The gap between perception and reality grows in …

January 21, 2015

infographic Cisco Security ReportAccording to the Cisco Security Capabilities Benchmark Study, 60% of surveyed users are not taking effective security measures and only 10% of users are running the latest version of Internet Explorer; despite this, 90% feel confident in their security capabilities.

The Cisco 2015 Annual Security Report, which analyzes both threat information and trends in cybersecurity, reveals that organizations must take immediate action to defend against attacks. According to the report, attackers have become increasingly efficient at exploiting security breaches to avoid detection and conceal malicious activity. Defense – that is, security teams – must be constantly improving their approach to protecting their organization from increasingly sophisticated attacks. These problems are further complicated by the geopolitical motivations of the attackers and the contradictory demands imposed by local laws regarding data sovereignty, localization and encryption, the study highlights.

The attackers

Cybercriminals are expanding their tactics and adapting their techniques to carry out attack campaigns that are extremely difficult to detect and analyze. The top three trends from the past year that Cisco Threat Intelligence has identified are as follows:

  • The Snowshoe Spam: It emerges as the attackers’ preferred method of attack. This consists of sending low volumes of spam from a myriad of IP addresses to avoid detection.
  • Concealment of “Exploits” or silent web infections in flat view: The widespread use of silent infections is being dismantled by security companies in the short term. As a result, criminals are using other less common methods to carry out their tactics. This becomes a sustainable business model, as it does not attract too much attention.
  • Malicious combinations: Flash and JavaScript have historically been insecure and with advancements in security detection and defense, attackers have implemented silent infections that combine their respective weaknesses. Criminals can make it harder for security devices to identify and block silent infections and they make it difficult to analyze them with reverse engineering tools, sharing them in more than two different files, one in Flash and the other in JavaScript.

The users

Users are caught in the middle of the situation. Not only are they the target of cyber attacks, they are unknowingly helping to carry them out. During 2014, investigations by Cisco Threat Intelligence revealed that attackers have increasingly neglected their approach of compromising servers and operating systems that infect users via browser and email. In 2014, user downloads from compromised sites contributed to a 228% increase in Silverlight attacks, along with a 250% increase in silent infections via spam and malvertising.

The defense

Results from the Cisco Security Capabilities Benchmark Study that surveyed Chief Information Security Officers (CISOs) and Security Operations Executives (SecOps) from 1,700 companies in nine countries * reveal a growing gap between perception and true possible capacity of your security defenders. Specifically, the study indicates that 75% of CISOs view their security tools as very or extremely effective. However, less than 50% of respondents use standard tools such as patchingas well as the proper settings to help prevent security breaches and make sure you are running the latest versions. Heartbleed was the vulnerability milestone last year, yet 56% of all OpenSSL versions are installed more than 4-5 years ago. That is a strong indicator that security teams are not working as they should be.

While many advocates believe that your security processes are streamlined and your security tools truly effective, your security infrastructure probably needs improvement.

The report’s findings indicate that it is time for boards of directors to take a leading role in setting priorities and safety measures. The Cisco “Security Manifesto” – a set of basic security principles for achieving security – can help boards of directors, organization security teams, and users better understand and respond to the challenges of security. computer security in today’s world. The following points can serve as a benchmark for organizations striving to be more dynamic in their approach to security and more adaptable and innovative in the face of adversaries:

1. Security should be considered as an engine of growth for the business

2. Security must work with the existing architecture and be usable

3. Security must be transparent and informative

4. Security must allow visibility and appropriate actions

5. Safety should be seen as a “people’s problem”

About the Report

The Cisco 2015 Annual Security Report is one of the most pre-eminent security reports that examines the latest in threat intelligence compiled by Cisco security experts and provides industry insights as well as key trends and insights that reveal the IT security preferences for 2015. The report also highlights the results of the Cisco Security Capabilities Benchmark Study that analyzes the security situation of companies and their perceptions of readiness to defend against cyberattacks. Likewise, the report analyzes geopolitical trends, and global development around data localization and the importance of making information security a topic for company boards of directors.

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