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Mobile Security: Is the Risk Worth the Reward?

This blog is part two of a three-part blog series discussing how organizations can address mobile security concerns through an architectural approach to mobility.

In my first post of this three-part series, I discussed how next-gen Wi-Fi models will pave the way for secure mobility and the value of secure Wi-Fi. In this post I’d like to take the mobility conversation a bit further and outline potential risks and rewards that IT departments face when deciding to deploy mobility solutions in our Internet of Everything (IoE) landscape.

A big factor for IT to adopt a mobility strategy with new technology and solutions is weighing the practical risks versus the rewards they stand to gain. A recent ISACA survey of IT professionals offered insight into how employed consumers think and act in terms of security and mobility. The study and ISACA’s 2013 IT Risk/Reward Barometer reveal:

  • Only 4% of those surveyed named the makers of their mobile phone apps as the entity they most trust with their personal data
  • 90% don’t always read privacy policies before downloading apps to their devices

Most of us are familiar with the rewards of mobility, but the belief and behavior gap illustrated by the ISACA survey proves we need to better understand risks of mobility. Read More »

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Summary: With IoE and a Smartphone, You Can Shop Like a Superhero

Are you at #NRF14 this week? Join us in Booth 1954 and learn about our solutions to integrate next-gen technology into retail.

Superheroes and their super strengths have long captured our imaginations. Today, such daydreams – and abilities are getting just a bit closer to reality.

When your smartphone meets the Internet of Everything (IoE), it will make some common activities, such as shopping, a bit more super. Mobility has already assumed a central role in the retail experience, but how are increased contextual capabilities emerging across the entire customer journey?

This blog discusses how some retailers are connecting people to people and people to things, while tapping superpower abilities and making their brands and product experiences distinct.

With the superpowers of smartphones and IoE, retailers can insert themselves into crucial conversations with the customer by offering price matching, access to expanded inventories, suggestions, and shopping lists. All of these combine to keep shoppers engaged and moving along the journey – and beyond.

Read the full article: With IoE and a Smartphone, You Can Shop Like a Superhero

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Cisco CMX @ CES 2014

internationalces14This week CES was once again held in Las Vegas with in excess of 100,000 people in attendance.

Cisco demonstrated a number of CMX and IoT related things this week.

Firstly “The Internet of Everything:  On The Go”

In the Cisco booth some future thinking was applied with a concept that imagines the shopping experience with a simulated retail environment:  “BigBox.” While shopping at BigBox, visitors can walk through a combination of experiences involving location-based data, video, predictive analytics, security cameras, and sensors – designed to help retailers enrich the shopping trip for their customers, and more efficiently manage their stores.

Somewhat scary for some and exciting for others, while all the time enabling retailer increase their bottom line and deliver improved and personalized shopping experience to the consumers.

The next demo “Starlight Resort” was a combination of CMX, and Small Cell capabilities in the hotel resort environment. Read More »

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When Network Clocks Attack

TRACIn October 2013, Cisco TRAC discussed Network Time Protocol (NTP) as a possible vector for amplified distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks. Litnet CERT has since revealed that their NTP servers were used in a denial of service (DoS) attack. Symantec also published information regarding an NTP amplification-based DDoS attack that occurred in December 2013. On December 7, 2013, a user posted an NTP amplification DDoS script to Pastebin. The NTP DDoS script is heavily obfuscated Perl, though the plain text at the top credits the “leaking” of the script to an individual who goes by the handle Starfall. Brian Krebs also mentioned someone going by the name Starfall as a paying user of They may be the same person.

Decoding the obfuscated Perl yields some interesting insights. For example, this code near the top of the script has nothing to do with the NTP DDoS functionality:

The code above downloads a program called from IP, then runs and erases that program while writing the text “j00 g0t 0wn3d s0n” into a hidden file. Unfortunately, we were unable to obtain a copy of the script, but the ominous “j00 g0t 0wn3d s0n” text indicates the purpose of the program was likely to compromise the machine of anyone who was running the obfuscated NTP DDoS script. Is there no honor among hackers?
Read More »

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2014: More Secure Access, Please

Are you back from holiday break all refreshed and ready to embrace 2014 with confidence?

Many organizations will see new devices on their networks given the recent massive holiday gift giving. In particular, educational organizations will be morst likely to be impacted. It seems there was no new hot toy (must-have gift) noted this year because kids want electronics. A recent survey indicated that 88% of kids ages 12 to 17 said that they most wanted a gadget as a holiday gift, with the majority (69%) requesting some kind of Apple device.

Students are returning to school with their shiny new electronic mobile devices and no hesitation to access the resources at school. Educational institutions continue to strive to enable users, while minimizing potential risk, and security continues to be the top concern.

Secure AccessConsider this:

Secure Mobility in Higher Education

Secure Mobility in K-12 Education

The challenge of secure mobility will persist as the device storm continues. 2014 opens with the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, January 7-10. The last couple years the show highlighted latest smart phones and tablets. It seems this year a heavy focus on the Internet of Things—with sensor-based devices that feed information to a computer over the Internet, further emphasizing the Any to Any problem, which changes the security paradigm. Any user on any device increasingly going over any type of connection, to any application, that could be running in any data center and on any cloud. Regardless of how or where our users are connecting, we have to provide the right levels of inspection and protection against malicious intruders who may steal sensitive data or disrupt business. Let’s start to think and be prepared for what organizations may see coming on their networks and what the security implications may be for next year.

Happy 2014!

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