Cisco Blogs


Cisco Blog > Education

Tackling the Cybersecurity Skills Gap

The demand for skilled IT security professionals is growing everyday in both the private and public sector, and much of today’s security training is dangerously out of step with current threats.

A recent Ponemon Cyber Attack study found that cyber crime was up 78% in 2013 vs. 2012, with resolution and recovery time more than doubling over the past year, costing organizations tens of millions of dollars annually.

Read More »

Tags: , , , , , ,

Bridging the Looming Global IT Security Professional Shortage

I must admit that I recorded the accompanying video blog post before I had a chance to read the 2014 Cisco Annual Security Report (CASR), but this time slip on my part sets up a now-more-than-ever situation for what I’m about to tell you. The CASR projects 500,000 to 1,000,000 person global shortage in the number of IT security professionals that public and private sector organizations will need to cope with the security challenges of the foreseeable future. Yikes!

How will societies around the world bridge this gap? Technical schools and universities can train new people, but that’s going to take time for them to respond to demand, much less do the actual training. Public and private organizations can also recruit existing security professionals, but this can quickly turn into a bidding war for talent. I can also project increased demand for outsourced security services, but many of the supply and demand dynamics will apply here as with recruiting from the pool of established experts. Read More »

Tags: , , ,

Cisco 2014 Annual Security Report: Cybercriminals Applying “Old” Techniques in New Ways

We know that as time goes on, the cybercrime network’s operations will only more closely resemble those of any legitimate, sophisticated business network. And like all enterprising businesspeople, those who are part of the “cybercriminal hierarchy”—which is discussed in the Cisco 2014 Annual Security Report and illustrated below—look to increase their profits by continually innovating new products and improving upon existing ones.

This was certainly the trend in 2013: Cisco researchers observed cybercriminals applying several tried-and-true techniques in new, bold, and highly strategic ways. The Cisco 2014 Annual Security Report examines some of these actions and our associated research in detail, including:

  • Brute-force login attempts: There was a threefold increase in the use of brute-force login attempts just in the first half of 2013. Cisco TRAC/SIO researchers discovered a hub of data with millions of username and password combinations that malicious actors were using to feed these actions. Many brute-force login attempts are being directed specifically at popular content-management system (CMS) platforms like WordPress, Joomla, and Drupal. (Read the Cisco 2014 Annual Security Report to find out why CMS platforms are favored targets—especially for adversaries trying to commandeer hosting servers in an effort to compromise the Internet’s infrastructure.)
  • Distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks: Another oldie but goodie among cybercrime techniques, DDoS attacks have been increasing in both volume and severity since 2012. But today’s DDoS attacks aren’t just about creating disruption for businesses or making a political statement. There is evidence some attacks are now being used as smokescreens to conceal the theft of funds. The DarkSeoul attacks, examined in the Cisco 2014 Annual Security Report and a big focus for our researchers last year, are an example of this strategy. Looking ahead, we expect DDoS attacks launched through DNS amplification to be an ongoing concern. (It’s not a big leap when you consider The Open Resolver Project reports that 28 million open resolvers on the Internet pose a “significant threat.”)
  • Ransomware: In 2013, we saw many attackers moving away from traditional botnet-driven infections on PCs and increasing their use of ransomware. This includes a new type of malware in this category called Cryptolocker, which our researchers discovered last fall. Ransomware prevents normal operation of infected systems until a prescribed fee is paid. It provides a direct revenue stream for attackers—and it’s hard to track.

The Cisco 2014 Annual Security Report also notes that while the tactics used by today’s profit-oriented online criminals are only growing in sophistication, there’s a shortage of security talent to help organizations address these threats. The bottom line: Most organizations just don’t have the people or systems to monitor their networks consistently. There’s also a clear need for data scientists who can help the business understand why cybersecurity needs to be a top priority, and how security and business objectives can (and should) be aligned.

Tags: , , , , ,

Cisco Chief Security Officer on President Obama’s Data Collection Speech

“President Obama’s announcement represents one of many important steps required to address global concerns about privacy and data collection. Our customers require that privacy, security, and transparency be at the foundation of the equipment, services, and capabilities they purchase from technology companies. We remain committed to working with our customers, technology providers, and governments to deliver on the promise of a global, secure Internet.”

(Editor’s note: you can view President Obama’s speech here.)

Tags: , , ,

What Next for BYOD?

One of the interesting and challenging aspects of working in the Mobility space is the sheer pace at which the industry is moving.  I’m fortunate to work with many Customers in EMEA to help support and shape their strategy towards Mobile technology.  A great example of this has been the reaction to BYOD.

The influx of personal devices into the Enterprise caused by the BYOD trend poses numerous challenges to IT Departments.  Understandably, initial reaction was to focus on network and device level Security.

Cisco responded by introducing a BYOD Solution to remove some of the burden from IT Departments and provide them with a central point for managing many aspects of the BYOD lifecycle: onboarding, device profiling, authentication, authorization, offboarding and self-service management.

Almost at the same time, a new industry segment was created: Mobile Device Management. The intent of MDM systems is Read More »

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,