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Considering the Risks and Rewards of Social Media

Social media continues to pervade cultures around the globe, and the usefulness and popularity of social media sites and services has been demonstrated in some impressive ways. The power and reach of social media outlets has empowered individuals to make their voice heard around the world in an instant, most often unfiltered and unrestrained. The extent of social media’s influence on individuals’ lives has pulled it into organizations, many of which have embraced these new technologies and sought to leverage them for profit.

Still, the application of blogs, videos, real-time status updates, and online collaboration are cause for concern, in no small part because of the concentration of power in the hands of the individual employing them. Organizations continue to struggle with whether to allow employees to participate in these networks, how to enforce policies, and how to adjust to all that the networks have to offer — even for industries that are built in large part around individual identities, like the entertainment studios discussed in this week’s Cyber Risk Report.

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Common Errors Causing DKIM Verification Failures

Cisco recently upgraded its email infrastructure to use our IronPort email security appliances to apply and verify DomainKeys Identified Mail (DKIM) signatures on outgoing and incoming email. We had previously been using a prototype implementation of DKIM that we had begun early in the process of standardizing DKIM. In the process, they made available to me some information on DKIM signature verification successes and failures. While we had previously published information on DKIM signature verification showing the increasing deployment of DKIM signing, this is the first time that we have had comprehensive information on signatures that fail to verify. The study involved about 14.2 million messages with DKIM signatures, 5.33% of which failed to verify. The messages came from 16,797 different domains, 10,968 (65%) of which had 100% verification rates and 2,899 of which failed consistently.

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Cloud Computing: Not a Security Panacea

The Microsoft Sidekick data loss was a pretty big story over the last week or two; for a while, Microsoft was predicting a total loss of all data, although by October 15, things seemed to start looking better in that department. Some have already discussed whether this failure should be used to represent cloud computing entirely. (To get it out of the way now — no, it shouldn’t.) But there remains a gap in expectations and some level of assumptions about what cloud computing has to offer.

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Securing the Branch

I suspect that when we use the term “branch” when talking about businesses, many minds think of a bank. But actually, the notion of a branch is much more widespread for organizations as they pursue flexible options for expanding their workforce, as well as globalization. From an IT perspective, the branch has changed from a few remote offices each with multiple people to sometimes thousands of remote workers connecting to the network from their home offices. In fact, according to a recent survey, the number of employees working away from headquarters is approaching 90%.

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Seeing The Big Picture With Global Correlation

In a previous post I provided an overview of the Cisco Global Correlation (GC) capability that was recently added to Cisco Intrusion Prevention Systems (IPS). The information sent to SensorBase includes signatures that generated alerts and other relevant data.

I thought it would be interesting to highlight what we can learn from this growing data set. I intend to focus my analysis around FTP-related signatures. Because FTP security issues are relatively well understood, I will be able to highlight the correlation capability we have at our disposal and focus less on the specific threat that is driving my analysis.

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