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RATs in Your Data Center

News agencies like ABC News, CNN, and others have run stories on the FBI sting operation against more than 100 hackers who were involved in using and/or distributing the Blackshades RAT (articles in the hyperlinks for reference). For a mere US$40, a novice computer user can become a hacker and gain access to anyone’s computer, including gaining control over their video camera. If this novice hacker in the making needs help operating the RAT, many video instructions can be found on YouTube. This would be a form of free technical support. With over an estimated 500,000 computers infected, that leaves behind a serious footprint of compromised devices. As Marty Roesch, Cisco VP, Security Architect would say, “If you knew you were going to be compromised, would you do security differently?”

With over a half a million computers compromised from a single remote access toolkit, it is reasonable to think that a high percentage of those compromised computers would unknowingly be brought back to work and connected to the corporate network. Although inexpensive, the Blackshades RAT has an extensive set of capabilities such as keystroke logger, web cam control, full file access, etc. More than enough for the cyber attacker to assume the full identity of the owner of the compromised computer to allow them easy access to the business critical servers inside the data center as depicted in the diagram.

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CiscoLive – 25 Years and 25,000 People

We celebrated 25 years of CiscoLive last week in San Francisco, with more than 25,000 people attending (live) to learn more about the power of the Internet of Everything and the value it will bring for years to come.

My favorite part… a ‘dancing’ John Chambers as an intro and close to his opening keynote kicked off the event Monday afternoon.  He focused on IoE as a movement that will be enabled by Fast IT and that change is a constant in business.  He stressed that those who do not change fast enough will not survive.  And, he noted that only 24 percent of the Fortune 500 companies still reside on that list from just 25 years ago.

Rob Lloyd, Cisco president of development and sales, complimented John’s keynote with his own the next day, adding that FastIT is based on Application Centric Infrastructure (ACI) and Intercloud.

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Cisco Live!: Threat-Centric Security from Networks to Data Centers to Clouds

Security has emerged as a leading pain point for CIOs, executives, and even in the boardroom due to changing business models and growing attack surfaces, a threat landscape that is more dynamic by the day and the increasing complexity of IT environments.

With these challenges as a backdrop, attendees of our 25th annual Cisco Live! event last week in San Francisco absorbed over 170 hours of security-focused material, including hands-on labs, seminars, technical breakouts, panel discussions, and keynotes. This overwhelming amount of time and effort is a testament to Cisco’s commitment to protecting our customers against the latest threats across the full attack continuum—before, during, and after an attack.

In case you could not attend or make a session, particular highlights from the week included Chris Young and Bryan Palma’s keynote (must create Cisco Live account to view) examining the security challenges brought about by the Internet of Everything. Chief architect Martin Roesch also led a session exploring threat-centric security, examining the modern threat landscape, and how threat-centric security increases the effectiveness of threat prevention.

From a product perspective, momentum continued as we announced major updates and new products during Cisco Live! to help our customers address their security needs across the attack continuum with protection from the network to the data center to the endpoint to the cloud.

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My Week at CiscoLive! San Francisco 2014

SDN-SDN-SDN…No longer does it stand for “Still Does Nothing”! Welcome to the world of Cisco where today is ACI and tomorrow is a stellar collaboration lineup. I hope you are prepared for a wild ride!

This year was the 25th Anniversary of Cisco Live, previously known as “Networkers”, and what an event it was! The Moscone Center neighborhood in San Francisco was abuzz with excitement as the event drew in a crowd of 22,000 registered participants.
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Cisco Partner Weekly Rewind – May 23, 2014

Each week, we’ll highlight the most important Cisco partner news and stories, as well as point you to important, Cisco-related partner content you may have missed along the way. Here’s what you might have missed this week:

Off the Top

I just got back from Cisco Live US in San Francisco, and while my flight back was a little bumpy, the event this week was smooth sailing. As usual, we provided recaps giving our partners some insight into the areas of Cisco Live where you might want to focus. Be sure to review my recap of the first two days and my recap of the remainder of the week in San Francisco.

My colleague, Anna Sui, and I also wanted to capture the real “flavor” of being in San Francisco this week, so here are some reasons you might want to attend a Cisco Live event, and some of these reasons may not always be what you think…

For those of you that joined us in San Francisco, I hope you had a great time and learned a lot. Please let me know if you need any other information and I’ll follow up with you. Read More »

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