Geopolitics shaping cyber landscape, Cisco says

Risk landscape for organisations and individuals expanding due to geopolitical events

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Geopolitics shaping cyber landscape, Cisco says Ghoul: Company executives need to understand, create awareness, and manage cyber risks
By  Tom Paye Published  August 19, 2014

Geopolitical events are creating new trends in the cyber realm, expanding the risk landscape for organisations and individuals, according to Cisco's 2014 Midyear Security Report.

Cisco said that, due to recent drought, floods and unrest affecting supplies and infrastructure across Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Russia (EMEAR), more verticals were coming under increasing risk.

For mobile malware, for example, Cisco said that the top five most at-risk verticals were agriculture and mining, transport and shipping, food and beverage, government, and media and publishing. For web malware encounters, the food and beverage vertical was the most at risk in the first half of 2014, Cisco said.

"While Middle East companies are innovating their future using the Internet, they face unprecedented risks caused by situations out of their control - from geopolitical events to natural disasters. As a result, company executives need to understand, create awareness, and manage cyber risks and weaknesses in the security chain," said Tarek Ghoul, general manager for the Gulf, Levant and Pakistan at Cisco.

"Starting from the most senior level, Middle East businesses must make cyber security a business process, and deploy cyber security solutions that cover the entire attack continuum - before, during, and after a cyber attack."

According to Cisco's half-year report, nearly 94% of customer networks in 2014 have been identified as having traffic going to websites that host malware. And nearly 70% of networks were identified as issuing DNS queries for Dynamic DNS domains, which showed evidence of networks misused or compromised with botnets using DDNS to avoid detection, Cisco said.

Furthermore, Cisco said that nearly 44% of customer networks observed in 2014 have been identified as issuing DNS requests for sites and domains with devices that provide encrypted channel services.

That said, there was positive news in the fact that the number of exploit kits has dropped by 87% since the alleged creator of the Blackhole exploit kit was arrested last year, Cisco said.

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