Cisco says businesses falling behind on security threats

Cisco warns that IT managers and security professionals are failing to keep up with the emerging threat landscape, according to its semiannual Security 2010.

The company says there are “tectonic movements in the field of information security, since the current boom of social networks, virtualization and mobile devices continue to drive change in the market and lead to security threats beyond the measures to prevent them.

Tarek Houbballah, manager of systems engineering, Cisco, commented: “Technological innovations are changing the way we live, work, play, share information and communicate. Because consumers tend to be early adopters, companies often have difficulty adapting to existing policies address the use of their employees preferred technology. With a number of converging tectonic forces in the market, now is the time for companies to transform their IT models to adapt to the new network without borders and increasing security problems. ”

Cisco’s report includes five key recommendations for IT managers to protect against security threats, including the implementation granular security policies per user for the application and data access, especially on virtualized systems, strict limits on access to enterprise data, creating corporate policies for managing the use of mobile devices, the investment in tools to manage and monitor the activities of cloud, and guidance to employees on the use of social media in the workplace.

Cisco warned however, that corporate policies on social media may not be effective, with 50% of respondents to the survey Cisco global ignoring company policy at least once a week, and 27 % reported that changing the configuration of devices to access corporate applications banned.

While not strictly a security threat, Cisco warned of the continuing loss of productivity caused by the application of social networks and games in particular. Cisco Security Intelligence Operations reported that a total sample of Facebook users, 7% of spending on average 68 minutes a day to play Farmville, Mafia Wars 5% play for 52 minutes per day and 4% Play World Café for 36 minutes a day. The report also raised the possibility of criminal malware embedded in such applications.

Other threats noted in the report were the continued growth of spam, with spam volumes for 2010 expected to be 30% from 2009, and the emergence of multi-vector attacks spam with a focus on the establishment of the keyloggers, backdoors and bots, and the emerging profile of cyber criminals as the early adopters of new technologies, both in terms of using technology as a means of attack, and as a method to attack by coordinating and sharing intelligence.

The report also noted the growing concern among security forces that terrorists may also be using social networks for communication and coordination.