Cisco 2014 Annual Security Report highlights

As of October 2013, cumulative annual alert totals increased 14 percent year-over-year from 2012, said Cisco 2014 Annual Security Report.

The report indicates a shortage of more than a million security professionals across the globe in 2014.

The sophistication of the technology and tactics used by online criminals — and their nonstop attempts to breach networks and steal data — have outpaced the ability of IT and security professionals to address these threats, said Cisco.

Most organizations do not have the people or the systems to continuously monitor extended networks and detect infiltrations, and then apply protections, in a timely and effective manner.


One-hundred percent of a sample of 30 of the world’s largest multinational company networks generated visitor traffic to Web sites that host malware.

Ninety-six percent of networks reviewed communicated traffic to hijacked servers.

Similarly, 92 percent transmitted traffic to Web pages without content, which typically host malicious activity.

Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks — which disrupt traffic to and from targeted websites and can paralyze ISPs — have increased in both volume and severity. Some DDoS attacks seek to conceal other nefarious activity, such as wire fraud before, during or after a noisy and distracting DDoS campaign.

Multipurpose Trojans counted as the most frequently encountered web-delivered malware, at 27 percent of total encounters in 2013.

Malicious scripts, such as exploits and iframes, formed the second most frequently encountered category at 23 percent. Data theft Trojans such as password stealers and backdoors made up 22 percent of total web malware encounters.

The steady decline in unique malware hosts and IP addresses — down 30 percent between January 2013 and September 2013 — suggests that malware is being concentrated in fewer hosts and fewer IP addresses.

Java continues to be the most frequently exploited programming language targeted by online criminals. Data from Sourcefire, now a part of Cisco, shows that Java exploits make up the vast majority (91 percent) of Indicators of Compromise (IOCs).

99 percent of all mobile malware targeted Android devices. At 43.8 percent, Andr/Qdplugin-A was the most frequently encountered mobile malware, typically via repackaged copies of legitimate apps distributed via non-official marketplaces.

Specific business sectors, such as the pharmaceutical and chemical industry and the electronics manufacturing industry, have historically had high malware encounter rates. In 2012 and 2013, there was remarkable growth in malware encounters for the agriculture and mining industry — formerly a relatively low-risk sector. Malware encounters also continued to rise in the energy, oil and gas sectors.

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