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January 2014 Threat Metrics

January 2014 started with a bang, with one in every 191 web requests resulting in a web malware encounter. The Cisco Computer Security Incident Response Team (CSIRT) observed this same trend, witnessing a 200% increase in web malware encounters experienced by Cisco employees for the month. Overall, January 1, 25, and 26 were the highest risk days for encountering web delivered malware. In the chart below, the lower the number, the higher the risk of encounters. Still, with a median encounter rate of 1:375 requests, every day of January 2014 represented significant risk for web browsing.

Jan2014Rate

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Batman, TrustSec, and PCI

One of my passions is around PCI compliance. I know that sounds oxymoronic. How can someone actually be passionate about something as dry as compliance? Well, for the sake of argument, I prefer delusional rationalization. I think of myself as Batman! I don’t have his intelligence, money, car, or cape (well, I do have the cape, but that is another story), but I DO want to fight injustice where I can. I do think that there are bad guys out there trying to steal my family’s hard earned money. PCI compliance is the leading method for securing the world’s payment systems. The bad guys are real, security is getting harder, and I want to fight on the side of good.

The problem with fighting crime with compliance is that it can be so complex. The general strategy to minimize the complexity of PCI compliance is to use segmentation. Segmentation typically involves putting credit card applications and devices onto its own network, and use traditional firewalls to secure the perimeter. Although effective, this method brings about its own headaches around management. Firewall rulesets can become tedious and complex. Readdressing an entire enterprise with the sole driver of compliance is Herculean. Over time, if not properly managed and sustained, this method, can lead to bloat, misconfiguration, or worse, a breach.

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Big Data Ecosystem Challenges

Information security is one of the largest business problems facing organisations. Log data generated from networks and computer systems can be aggregated, stored, and analysed to identify where misuse occurs. The enormous amount of data involved in these analyses is beyond the capability of traditional systems and requires a new, big data approach. Given the right tools, skills and people, security teams can take advantage of big data analysis to quickly identify malicious activity and remediate attacks. Together, the big data platforms, the administration tools, analysis tools, skilled analysts, and pressing problems form an evolving ecosystem driving innovation. It would be a mistake to believe that this ecosystem is not without its challenges.
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Cisco SVP Chris Young’s RSA Keynote – On-Demand

On Thursday, February 27, at the 2014 RSA Conference, Chris Young, senior vice president of Cisco’s Security Business Group, and Padmasree Warrior, Cisco’s chief technology and strategy officer, delivered a keynote address on “The New Model of Security.”

If you missed the conference in person, you can now join us online, in the Cisco Security Community, to view an on-demand webcast of the keynote. You’ll gain further insight into how Cisco is uniquely positioned to deliver new innovations for security solutions that are visibility-driven, threat focused, and platform based.

We encourage you to interact with Cisco experts and your peers in the new online Security Community as you watch the webcast. The Security Community is also your portal to read the latest blogs related to the announcements, watch videos, continue your dialogue with Cisco experts and your peers, and stay informed about upcoming webcasts.

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Introducing Cisco Cognitive Threat Analytics

“There is no silver bullet.”  That’s one of our favorite sayings at Cisco Security. We use it to convey the point that malware prevention is not 100%. As new attack vectors emerge and the threat landscape evolves, some malware will get through – regardless of which security vendor you choose.

In fact, our recently released 2014 Annual Security Report found that “100 percent of business networks analyzed by Cisco have traffic going to websites that host malware.” Basically, everyone will be compromised to one degree or another.

There are two factors at play. First, as modern networks have expanded and extend beyond the traditional perimeter to include endpoints, mobile devices, virtual desktops, data centers, and the cloud, new attack vectors have emerged. Attackers don’t discriminate and will take advantage of any gap in protection to accomplish their mission.

Second, attackers are focused on understanding security technologies, how they work, where they are deployed, and how to exploit their weaknesses. For example, they outsmart point-in-time defenses – like sandbox technologies that only scan files once – by creating targeted, context-aware malware that can modify its behavior to evade detection and infiltrate the extended network where it is difficult to locate, let alone eradicate.

So what can you do about it? Well, at Cisco we advocate for continuous protection across the entire attack continuum – before, during, and after an attack. We believe security strategies that focus solely on perimeter-based defenses and preventive techniques will only leave attackers free to act as they please, once inside your network.
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