The week in security: Startups quantifying security posture as malware, DDoS siege intensifies

Fully 27 percent of all the malware variants ever created, were created in 2015 alone, new research suggests. That creates new pressure on CSOs to keep up – although many will, a new report says, be busy weighing factors such as work flexibility and pay rates in considering whether they should even stick around to fight that fight.

Biometrics will steadily replace passwords and PINs as the market grows steadily in coming years, an analysis has projected. This growth will be well-timed given that passwords continue to be a security problem.

Also a security problem is a technique iOS developers are using to update their apps. But that wasn't the only problem affecting mobiles: LG, for one, patched a data-theft bug affecting millions of Android phones.

A group of hackers targeted Uyghur and Tibetan activists, while analysis of a DDoS attack on a Ukrainanian power company suggested it was a distraction from a full cyber attack. This approach is becoming more common, an Arbor Networks review of DDoS activity suggested in finding that data-centre operators were looking for outside help to keep up.

A SANS Institute report suggested that companies can reduce the cost of security breaches by preparing early for a breach; startup company Cybric is also working to help in this preparation, offering a cloud platform designed to reduce the time between detecting and remediating breaches. Another startup, SafeBreach, joined the effort with a platform for automatically evaluating corporate networks to see if they suffer enough security loopholes for real-world attacks to succeed. And UpGuard, for its part, has derived a single score designed to provide an at-a-glance measurement of corporate network security.

US government agencies were also being pushed to get proactive, with the US Congress ordering them to inventory their potentially backdoored Juniper security appliances. The audit shows how back doors can destroy faith in security – which is already bad enough with persisting (albeit declining) use of unpatched operating systems and applications like Java, which Oracle will soon be killing off as a browser plugin. Even PayPal has been suffering from Java, patching a vulnerability that could have allowed attackers to install backdoors or run arbitrary commands.

This, as a report into healthcare data security found that more than 113 million healthcare records were breached in 2015 – up 10-fold over 2014. Fixing such problems, and avoiding new ones, will require better risk management through the use of identity-management frameworks covering Internet of Things and other resources.

Google has been promoting HTTPS usage heavily in recent years and a new Chrome tool has been designed to help developers identify potential shortcomings in their Web-site security certification. Non-compliant Web sites will be marked with a red X, pushing developers even harder to work for the green padlock.

A Symantec support partner was caught running a technical-support scam, while a government site offers step-by-step guidance for consumers to reclaim their identities after identity-theft compromises.

Lenovo was fixing a security breach caused by the use of a hard-coded password in a pre-installed file-sharing tool, while the Magento e-commerce platform was patched to fix critical vulnerabilities. An online advertising company fixed a severe XSS flaw, while OpenSSL patched a severe but rare vulnerability and Cisco was patching a range of security flaws in its products.

Tags biometricspasswordsweek in securityCSO AustraliaDavid BraueDDoS siege

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