Vulnerable OS, mobile apps security targets for 2011: AusCERT

Response team concerned about e-health records

Exploiting vulnerable operating systems and the popularity of mobile apps will be where cyber criminals thrive in 2011, Australia’s Computer Emergency Response Team (AusCERT) has warned.

Kathryn Kerr, manager of analysis and assessments at the Queensland-based not-for-profit, said that there have been a number of attacks in these two areas in 2011.

“In terms of vulnerabilities, we’ve seen these in operating systems,” she said. “Then we’ve seen attacks trying to look for vulnerabilities in these applications.”

At a technology journalist conference on the Gold Coast this week, Kerr said another key area of concern for AusCERT centred around the possibility of electronic health records being controlled by the public on their own personal computer.

“We’re concerned about personally controlled electronic health records,” she said. “If someone can access their own records at home or work... there is no way to protect confidentiality once malware is on that computer.”

To prevent an increase in the number of security threats, Kerr said IT managers should invest in staff training.

“There’s less interest in formal training of IT staff, of assessing security configurations,” she said. “... As a consequence, we’re seeing an increase in attacks occurring.”

Kerr’s insights come as IBM Australia was yesterday awarded the tender to deliver a secure messaging platform to be used in the Federal Government’s $467 million personally controlled electronic health records (PCEHR) initiative.

Follow Lisa Banks on Twitter: @CapricaStar

Follow Computerworld Australia on Twitter: @ComputerworldAU

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