The Cisco 2015 Annual Security Report has revealed that organizations must adopt an ‘all hands on deck’ approach to defend against cyber attacks. Attackers have become more proficient at taking advantage of gaps in security to evade detection and conceal malicious activity.
Sabrina Dar, GM, Cisco East Africa said: “Attackers have become more proficient at taking advantage of security gaps. At any given time, we should expect for one percent of high-urgency vulnerabilities to be actively exploited while 56 percent of all OpenSSL versions are still vulnerable to Heartbleed. Despite this, we see less than half of the security teams surveyed using standard tools like patching and configuration management to help prevent security breaches.”
The report findings conclude that its time for corporate boards to take a role in setting security priorities and expectations. Cisco’s “Security Manifesto”, a formal set of security principals as a foundation to achieving security, can help corporate boards, security teams and the users in the organization, to better understand and respond to the cybersecurity challenges of today’s world. The principals say that security MUST:
- Support the business.
- Work with existing architecture – and be usable.
- Transparent and informative.
- Enable visibility and appropriate action.
- Be viewed as a “people problem.”
Online criminals are expanding their tactics and morphing their messages to carry out cyber-attack campaigns and make it harder to detect them. The top three trends that Cisco’s threat intelligence uncovered are:
- Snowshoe spam: Emerging as a preferred strike method, attackers are sending low volumes of spam from a large set of IP addresses to avoid detection.
- Web Exploits Hiding in Plain Site: Widely used exploit kits are getting dismantled by security companies in short order. As a result online criminals are using other less common kits to successfully carry out their tactics – a sustainable business model as it does not attract too much attention.
Results from Cisco’s Security Benchmark Study, which surveyed Chief Information Security Officers (CISO’s) and Security Operations executives at 1700 companies globally reveals a widening gap in defender intent and actions. Specifically, the study indicates that 75 percent of CISOs see their security tools as very or extremely effective. However, less than 50 percent of respondents use standard tools such as patching and configuration to help prevent security breaches and ensure that they are running the latest versions. Heartbleed was landmark vulnerability last year, yet 56 percent of all OpenSSL versions are over 4.5 years old. That is a strong indicator that security teams are not patching.