National Cyber Security Awareness Month: Closing Thoughts (All Treats, No Tricks)

October 31, 2012 - 0 Comments

BGP = big, ghoulish pumpkinHere we are, 31 October, and ready to bang on doors and ask for candy with the playful question of ‘Trick or Treat?’  How fitting to sum up a month of thought-provoking posts regarding National Cyber Security Awareness Month (NSCAM) whereby our ‘interconnectedness’ requires each of us to be more vigilant than ever. Every time we knock on one of the Internet’s doors, what we receive in return may not be what we’re expecting. Goblins and other nefarious creatures continue to lurk in dark spaces as well as the bright light of day.

In their posts, my colleagues have discussed multiple interesting and temporal topics, as well as reviewed some best practices which continue to guide Cisco in how we approach security, be it as trusted advisors for our customers or protecting our own assets. Trust and the veracity of information is, as always, a recurring theme: do you inherently believe what you read in social media?  We rely on foundational services such as DNS to help us connect to the resources that enrich our lives and grow our knowledge. But what if there is bad intent hiding behind those trusted responses?  And bringing it closer to home: do you trust your vendors?  At Cisco, we don’t see security as an afterthought—it should be built in to every product from the ground up.

An entire month focused on cyber security may seem like hyperbole on first light. When you consider the impact of social media globally—our ever-increasing interdependence regardless of national borders and the rapid movement of so much data to ‘the cloud’ (yes, some of us still wince at such a fluffy characterization)—that we should spend a sole month talking about the importance of security seems almost miserly. Large vendors like Cisco need to make security part of their corporate DNA; even when on the defensive, we have to ensure that we maintain trust while sharing as many details of an event which impacts our customers, no matter how painful the situation.

I hope that sharing our thoughts during NSCAM has encouraged you to think about your own security and what you can do to continually improve your posture against malicious events. With security, as with Halloween, things may not be what they seem—whether it’s the veracity of a tweet or the 40 inch-tall ghoul on your doorstep. Or more simply: do you trust the person who knocks on your door wearing a seemingly familiar costume?  And this is no trick: for the best security treats, don’t forget to visit the Cisco Security Intelligence Operations (SIO) Portal—Cisco’s haunted house primary outlet for security intelligence and the public home to our threat and vulnerability content. Trick or treat!

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