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A New Twist on Denial of Service: DDoS as a Service

At Cisco, we are fortunate to be at the vanguard of many exciting developments in networking and IT technology. Borderless Networks — where we connect anyone, anywhere, any device, and enable voice, video, and data — is a prime example. Enabling secure access to the cloud, powering SaaS for the enterprise, and helping IT successfully cope with the consumerization of enterprise IT are core elements of this effort.

Trends can sometimes run in surprising directions. While the white hat side of the house is enabling services and applications (Salesforce.com), and even core IT functions such as email and office productivity (Google Docs) are available in hosted or web delivered forms, the black hat side of the house is also not letting technology pass them by. For instance, take IMDDOS, a Chinese company with a name that should perhaps be read “I’m DDoS.”

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Haystack, Diaspora, and Establishing Trust

Haystack was supposed to be a revolutionary tool in the cause of freedom. Billed as a sort of steganographic communications tool for censored Iranians, the software hurtled to popularity in the media. But last week, it seems to have fallen quickly out of favor. Code that was not made generally available was reviewed by Jacob Applebaum, who was frank in his assessment. Applebaum is well-positioned to offer an expert opinion here, as he works for the Tor Project, which has significant experience designing software to anonymize network traffic. In the wake of Haystack’s trouble, I’m reminded of how our fragile psychologies fall victim to trusting things that we should not.

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Cisco Security Tracks LinkedIn Spam Attack

Starting this morning—Monday, September 27, at 10am GMT—cyber criminals sent spam email messages targeting users of the LinkedIn social media community. This is the largest such attack known to date.

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It’s Bundle Day At Cisco

Today we announced our regularly scheduled, semiannual (that’s twice a year, not every other year) group of Cisco IOS Security Advisories, otherwise known as our “Cisco IOS Security Advisory Bundle.” Security Advisories are disclosed by the Cisco Product Security Incident Response Team (PSIRT) in response to vulnerabilities that have been discovered and/or reported, either internally or externally, in Cisco products. The term “bundle” was chosen since we now disclose a group of IOS-related Security Advisories at one time, as opposed to releasing advisories individually whenever they are ready for prime time. This one-at-a-time approach is what we had used for years until, back in March 2008, we decided to take the “bundle” approach, similar to Microsoft’s monthly “Microsoft Tuesday” event, which occurs on the second Tuesday of every month.

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Microsoft’s Active Response Leads to Permanent Gains Against Waledac

A few weeks back, I wrote a review of recent security industry reports, including one from McAfee that promoted Offensive Security. In it, I mentioned a reluctance to adopt a sweeping usage of the term “offensive” in describing security postures, using it only where it is appropriate. Further, I mentioned that:

“[I]n addition to choosing terminology carefully, organizations may not necessarily need to head down the road of advanced techniques if they are still struggling to get a handle on the basics.”

Microsoft’s recent success with active response (a much better term, in my opinion) further emphasized my point. What they accomplished with the Waledac takeover required fairly significant resources, determination, and expertise — and it was definitely collaborative. It will be interesting to see where these efforts go in the future.

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