The week in security: IoT threat can be managed; FBI becomes iPhone hacking supplier

Security is still seen as the biggest obstacle to embracing hybrid cloud environments as concerns over skills and resources surfaced in a recent survey. Little wonder, since security issues can affect anything – whether it's the massive Panama Papers data leak or even hacked routers and PABX systems, the latest victims in a series of attacks over the Easter long weekend.

The Internet of Things (IoT), in particular, has been maligned for its potential security risks. HP, among others, has been working to tighten up controls on unmanaged printers while startup Karamba Security is focused on securing the internals of car control systems. However, one expert believes that IoT threats can be managed using existing security processes and another agrees that there is still time to get protections in place before we are overwhelmed. One consortium is working to spread the message about the importance of those processes, while startup Veriflow believes it can use maths to test the effectiveness of the defences you've put in place.

Identity provider Ping Identity launched an Australian data centre to support its overhaul of user and IoT identity and access management – which is becoming even more critical as highly-detailed emails with false financial instructions sent the damages bill for 'whaling' attacks past $US2.3 billion in the last three years. Little wonder that more and more APJ businesses believe they will eventually be breached.

The FBI is becoming a supplier to other law-enforcement agencies that want to use its iPhone 5c cracking tool on iPhones as part of their investigations, while – even as messaging tool WhatsApp switched on encryption for all of its communications and analysts warned that it and its ilk may be banned in the UK – researchers warned that HTTP compression was also of encrypted communications. This, as the White House said it won't support legislation requiring device makers to help law-enforcement agencies defeat encryption.

US-based Trump Hotels was investigating its possible second payment-card breach in less than a year, while drivers in the US were being targeted by a GPS-based phishing scam and researchers warned that new efforts to target servers with ransomware pose yet another potentially problematic attack vector.

Speaking of attack vectors, Apple fixed an iOS lock-screen bypass. DDoS researchers were warning that massive application-layer attacks could defeat methods of DDoS protection. Google fixed 15 critical Android flaws in a weekly update and 39 more flaws in its latest monthly update, and began clamping down on malicious apps posing as battery management tools; just goes to show that it's not only surfing porn that can cause malware infections.

In an interesting wrinkle to the idea that patches fix security problems, a research team found that an old IBM patch for a critical Java flaw was no longer effective. Adobe was also chasing its tail, fixing 24 vulnerabilities in Flash Player, while researchers warned that Firefox add-ons could be used to attack users' PCs.

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