The week in security: Identity, telecoms, biometrics drive government security vision

Although there was controversy around government plans to increase biometric information-gathering a Australian entry ports, others felt that Australian government agencies were showing “inspiring” traction in formalising their identity-management infrastructures, while UK and US government agencies were taking off on a slightly different tack after being said to have attacked security software that they felt was thwarting their work in intelligence gathering.

Australian authorities certainly weren't being thwarted in intelligence gathering, with new figures showing the extent of Australian government snooping on telecommunications services even as those telcos were set to be burdened with new network security laws. Israel-based researchers found a different way of snooping, using pita bread, while an auditor found that the US government's Office of Personnel Management – recently compromised in a large-scale hack – was moving too quickly to fix its cybersecurity problems and ignoring best practices. That's an indictment of executive security sponsorship, which an IDC survey found was strengthening even as security for the first time was named as the biggest executive priority in all major areas of strategic IT.

Speaking of best practices, cybercriminals were driving a resurgence of macro-based malware even as researchers were exploring possible security issues with NFC payments, the upcoming Apple Pay service, and a broad range of implementations of encryption. Many customers were struggling to transition key services three months after Microsoft end-of-lifed its Threat Management Gateway.

With healthcare organisations being infected by a Trojan that hides inside image files, it's clear that malware is getting smarter – but it's also getting stealthier as it trolls corporate networks it has infiltrated for information or new targets, a new study has found. You would know just what to do if your business was hacked, right? One would hope so, as in the case of a cyber-attack that grounded planes in Poland after compromising ground computer systems.

Shared-ride giant Uber was under fire from privacy advocates who noted that the service's app is collecting location information from users even when it's not actively being used. Also in the not-happy files, Samsung was under fire after it was reported that the company had disabled Windows Update on some of its PCs – putting customers at risk. Samsung admitted the behaviour, and said that it would blocking the updates soon.

New forms of smart home electronics were also appearing, with innovative security cameras and alarms debuting and a consumerised smart lock introduced that uses your fingerprint to open doors rather than a key.

This article is brought to you by Enex TestLab, content directors for CSO Australia.

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Tags telecomsMicrosoftIdentitybiometricsgovernment securitysecurity softwareAustralian GovernmentIDC surveyCSO Australia

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