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Help! I Need to Respond to All These Cisco IOS Software Vulnerabilities and I Cannot Scale!!!

October 23, 2012 at 7:32 am PST

No software is immune to security vulnerabilities. The time between the discovery and disclosure of security vulnerabilities and the availability of an exploit is getting shorter. This imposes pressures on network security professionals and information technology (IT) managers to quickly respond to security vulnerabilities or apply mitigation in their network. Many organizations are struggling to keep up-to-date with the constant release of new vulnerabilities and software fixes. At the same time, they are under pressure to provide near 100% availability of key business services and systems.

Note: Cisco has a very robust vulnerability management process. This process is described in detail at Cisco’s Security Vulnerability Policy. The Cisco Product Security Incident Response Team (PSIRT) manages the receipt, investigation, and public reporting of security vulnerability information that is related to Cisco products and networks.

As an example, every time Cisco discloses a security vulnerability for Cisco IOS Software (or any given product), network security administrators have to identify affected devices and (in numerous cases) upgrade such devices. These activities can take hours, days, or even weeks depending on the size of the organization. For instance large enterprises and organizations may have thousands of routers and switches that need to be assessed for the impact of any given vulnerability.

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Automating Cisco IOS Vulnerability Assessment

September 26, 2012 at 9:14 am PST

Security automation is a hot topic these days. Most organizations have many systems to patch and configure securely, with numerous versions of software and features enabled. Many security administrators are seeking ways to leverage standards and available tools to reduce the complexity and time necessary to respond to security advisories, assess their devices, and ensure compliance so they can allocate resources to focus on other areas of their network and security infrastructure.

Cisco is committed to protect customers by sharing critical security-related information in different formats.

Starting today, September 26, 2012, Cisco’s Product Security Incident Response Team (PSIRT) is including Open Vulnerability and Assessment Language (OVAL) definitions in Cisco IOS security advisories. Read More »

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Cisco IOS Software Security Advisory Bundle Announced

Today Cisco Security Intelligence Operations (SIO) has released its Semi-annual Cisco IOS Software Security Advisory Bundle, the second and final IOS bundle publication of 2012. Today’s release includes nine advisories, of which five have workarounds.

As in previous bundle publications, Cisco SIO has provided an array of security resources to help customers secure their networks. This collateral is not unique to bundle security advisories and instead is part of SIO’s response to current security events. Resources include: Read More »

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The September 2012 Cisco Security Advisory Bundle is Coming Soon!

As previously discussed here on the Cisco Security blog, the Cisco Product Security Incident Response Team (PSIRT) follows a twice-per-year schedule for disclosing high-severity security vulnerabilities in Cisco IOS Software. The next Cisco IOS Software Security Advisory Bundle will be released on the 26th of September at 16:00 GMT. Our Security Vulnerability Policy describes the schedule best:

In direct response to customer feedback, Cisco releases bundles of Cisco IOS Software Security Advisories on the fourth Wednesday 16:00 GMT of the month in March and September of each calendar year. This schedule applies to the disclosure of Cisco IOS Software vulnerabilities and does not apply to the disclosure of vulnerabilities in other Cisco products.

We offer several convenient and timely ways to learn of new
Cisco Security Advisories and Cisco Security Advisory Bundles.

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Product Security Incident Managers…A Closer Look

Product security covers quite a broad spectrum of knowledge areas within the realm of technologies applied to enable communications in this highly connected world. However, there is a natural tendency to first focus on the basic capabilities of the product itself. But later, questions arise such as “Is the product in operation vulnerable and if yes, what are the next steps to protecting against the vulnerability?” or “What can I do if I suspect a security issue with a product?” As much as one would like to sustain 100% immunity against any vulnerability or issue, events happen, inherent product weaknesses are discovered or new attack vectors and methods arise to expose ways to compromise a product’s operation or behavior. At Cisco, the people that rapidly converge on such occurrences or the potential for such occurrences are the Incident Managers (IM) who reside at the core of the Product Security Incident Response Team (PSIRT) within Security Intelligence Operations (SIO). I think it is fascinating how well this team seamlessly executes with the precision, efficacy, and timeliness on a day-in-day-out basis covering a large array of complex hardware, software, and technologies. The IM focuses on driving the underlying processes around the discovery of security disclosures and issues related to Cisco products and networks. I hope you will find that this article provides you with an informative and personal perspective on the IM role that is integral to the ongoing efforts essential to protecting the Cisco customer.

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