The week in security: Trump reaches out to tech leaders as reports finger Russia

The sabre-rattling over Russia’s hacking of the US election continued, with president-elect Trump conceding that Russia was probably responsible despite a report that left many questions unanswered. US intelligence reports concluded that Russia had hacked Republican groups during the election, and suggested Russia had allegedly obtained ‘compromising’ information about Trump – who was also said to have backed the leak of rival Democratic National Committee emails.

The ransacking of MongoDB databases continued, with cybercriminals holding data for ransom and some targeting companies with data that they didn’t even steal. Some moved on to hit Elasticsearch clusters while – sidestepping a similar problem, perhaps – WordPress patched a dangerous PHPMailer bug.

Experts were warning that Russia, China, and the US pose the biggest geopolitical cybersecurity risk, with the former head of the Department of Homeland Security pushing Trump to recognise the economic dangers of cybersecurity. As if to push the point, alleged Russian cyberspy Guccifer 2.0 emerged to add a new perspective on the hack of the US Democratic National Convention.

A high-profile hacker group signed off and released a range of cybersecurity hacking tools – even as vulnerabilities in WhatsApp reminded users that even commercially available systems can be seriously exposed.

Some welcomed Trump’s intentions to bolster the country’s cybersecurity defences by drawing on its best talent and meeting regularly with technology leaders. This, as Trump’s nominee for head of the CIA was grilled about his desire to build a mass phone-records collection program.

Authentication-related startups were trying to simplify deployment of the technology, even as security pushes its way past performance-optimisation services on IT organisations’ priority lists.

Security researchers isolated new, well-designed ransomware called Spora that incorporates strong offline file encryption and a range of innovations. This is hardly going to be reassuring for the likes of South Africa’s First National Bank of South Africa, which recounted its experiences in fighting ransom attacks.

Such real-world case studies will be crucial in spreading the word about the real risk that businesses face from cybersecurity threats – and corporate IT departments really should be listening.

Digital-certificate giant GoDaddy moved to revoke nearly 9000 SSL certificates after learning its validation system had been suffering serious problems for five months. Also turning heads was the arrest of two siblings in what is being called Italy’s worst cyberespionage case ever.

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Tags hackershacking protectionTrumpTrump ElectionElasticsearchPHPMailerRussian cybercrimeIT departmentcyber security

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