities every day

Warnings were flying after a CSIRO report on the current cybersecurity climate suggested Australia's productivity could be hit if our security defences aren't strengthened. This will particularly be the case as the Internet of Things continues to take off, significantly expanding the scope of the potential vulnerabilities ready to be exploited.

Virtual currencies pose an additional risk, with cryptocurrency provider dogecoin conceding that it had lost around $US130,000 worth of the virtual currency. Yet figures suggested an increasing penetration of ransomware suggest things are getting worse quickly, while reports of NSA backdoors in US-made network equipment didn't help the situation.

Also not helping was the explosion in security alerts, which have become a problem for many organisations but can be better analysed with the right security infrastructure.

A new hit-list published by the Information Commissioner's Office may help guide remediation efforts by highlighting common vulnerabilities, but Microsoft inadvertently published a different kind of roadmap as it fixed a range of software bugs. Adobe was also fixing bugs, closing security vulnerabilities even as a Damballa analysis found the overall threat is much worse – with US businesses fielding 10,000 security alerts per day.

New image-fingerprinting technology is helping police analyse a growing volume of image-based evidence, helping control some methods of breaching security even as Facebook encouraged email providers to add STARTTLS encryption to improve the security of the data they send. Google was doing its own bit for encryption, expanding the reach of its encryption capabilities from Gmail to other services.

SanDisk was also working in the encryption arena, shipping its first self-encrypting solid state disks (SSDs) while a team of Brown University researchers applied another encryption method to secure Dropbox and a Microsoft .NET update showed its efforts to prevent the RC4 encryption algorithm from being used in Transport Layer Security (TLS) connections.

Samsung's Knox mobile management platform was approved for use across the UK government, while a security firm warned that suspected Iranian hackers were targeting the US defence industry, even as another industry that has suffered its share of security violations – retail – recognised changing realities and joined forces to create a new alliance aimed at sharing information about cyberthreats.

This, as a US Senate report concluded that online advertising poses significant security and privacy risks to users. Also fingered in the security and privacy stakes were Amazon, AT&T and Snapchat, which were rated by the Electronic Frontier Foundation as among the least trustworthy technology companies.

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