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Omar Santos

Principal Engineer

Cisco Product Security Incident Response Team (PSIRT) Security Research and Operations

Omar Santos is an active member of the cyber security community, where he leads several industry-wide initiatives and standards bodies. His active role helps businesses, academic institutions, state and local law enforcement agencies, and other participants dedicated to increasing the security of their critical infrastructures.

Omar is the author of more than twenty (20) books and video courses, as well as numerous white papers, articles, and security configuration guidelines and best practices. Omar is a principal engineer of the Cisco Product Security Incident Response Team (PSIRT), where he mentors and leads engineers and incident managers during the investigation and resolution of cyber security vulnerabilities. Additional information about Omar's current projects can be found at this website, and you can follow Omar on Twitter: @santosomar

Articles

October 2, 2013

SECURITY

Using DNS RPZ to Block Malicious DNS Requests

After delivering several presentations at Cisco Live and Cisco Connect this year, I received a few questions regarding DNS Response Policy Zones (RPZ) and how can they be used to block DNS resolution to known malicious hosts and sites. I decided to write this short post to explain what it is and provide several pointers. […]

August 6, 2013

SECURITY

BREACH, CRIME and Black Hat

During the last three years, the security research community has been having a lot of fun with SSL/TLS uncovering a few nifty attacks. First, in 2011, Juliano Rizzo and Thai Duong released the details about the BEAST attack on Transport Layer Security (TLS) at the ekoparty Security Conference in Buenos Aires, Argentina. I wrote a […]

June 24, 2013

SECURITY

BYOD: Many Call It Bring Your Own Malware (BYOM)

It is not new that people are referring to Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) as Bring Your Own Malware (BYOM). In 2012 alone, Android malware encounters grew 2,577 percent (for details, see Cisco’s Annual Security Report). Many organizations are struggling to keep up with the BYOD trend by allowing employees to bring their favorite gadgets […]

April 19, 2013

SECURITY

Security Automation Live Webcast!

UPDATE: Webcast information is also now available at the Cisco Live 365 site Many network security administrators are struggling to keep their network “up-to-date” with the constant release of new vulnerabilities and software fixes. At the same time, they’re under pressure to provide near 100% availability of key business services and systems. Every time a […]

April 2, 2013

SECURITY

I Can’t Keep Up with All These Cisco Security Advisories: Do I Have to Upgrade?

"A security advisory was just published! Should I hurry and upgrade all my Cisco devices now?" This is a question that I am being asked by customers on a regular basis. In fact, I am also asked why there are so many security vulnerability advisories. To start with the second question: Cisco is committed to protecting customers by sharing critical security-related information in a very transparent way. Even if security vulnerabilities are found internally, the Cisco Product Security Incident Response Team (PSIRT) – which is my team – investigates, drives to resolution, and discloses such vulnerabilities. To quickly answer the first question, don't panic, as you may not have to immediately upgrade your device. However, in this article I will discuss some of the guidelines and best practices for responding to Cisco security vulnerability reports.

March 29, 2013

SECURITY

March Madness May Equal to Malware Madness

Are 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 […]

January 22, 2013

SECURITY

Happy New Exploit Kits! (I mean Happy Belated New Year!)

This article discusses the increasing prevalence of exploit kits and drive-by exploits being leveraged by cyber criminals to spread malware quickly and effectively. It also highlights the use of Cisco Cloud Web Security, particularly in conjunction with Cisco ASAs, to reduce the risk of your networks and users falling victim to these exploit kits.

January 15, 2013

SECURITY

Red October in January: The Cyber Espionage Era

Researchers from Kaspersky Lab have released information about a large-scale cyber espionage campaign called Operation Red October (otherwise known as Rocra). The report has garnered the attention of multiple news agencies and generated many published articles since the Kaspersky report has claimed that attackers were targeting hundreds of diplomatic, governmental, and scientific organizations in numerous countries. These reports indicate that the command-and-control (C&C) infrastructure that is used on these attacks receives stolen information using more than 60 domain names to hide its identity. Furthermore, this information appears to be funneled into a second tier of proxy servers. These are very clever attacks that many are now claiming have been taking place for more than five years! Red October is being compared with other malware that has been associated with cyber espionage such as Duqu, Flame, and Gauss.

January 11, 2013

SECURITY

New Java Vulnerability Being Exploited in the Wild

The new Oracle Java arbitrary code execution vulnerability  has not only hit many news wires and social media outlets, but many victims as well, and it has been incorporated into several exploit kits. This critical vulnerability, as documented in IntelliShield alert 27845, could allow an unauthenticated, remote attacker to execute arbitrary code on a targeted system with the […]