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Operational Security Intelligence

Security intelligence, threat intelligence, cyber threat intelligence, or “intel” for short is a popular topic these days in the Infosec world. It seems everyone has a feed of “bad” IP addresses and hostnames they want to sell you, or share. This is an encouraging trend in that it indicates the security industry is attempting to work together to defend against known and upcoming threats. Many services like Team CymruShadowServerThreatExpertClean MX, and Malware Domain List offer lists of known command and control servers, dangerous URIs, or lists of hosts in your ASN that have been checking-in with known malicious hosts. This is essentially outsourced or assisted incident detection. You can leverage these feeds to let you know what problems you already have on your network, and to prepare for future incidents. This can be very helpful, especially for organizations with no computer security incident response teams (CSIRT) or an under-resourced security or IT operations group.

There are also commercial feeds which range anywhere from basic notifications to full-blown managed security solution. Government agencies and industry specific organizations also provide feeds targeted towards specific actors and threats. Many security information and event management systems (SIEMs) offer built-in feed subscriptions available only to their platform. The field of threat intelligence services is an ever-growing one, offering options from open source and free, to commercial and classified.  Full disclosure: Cisco is also in the threat intelligence business

However the intent of this article is not to convince you that one feed is better than another, or to help you select the right feed for your organization. There are too many factors to consider, and the primary intention of this post is to make you ask yourself, “I have a threat intelligence feed, now what?”  Read More »

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Where’s Our Grace?

Every year in Scottsdale, Arizona, there’s a unique Information Security conference created by Joyce Brocaglia at ALTA, supported by a who’s who of InfoSec companies like Cisco, RSA, and Symantec, and attended by hundreds of some of the brightest people I’ve ever met. It’s no coincidence that they are all women because this is the Executive Women’s Forum (EWF) and always a highlight of my year.

A special treat for me this year was the presentation by Edna Conway, CISO for Cisco System’s supply chain and, as it turns out, a brilliant and inspiring woman.

A few weeks earlier, after reading that Edna was to be a keynote speaker at the event, I sent her an email just to introduce myself, say “hello,” and let her know that I looked forward to hearing her presentation. Not what I expected, Edna responded with a warm welcome for me to Cisco (yup—I’m a Cisco newbie after almost 30 years with HP!) and said that she was looking forward to getting some help from me on her current focus: securing Cisco’s supply chain. Great! Love to help, let’s keep in touch. However, when she presented to the EWF audience the strategy that she’d already developed and implemented, I was humbled by what an amazingly thorough job she’d done. The other women in the audience recognized the value in her strategy as well, as they lined up to speak with her after her address, and to ask for her help at their own companies. I saw the undeniable admiration in the eyes of these successful women executives—and those aspiring to be successful women executives—and something remarkable occurred to me. Read More »

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SecCon 2013: Global and Local

SecCon is our internal security conference, which for the past five years has taken place live in San Jose. Many industry recognized experts  over the years have graced the stage, and the security community at Cisco looks forward to each December where we gather together to network  and  learn  about the new threats that face our products.  In past years, remote sites around the globe were linked into San Jose, sharing part of the speaker line-up and also giving local security people at remote sites the ability to speak to a local audience. In 2013, for the first time ever, SecCon events were hosted in remote locations.

The goal of these events is twofold: first, to provide high-quality, topical security education to those people responsible for building our products, and second, to growthe security community amongst our engineering population. We believe that security must be part of everyone’s job description at Cisco. We are all part of the security solution, and we use these SecCon events to band together. Read More »

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Cisco Presenting at BayThreat 2013 in Mountain View, CA

BayThreat 2013, the fourth annual information security conference in the San Francisco South Bay, will be held December 6th & 7th. Many South Bay security professionals attend this technical conference. Cisco is a proud sponsor and my colleague, Joe Karpenko, and I will be presenting Beware of Network: Unleash your Network on Threats and Adversaries.

We’ll discuss the results of Cisco’s ongoing threat analysis research and how to leverage network instrumentation as critical incident response components that will help protect your network infrastructure, proprietary and customer information, servers, clients, and users. Network instrumentation is the basis of many of our incident response recommendations and ideally should be implemented while we are preparing to respond to incidents, not in the middle of one. Once we’ve instrumented the network we can leverage the information it provides to gain insight into and quickly respond to threats.

The full list of presenters for the two day conference is here. Please join us and all of the other attending security professionals on December 6 & 7, 2013 at the Hacker Dojo in Mountain View, CA for BayThreat 2013!

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Security: Front and Center at Cisco Live Cancun 2013

November 12, 2013 at 5:00 am PST

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 »

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