The top 12 security stories of 2016

Stuart Sumner
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The top 12 security stories of 2016

Most of us thought 2015 was the year of the data breach, but then 2016 happened. 2017 has a job to do if it wants to continue the trend

Security was never far from the headlines in 2016, with data breaches at large firms occurring almost daily at some points in the year.

And it wasn't just about the data breaches, there were security-related legal and political developments around the controversial Investigatory Powers Bill, and the EU's General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

Computing now brings you our collection of the most important security stories of the year.

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Rowhammer

In October security researchers demonstrated a new class of hardware-based attack that, they claim, could enable hackers to acquire root access to Android devices without exploiting any software flaws or requiring user permission.

"The root of the problem is that many memory chips have a hardware vulnerability, known as Rowhammer," Herbert Bos, professor of systems security at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam in The Netherlands told Computing.

He continued: "It allows attackers to change the content of memory that they should never be able to access. The effect is pure physics, but exploitable from software."

Since the Rowhammer attack was first publicised, attacks against Android devices have provided inconsistent results, with 12 attacks against 15 different Google Nexus 5 devices proving successful, for example, and only one of two attacks against the Samsung Galaxy S5.

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