The week in security: Privacy struggle worsens as Christmas phishing expands

Christmas may still be over a month away, but cyber-criminals were clearly enjoying the festive cheer early as they ramped up their onslaught of holiday-themed phishing emails. Human rights groups and other NGOs were also struggling with malware attacks – as was peak meteorological body the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Working to figure out how to manage your bring your own device (BYOD) mobility programs? You're not alone: the programs are almost always problematic, a recent survey has found. Least among the numerous problems is user intelligence about security – which, some warn, is a recipe for disaster as those users climb the corporate ladder.

It's a rare story where authorities have hackers on the back foot, but the programmers behind the Tor Project were working to figure out how police had been able to uncover 'dark net' sites like Silk Road 2.0. That information will also be relevant for the developers of Anonabox, a Tor-based router whose creators moved to Indiegogo after being booted from Kickstarter last month.

While Tor may have a chink in its armour, hackers are making up for any lost ground by targeting the emerging Internet of Things (IoT), some warn – resulting in the exploitation of anything from routers to connected appliances. Increasingly popular wearable technology is likely to create even more problems through the collection and concentration of all kinds of personal data.

Speaking of collecting personal data, Snapchat decided to start asking users not to use unauthorised apps designed to save pictures from the supposedly-transient messaging app. Indeed, there is almost no privacy anymore, according to a survey that found many respondents simply have no idea how to protect their information online anymore.

At least they're honest: another survey found that Australians think they're better at protecting their personal data than they actually are. Such findings may present an opportunity for Web-based companies to differentiate themselves, some say.

The head of the US consumer-protection authority wants clearer disclosures to protect user privacy, while Google was lobbying the US government to extend the protections of the US Privacy Act to European citizens. Car makers have promised to protect citizen data, but many IT staff aren't up to speed on EU data protection regulation, staff warn.

New DarkHotel malware, which targets poorly secured networks of the type commonly found in hotels, was being flagged as a novel type of advanced persistent threat. On the other end of the novelty scale was a bug in Windows that had gone undetected for 19 years and is found in all versions of the operating system.

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