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Canary in a Gallium Mine

As a Silicon Valley technology industry worker, I often try to reconcile the humanitarian, environmental, or political aspects of global issues with business realities. I may wish it made business sense for companies to focus on alleviating poverty or improving health care and education, but—even with the best intentions—by definition, for-profit companies are not charities. As it is, big multinational companies spend millions on corporate social responsibility efforts.

Thankfully, the business argument for sustainability is fairly easy to make. At least until emerging market growth slows appreciably and manufacturers find alternative materials to use, the price of elements in our high tech gadgets, and the security risks of not finding alternatives, are both headed up.

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Epsilon, ESPs, the Cloud and You

While the IT industry is in many ways moving toward an outsourced model, with the widespread adoption of the cloud and XaaS, marketing has been moving in a similar direction as well. And while PR agencies have been around for quite some time and it has been normal to look to outside agencies for help with creatives, over the past several years a new kind of service provider, the Email Service Provider, or ESP, has emerged from the shadows. Not to be mistaken for cloud-based email security services, ESPs are in the business of sending mass email (typically opt-in), not blocking it. Unfortunately, for many, their first exposure to these companies (outside of an inbox full of enticing offers) has been via news around data breaches, first, in 2010 with Silverpop and now Epsilon.

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Securing IPv6

In the previous installment of our series of IPv6 security posts, we covered some of the ways addressing has changed in IPv6 compared to IPv4. In this post, we’ll talk about some of the things to consider when securing IPv6 compared to IPv4. Before digging into this topic, however, it is important to remember that while IPv6 may have different security concerns than IPv4, it is not necessarily any more secure than IPv4. Furthermore, the post will focus on those aspects that are different or unique to IPv6, since many of the common best practices for IPv4 networks also apply to IPv6 networks.

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Trust, Reliability, and the Downside of the Fast-Twitch Twittoblogosphere

It is clear that we are in a transition with regards to the way information is published and consumed. Old school media such as newspapers and network news are in decline or are, like the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal, looking for new ways to remain relevant.

The rise of social media as a source of news has both positive and negative aspects. On the positive side the speed of social media has proven hard to match. For example, on November 23, 2010, North Korea shelled Yeongyeong Island in South Korea. My first notification about that event was via Twitter and it was only later that I was able to get confirmation via CNN. Similarly on March 11, 2011, when the earthquake and subsequent tsunami hit Japan with tragic consequences, my first notification was again via Twitter. Clearly first-mover advantage goes to social media, largely due to the lack of overhead and the few barriers to and low cost of publishing.

Recently we saw one of the weaknesses to the often knee-jerk, fast-twitch responses that social media can create with the unfortunate accusations that were falsely leveled at Samsung; statements accusing the Korean manufacturer of putting keylogging software on its laptops. Read More »

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Lizamoon – Much Ado About Very Little?

Recent media reports have focused on a mass SQL injection attack involving a malware domain named While the domain is new, this particular series of SQL injection compromises is actually several months old. Cisco ScanSafe logs record the first instance on 20-sep-10 21:58:08 GMT. Since then, various malware domains have been used for a total of 42 domains signifying 42 separate occurrences of these compromises since September 2010. was the 41st of these.

Cisco ScanSafe data reveals that from Sept 2010 to Feb 2011, all the compromises were on smaller, low traffic sites. Any encounters likely resulted from Web searches for very niche topic areas. As a result, the number of encounters with these compromised websites remained very low. Most importantly, this attacker is employing severe throttling such that only 0.15% of encounters even result in live content delivery. The remaining 99.85% of encounters are non-resolvable at the time of encounter. The result is a negligible rate of actual encounter with live content.

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