Businesses must change their mindset on security to help ensure that their networks and vital corporate information are protected from evolving security threats, according to the Cisco 2010 Midyear Security Report released on July 22. Tectonic shifts – the increasing use of social networking, the proliferation of network-connected mobile devices, and virtualization – continue to alter the security landscape. As a result, enterprise professionals must act immediately to put effective security practices into place in order to protect their companies' reputation and maintain a competitive edge. The report outlines five recommendations for improving corporate security.

On July 22 at 9 a.m. Pacific time, Cisco vice president and chief security officer John N. Stewart and senior security Researcher Mary Landesman will discuss findings from the 2010 Midyear Security Report and will outline best practices in a live interactive Internet TV broadcast. The broadcast can be accessed at http://tools.cisco.com/cmn/jsp/index.jsp?id=102551. Key findings of the Cisco 2010 Midyear Security Report include:
  • Tectonic Pressures Mounting – Major forces are changing the enterprise security landscape. Social networking, virtualization, cloud computing, and a heavy reliance on mobile devices continue to have a dramatic impact on the ability of information technology departments to maintain effective network security.
  • Virtual Farms Being Tended – Cisco Security Intelligence Operations research found that 7 percent of global sample of users accessing Facebook spend an average of 68 minutes per day playing the popular interactive game "FarmVille." "Mafia Wars" was the second most popular game, with 5 percent of users each racking up 52 minutes of play daily, while "Café World," played by 4 percent of users, accounted for 36 minutes of wasted time per day.
  • Company Policies Ignored – Fifty percent of end users admitted that they ignore company policies prohibiting the use of social media tools at least once a week, and 27 percent said they change the settings on corporate devices to access prohibited applications.
  • Innovation Gap Being Bridged – Cybercriminals are using technological innovation to their advantage. They exploit the gap between how quickly they can innovate to profit from vulnerabilities and the speed at which enterprises deploy advanced technologies to protect their networks.
  • Spam Continuing Meteoric Rise – Despite recent disruptions to criminal spam operations, in 2010 the worldwide volume of spam is expected to grow by as much as 30 percent over 2009 levels, according to new research compiled by Cisco Security Intelligence Operations.
  • Multivector Spam Attacks Rising – Cybercriminals remain intent on targeting legitimate websites but are launching strategically timed, multivector spam attacks with a focus on establishing keyloggers, back doors and bots.
  • Terrorists Going Social – Social networks remain a playground for cybercriminals, with an increasing number of attacks. New threats are now emerging from a more dangerous criminal element: terrorists. Indeed, the US Government is concerned enough that they have awarded grants to examine how social networks and other technologies can be used to organize, coordinate, and incite potential attacks.
The report includes several other findings and concludes with recommendations to help enterprises strengthen their security.