IT Security - Dec 10, 2019

Time: Your most valuable asset against cyber-crime.

"There are two types of companies: those who have been hacked, and those who don’t yet know they have been hacked." - John Chambers, formerly Chief Executive Officer of Cisco

IT is in a constant state of change, tackling new challenges—and facing new threats—on a daily basis. As the quote by John Chambers suggests, there is no such thing as 100% effective protection against hackers or script kiddies. Pitting good against evil, cyber security experts and hackers will always be in a race to outwit each other. And that race is more of a sprint than a marathon.


For companies, two factors are essential, namely how quickly an attack is detected and how it is handled. It’s important to remember that a speedy response is of the essence when containing the spread of malware and keeping the resulting damage in check.


IoT devices as points of attack.


The introduction of IoT devices has forced network administrators to rethink and re-segment their networks, keeping visibility in mind. This Cisco video shows an example of how attacks against IoT devices such as temperature sensors or measuring devices are now a commonplace occurrence.


Another element is employee awareness. The emergence of new methods such as social engineering hacking has made it necessary for employees to be trained on how to protect themselves and their employers.


TALOS: stronger than Thanos.

Cisco has recognised this trend and is taking the offensive both through its cyber security unit TALOS, which openly shares information on blogs and other channels, and by creating greater visibility within companies. No matter the market or type of security need, Cisco offers a solution: Cisco Next Generation Firewalls, Cisco Stealthwatch, Cisco Identity Service Engine or Cisco TrustSec.


One of its more recent acquisitions, Sentryo, enables networks to provide even more information to further enhance security. In addition to network visibility using Stealthwatch, Sentryo will also increase visibility for IoT devices.

To provide partners and customers with the latest information about product updates and new strategies, Cisco held its annual Cisco Security University on 26 and 27 November 2019 at the Hilton Frankfurt Airport hotel, located in The Squaire.


This event gives security specialists from Cisco and its partners and customers the opportunity to discuss current trends and share solutions to counter exactly these new threats. The first day began with an introduction by Torsten Harengel, who heads up Cisco Security in Germany. The TALOS group then provided information about current threats, focusing on ransomware and social engineering. TALOS also explained how hackers try to circumvent certain security mechanisms, finding increasingly clever ways to undermine and work around preventative measures such as sandboxing.


Breaking out. Diving deep.

Following these introductory sessions, everyone sat down for a lunch catered by the Hilton, with ample opportunity to network and ask follow-up questions to Cisco representatives. After lunch, several concurrent breakout sessions were held to delve deeper into various topics, always with a view to presenting product updates and upcoming features. Cisco strove to cover as many areas as it could, touching on updates to cloud products such as Cisco DUO and Cisco Umbrella, and going over network products such as Cisco Firepower. The day ended with refreshments in the hotel foyer—and additional time to network and talk about what we learned that day.


The second day also began with a short welcome followed by breakout sessions, with networking breaks in between. The third and last day was devoted to hands-on workshops on various topics, held at the Cisco office in Eschborn, near Frankfurt. These workshops looked at a broad range of network scenarios, demonstrating to customers how they could be configured and implemented.


Overall, I was very pleased with my 2019 Cisco Security University experience. It's important to increase awareness about threats, and for manufacturers, partners and customers to share information so they can rise to the challenge of newly emerging threats, responding quickly and efficiently. That's exactly what this event did. In my opinion, it's a valuable opportunity for ensuring that everyone is on the same page when it comes to cyber security.

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Published on Dec 10, 2019.