Report: Cybersecurity pros losing confidence

Security professionals were less confident in their security infrastructure in 2015 than in 2014, according to a report released today by Cisco

Security professionals were less confident in their security infrastructure in 2015 than in 2014, according to a report released today by Cisco.

In 2014, 64 percent of security pros said that their infrastructure was up to date, while only 59 percent felt the same way about 2015. In addition, in 2015, 54 percent said they strongly believe that they do a good job of building security into procedures for acquiring, developing, and maintaining systems, compared with 58 percent in 2014.

"Despite all the hard efforts, there is concern that both the speed at which the technology and capabilities being deployed, and the number of people, qualified individuals to be hired, and the overall approach in the face of an overwhelming number of attacks," said John N. Stewart, chief security and trust officer and senior vice president at Cisco Systems. "This is causing confidence to go down."

Aging infrastructure was another issue raised in the report.

An analysis of more than 115,000 Cisco devices showed that 92 percent were running software with known vulnerabilities, 31 percent were no longer on the market, and 8 percent were "end of life."

The financial services industry has the highest percentage of devices that had passed their last day of support, at 20 percent.

Jason Brvenik, a principal engineer at Cisco, said that the likely explanation for this is that the financial sector has long been an early adopter of technology.

"They have more devices deployed in more places, and would have aging infrastructure," he said.

[ ALSO ON CSO: 10 risky software that have passed their expiration dates ]

On an unrelated note, the Cisco report also uncovered browser extensions as a dangerous attack vector often overlooked by security teams.

According to Cisco, adware and browser injections were among the most difficult threats to detect, taking up to 200 hours. By comparison, downloaders that target Microsoft Word users are typically detected in less than 20 hours.

Security teams often spend less time on adware and browser injections, classifying them as lower priority.

"It's seemingly benign, it seems to offer value to the user, they like to use it," said Brvenik.

But they create invasive paths that attackers can use to install more dangerous applications, he said -- and more than 85 percent of organization were affected by malicious browser extensions.

The main problem, he said, is that many users are running out-of-date browsers that allow these malicious extensions to slip through.

"We know organizations have legacy applications that require them to legacy versions of browsers," he said. "But I advocate that, if you could, you should restrict them from accessing the Internet. They need to deploy a firewall to decide whether a version of a browser is allowed to access the Internet or not. They will significantly reduce their exposure if they enforce that policy."

Join the CSO newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

More about CiscoCSOMicrosoft

Show Comments

Featured Whitepapers

Editor's Recommendations

Solution Centres

Stories by Maria Korolov

Latest Videos

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: The Human Factor - Your people are your biggest security weakness

    ​Speakers: David Lacey, Researcher and former CISO Royal Mail David Turner - Global Risk Management Expert Mark Guntrip - Group Manager, Email Protection, Proofpoint

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: Current ransomware defences are failing – but machine learning can drive a more proactive solution

    Speakers • Ty Miller, Director, Threat Intelligence • Mark Gregory, Leader, Network Engineering Research Group, RMIT • Jeff Lanza, Retired FBI Agent (USA) • Andy Solterbeck, VP Asia Pacific, Cylance • David Braue, CSO MC/Moderator What to expect: ​Hear from industry experts on the local and global ransomware threat landscape. Explore a new approach to dealing with ransomware using machine-learning techniques and by thinking about the problem in a fundamentally different way. Apply techniques for gathering insight into ransomware behaviour and find out what elements must go into a truly effective ransomware defence. Get a first-hand look at how ransomware actually works in practice, and how machine-learning techniques can pick up on its activities long before your employees do.

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: Get real about metadata to avoid a false sense of security

    Speakers: • Anthony Caruana – CSO MC and moderator • Ian Farquhar, Worldwide Virtual Security Team Lead, Gigamon • John Lindsay, Former CTO, iiNet • Skeeve Stevens, Futurist, Future Sumo • David Vaile - Vice chair of APF, Co-Convenor of the Cyberspace Law And Policy Community, UNSW Law Faculty This webinar covers: - A 101 on metadata - what it is and how to use it - Insight into a typical attack, what happens and what we would find when looking into the metadata - How to collect metadata, use this to detect attacks and get greater insight into how you can use this to protect your organisation - Learn how much raw data and metadata to retain and how long for - Get a reality check on how you're using your metadata and if this is enough to secure your organisation

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: How banking trojans work and how you can stop them

    CSO Webinar: How banking trojans work and how you can stop them Featuring: • John Baird, Director of Global Technology Production, Deutsche Bank • Samantha Macleod, GM Cyber Security, ME Bank • Sherrod DeGrippo, Director of Emerging Threats, Proofpoint (USA)

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    IDG Live Webinar:The right collaboration strategy will help your business take flight

    Speakers - Mike Harris, Engineering Services Manager, Jetstar - Christopher Johnson, IT Director APAC, 20th Century Fox - Brent Maxwell, Director of Information Systems, THE ICONIC - IDG MC/Moderator Anthony Caruana

    Play Video

More videos

Blog Posts