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Cisco Updates Its Next-Generation Firewall Management Application – Prime Security Manager

For those who are not familiar with the Cisco Prime Security Manager, it is a management application that was introduced in 2012 to manage Cisco ASA 5500-X Series Next-Generation Firewalls. It is built on Web 2.0 technologies and supports both single-device and multi-device manager form factors to help manage various features such as Application Visibility and Control (AVC), along with web security in a simple, light-weight, and scalable manner. The AVC capability helps to block around 1200+ applications and 150,000+ micro-applications, in addition to specific users, behaviors, micro-applications, and devices. The web security service also provides URL filtering and Web reputation features to proactively restrict web application usage based on reputation of the site. Through Cisco Security Intelligence Operations (SIO), these services provide a comprehensive view of the local and global threat intelligence landscape. This is eventually translated to actionable items such as security polices and information feeds that protect your business from near real-time zero-day threats. Read More »

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Mobility: No Longer a Risky Business?

Risk. It’s not just a strategic board game; in business it’s the analysis that determines the potential for loss.CiscoSecurity

In today’s organization, the consumerization of IT has led to groundbreaking developments in the mobility space. The broad deployment of BYOD, coupled with the availability of corporate data and applications, have challenged how we define security. And with recent news reports citing the rise of mobile hacking and network threats, the security of mobile technology and the data it carries seems to be at risk.

Fortunately, all is not lost.

Mobility gives employees and providers options for the workplace and creating a mobile experience that is efficient and innovative. It is also helping businesses save and make money. Today, employees in any place on any device can access any application across any network in any cloud. As a result, there are challenges associated with implementing a comprehensive BYOD policy that encompasses a proliferation of devices connecting to a network.

Even though mobility can cut costs and increase productivity, 60 percent of IT professionals recently surveyed believe mobile devices in 2013 present more of a risk to their organization than they did in 2012. And even with the growing concerns over mobile security, it still appears that only 60 percent of organizations require security technology for mobility plans. Why isn’t that number higher? After all Android Malware grew 2,577 percent in 2012 alone.

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Standing Up to Threats: The Cisco 2013 Annual Security Report & Security Intelligence Operations [Infographic]

Are you thinking about the evolving threat landscape? You should be. Each day, new vulnerabilities are found and new exploits are crafted. Attackers are becoming increasingly sophisticated, while industry trends such as cloud computing and mobility are rapidly expanding the attack surfaces. Your mobile device could act like a Trojan horse, passing right through your network perimeter. Or your compromised server could spread an infection to your most sensitive assets.

This is the first in a series of blog posts that focuses on how Cisco stays ahead of the latest security threats. Of course, to stay on top of something as fast changing and widespread as security threats, you need to understand them in great detail.

And that’s what the Cisco 2013 Annual Security Report (ASR) and Cisco Security Intelligence Operations (SIO) offer. Read More »

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Network Threats Are Hitching a Ride in Mobile Environments

Innovation never stops in the mobile world, and that rule applies to security threats as well. Network attacks are becoming more sophisticated and even high-tech businesses with the most advanced security may find themselves in the crosshairs as we shift to more devices and anywhere access.

Just a few weeks ago, multiple leading social networking and large enterprises were hit with an attack when their employees visited a known and trusted website focused on mobile application development. Attackers used a method commonly referred to as “water-holing,” where they compromise a legitimate site commonly visited by employees of their target organizations. Using zero-day vulnerabilities and malicious code that change at a rapid rate, these attacks highlight the need to consistently enhance traditional defenses based on signatures or reputation with global and local context analysis.

This episode underscores how important security is in a more mobile, more connected world—attackers are paying attention, using these industry trends to create targeted and sophisticated attacks that can bypass traditional defenses. The Cisco 2013 Annual Security Report found that Android Malware grew 2,577 percent in 2012 alone. The Internet of Everything is taking shape and the number of online connections is soaring. According to Gartner’s Top 10 Strategic Technology Trends for 2013, 30 billion things will be connected by 2020.

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Security Assessments: More Than Meets the Eye

Is the product safe to use? I have been asked this question on occasion in a non-technical sense and maybe you have too. In a technical context, I could frame the question as “Are the online services and underlying technologies supporting my services safe?”  A continuous effort must go into substantiating the preferable answer (“Yes”) that we are looking for, both prior to and after releasing a product or service into the wild. Security Intelligence Operations (SIO) includes a team of network security experts that form the Security Technology Assessment Team (STAT). They provide security assessment expertise across Cisco’s product and services organizations. In this article, I elaborate on their role and how they complement product and services organizations at Cisco in helping to protect you, our customer.

In the not-so-distant past it used to be that the majority of notoriety around product security was focused more around physical aspects. For example, a manufacturer announces a product recall about a defect (i.e. vulnerability) that could cause potential physical harm or worse. Fast-forward to today where computing devices and associated Internet plumbing comprise an entirely distinct category of product security needed.  Within that category, I would also suggest that services and the underlying supporting infrastructure would also fall into this category in the ongoing quest for achieving network security.  I think that this quote from a U.S. government hearing underscores the value of that quest as well.

When we bring in new technologies, we bring in new exposures and new vulnerabilities, things we really haven’t thought about. It takes a little while before we understand it, and after a while we begin to secure it. But our mindset needs to change. This is not the same as industrial technologies or new ways of doing aircraft or cars. These technologies are global and they expose us globally, literally within milliseconds.

House of Representatives Hearing on Cybersecurity: Emerging Threats, vulnerabilities, and challenges in securing federal information systems

Business units and quality assurance groups at Cisco apply multi-level security processes throughout the development of products and services to ensure that security is embedded into everything that is ultimately delivered to customers. For example, Cisco’s secure development life cycle (SDL) provides a highly effective process in detecting and preventing security vulnerabilities and improving overall system quality.  Cisco SDL has several elements that include, but not limited to, source code analysis and white box testing that feed into the security posture of a product or service.  Cisco has a security advocates program, a virtual community of people who understand network security and secure product development (and testing) and who can share and evangelize that knowledge with their peers, their colleagues, and their management.

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