Cisco Blogs

Cisco Blog > Security

New Research Examines Impact of Cyber Insecurity on Country’s GDP Growth

I’ve been in Australia this week visiting customers, speaking at conferences, and meeting with peers and colleagues in the security space. With Australia poised to take the G20 leader’s chair in just over two weeks (December 1, to be specific), my visit here could not have been better timed.

On this tour, I have been appearing with Melissa Hathaway, president of Hathaway Global Strategies, LLC and former White House cyber security chief, as she launches a new study entitled “The Cyber Readiness Index 1.0.” The study looks at the top 35 countries that have embraced Information and Communications Technology (ICT) and the Internet, and then evaluates each country’s maturity and commitment to cyber security across five essential elements that include: national strategy, incident response, e-crime law enforcement, information sharing, and investment in R&D. The study calculates a Cyber Readiness Index (CRI) based on these performance factors.

Read More »


Cybersecurity: Where are the Biggest Threats?

Rarely a week goes by that we don’t hear of a database compromise that results in confidential data—many times consisting of personally identifiable information (PII)—falling into the hands of those who should not have access to the data. Protection of our PII is becoming increasingly critical as more and more information is collected and stored through the use of Internet-enabled devices.

The following is an excerpt from a recent post by Patrick Finn, Senior Vice President of Cisco’s U.S. Public Sector Organization, that focuses on the threat of data breaches impacting government organizations and provides some guidelines for how these organizations can assess and remediate these threats.

“Cyber crimes, cyber thievery, and cyber warfare have become an everyday reality. In fact, security breaches are so prevalent that, according to a new study from the National Cyber Security Alliance and a private sector firm, 26 percent of Americans have been the victims of a data breach in the past 12 months alone. Not only do breaches reduce citizens’ trust in government to protect their confidential data, they also cost government agencies a significant amount of money. For most CIOs and other government keepers of data, these statistics prompt one immediate question – “Can this happen to us?” Unfortunately, the answer to this question is: yes, it can.”

For more on this topic please visit Patrick Finn’s entire post over on the Cisco Government Blog.

Tags: , , , , ,

Security: Front and Center at Cisco Live Cancun 2013

This year I was honored to be able to present and participate at Cisco Live Cancun, which took place last week. Many attendees from North, Central and South America and the Caribbean came to discover innovative ways that networking technologies can help them reach new markets and understand which solutions are right for their specific challenges.

Security was a hot topic this year!

Customers were able to connect with numerous experts for guidance and advice on security IT challenges that their company may be facing. Maintaining an appropriate security posture in “Bring Your Own Device” (BOYD) environments can be a challenge. This year I delivered a presentation about BYOD Security and Cisco’s TrustSec in an 8 ½ hour session titled “Bring Your Own Device – Architectures, Design and Operation” (TECRST-2020). Implementing BYOD requires a comprehensive solution that ensures the security and reliability of the network while enhancing user experience and productivity. The exponential growth of consumer devices and the need to maintain continuous connectivity to corporate and Internet resources has brought new challenges to corporate networks. Network managers struggle to provide adequate connectivity to employees while protecting corporate data. This session focused on the architecture and framework required to deploy the proper network infrastructure, security components and device management to support different endpoints, each with unique permissions into the network. A combination of lectures and live demos provided the information needed for customers to build an effective BYOD solution. The latest Cisco Validated Design guide (CVD) 2.5 for BYOD was covered highlighting different BYOD use cases, including TrustSec, converged access and the integration with Mobile Device Managers (MDM) to receive device posture information. Read More »

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

New Fake UPS Malware Email Campaign

We have detected evidence of a malware distribution campaign using messages masquerading as UPS delivery notification emails. These campaigns attempt to deceive the targets into thinking they are receiving mail from a trusted sender in order to dupe the recipient into installing malware, possibly for financial gain. Once the initial attack vector is installed, further malware may be distributed.

This  appears to be part of the same campaign seen by MalwareMustDie ( and uses the email subject “UPS Delivery Notification Tracking Number”. We have seen a limited number of customers receiving this spam starting yesterday (Tue Nov 5), suggesting that this is a fairly low volume campaign (at the moment). The message contains an attachment with a filename such as “invoiceU6GCMXGLL2O0N7QYDZ” and extension .txt or .doc which is a disguised rtf file.

Section of the mail attachment containing rtf objocx tag

Section of the mail attachment containing rtf objocx tag

According to our analysis the malware attempts to download additional files by exploiting CVE-2012-0158 affecting old versions of Microsoft Office, which is detected by Cisco IPS signature 1131 and is available as a Metasploit module. In this case the malware being distributed seems to be a form of ransomware. Ransomware typically encrypts files on an infected machine and requires the user to pay for the release of their data. This particular piece of ransomware appears to be distinct from the samples we have been seeing as part of the Cryptolocker campaign, but comes in the wake of increased interest and discussion of this kind of attack.

    Attached malware making a request to the control server at

Attached malware making a request to the control server at

As ever, users should remain vigilant when opening email links and attachments, and be wary of a message purporting to be an automated order confirmation from a company such as FedEx and UPS, as this is a common tactic which has also been identified as a possible method for distributing Cryptolocker.

Additional analysis of this attack can be found here:

Malicious rtf:   7c2fd4abfe8640f8db0d18dbecaf8bb4

Downloaded exe:     e5e1ee559dcad00b6f3da78c68249120


Thanks to Cisco researchers Craig Williams and Martin Lee for assistance with this post.


Tags: , ,

Security Drives Major Transition in the Network and Data Center

Today, rapid changes in the world we live in, driven by technology trends, business model changes and market transitions, like the Internet of Everything, profoundly impact our networks and our data centers. With the advent of all of these new capabilities, we have created a new paradigm for security—it is what I refer to as the “Any to Any” Problem. That is, any user on any device increasingly going over any type of connection, to any application, that could be running in any data center and on any cloud. Regardless of how or where our users are connecting, we have to provide the right levels of inspection and protection against malicious actors.

Today, Cisco is announcing the new Application Centric Infrastructure (ACI) designed to seamlessly integrate layer 4 through layer 7—and security, in particular—into next generation Data Center environments. As part of this framework, we are announcing ACI Security Solutions, which support next generation Cisco ASA physical and virtual firewall technologies by stitching them directly into the ACI network fabric, and can be managed using the ACI Policy Infrastructure Controller management tool.

The Cisco ASA 5585-X Series Next-Generation Security Appliance has been updated and certified to interoperate with the new Nexus 9000 switches—whether they are deployed in traditional or ACI modes. The new Cisco ASA Virtual Firewall (ASAv) performs the same functions as any ASA appliance. However, unlike an ASA 1000v Cloud Firewall, the ASAv maintains its own data path. This allows it to work with any virtual switch and it will be available on multiple hypervisors.  Read More »

Tags: , , , , ,