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March Madness May Equal to Malware Madness

March 29, 2013 at 8:05 am PST

basketball1Are you excited about March Madness? Turn on a TV and it will be hard to avoid the games, the news, the commentaries, and the jokes about it. If you eavesdrop in any restaurant, bar, or office conversation, I can assure you that you will hear something about it. Even U.S. President Barack Obama filled out a March Madness bracket. Productivity in many offices drops significantly as employees search and watch videos to see how their bracket picks are progressing. At Cisco, we have an open policy and employees can watch and search the scores of their favorite teams. Watch this video posted by CNN where Kip Compton, Cisco’s Video Collaboration Group CTO, talks about March Madness.

During the last couple of years, the industry saw a spike in web malware during the March Madness season. SQL injection attacks, iframe injections, JavaScript, and Java malware were some of the most prevalent. A few months ago, I provided details about some of today’s cyber-criminal tools— exploit kits—and some of the weapons of choice like Blackhole, RedKit, Styx, CrimeBoss, and Cool.

A few things to keep in mind:

  • Legitimate business sites may have vulnerabilities that allow a hostile site to deliver malware.
  • In most drive-by downloads, the victim is willing to dismissively click pop-ups and warnings as they navigate to the desired content. In this case, users may just click on pop-ups or ads to watch videos about their favorite team.
  • Most drive-by downloads can be prevented by keeping software up to date. Read More »

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News@Cisco Week in Review and Look Ahead: May 2-6

Happy (late) Cinco de Mayo — or should I say Happy Cisco de Mayo!  It was another busy week here at Cisco.  Some of our top stories included features on the future of live sports distribution and customer networks.  Cisco also announced that it is now delivering containerized data centers! For more information, read below.

1.) To Stream or Not to Stream? The Future of Live Sports Distribution

There is an argument among TV broadcast networks that streaming live sports on the Internet and on mobile devices cannibalizes their TV ratings. However, the opposite appears to be true. Case in point is the March Madness basketball tournament this spring; the games were shown live on TV and also streamed live online. Interestingly enough, viewership increased in both domains. Perhaps live Internet streaming can happily live side by side with TV viewership, and maybe even enhance it. What are your thoughts?

Read More »

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And, after March Madness, where Manufacturing?

So here we are, at the end of March Madness. I saw a news story today that said out of 500,000 people that picked a bracket only 2 picked the existing Final Four.

I heard other statistics about how many times the top 1 and 2 seeds didn’t make it to the Final Four. This was a very unique season.

So, OK. This week baseball season opens. And by the way, the Brewers will rock the league.

But let’s talk about Manufacturing.

We know you are reading our blogs. Some of you comment on them. Some of you comment privately to others. Some of you probably read them and think whatever your thoughts are.

Here is your opportunity:

Peter and Chet and Paul and Kevin and I will continue to write blogs about whatever “we” think is the relevant topic of the week.

But, we would far rather write about what you think is important. Let us know that. What do you want us to do with this blog, and what do you want us to talk about?

By the way -- my Final Four choices got broken pretty early. And it was a pretty great season, yes? I picked the top 1 seeds from each group, so hey, I was wrong. But I had good rationale for my choices. As does the rest of our Cisco manufacturing team. Try us, ask away, engage us. You won’t be sorry.

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Borderless Networks and Manufacturing

So here we are, in the middle of March Madness. Lots of people that don’t normally follow college basketball, but still a great social environment and an opportunity to get together and pretend we know the teams we all picked in our brackets. Sometimes we pick based on “loyalty” and other times there are other reasons.  We all have various “borders” we deal with every day.

So, bring on Borderless Networks. In the manufacturing area we still tend to think of a “border” between the factory and the business. After all, how can those people in the front office know what we need in the factory, right? Well, that separation gets smaller and smaller every day. Why? Because we’ve blurred the border. Sure, there are appropriate firewalls and security between the various layers. But every day we run into people that tell about needing data from the plant, from the machine, from the supplier, from the sales force, from the channel, from the customer. And sometimes we’re not in the office, we may be at home, at a different supplier, in an airport, at a concert or ball game with our kids.

The point becomes, there is data there and I am not there but I need to make a call and affect my plant productivity or answer a question from my CEO because there is a big opportunity or a major customer disappointment about to happen.

Read More »

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April Fools Day Follows the March Madness

I’m a big basketball fan, especially the last few minutes of big games, so I’m feeling quite insane this week after some of my favorite teams lost in the earlier rounds! (On a related note, thank goodness, the women from Cal and Stanford are keeping the Bay Area still involved!) For the benefit of our readers outside North America, I’ll explain that the annual “March Madness” U.S. men’s college basketball tournament is currently in full motion for fans of the 60+ teams involved.

I know what you’re thinking, it’s hard to imagine that anything could possibly be more competitive than the current debate about the ultimate winner of 4G wireless standards adoption, but these college basketball fans can get a little crazy about supporting their own favorite.

The growth of online video will be of interest to the CBS television network, which also owns the Internet distribution rights to March Madness coverage. They expect their online video advertising revenues to increase 20 percent this year to $30 million. And you can play back the highlights on your mobile device wherever, whenever and analyze the three pointer at the buzzer! Of course, once that video content is streamed live online, it may also test the limits of wireless carrier networks as eager fans view the video on broadband-equipped mobile devices. Read More »

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