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GISEC 2015: Cyber infection inevitable, says Cisco

Network giant claims all companies are eventually infiltrated by cyber miscreants

GISEC 2015: Cyber infection inevitable, says Cisco
Roggeband: Every single organisation has been hacked.

All organisations are eventually infiltrated by some form of cyber infection and the Internet of Things will only exacerbate the problem, according to a senior Cisco executive.

"I think some [organisations] still behave a little bit like ostriches, sticking their heads in the sand," Phillippe Roggeband, business development manager, Cisco, told ITP.net at this year's Gulf Information Security Expo and Conference (GISEC).

"But as [Cisco CEO] John Chambers said, ‘There are two kinds of companies in the world: the ones that have been hacked and the ones that don't know.'"

For Cisco, security is one of four "architectures" the company relies upon in its solutions, and even though, by Roggeband's admission, it may not be the biggest in terms of revenue, Cisco considers it central to everything it does.

"No matter what our customers are deploying, whether it's a network infrastructure, a datacentre or a collaboration solution, they are going to need security. So we tend to think of security as more of an adjective than a noun," Roggeband said.

The Internet of Everything is something very close to Cisco's heart. Company executives regularly speak of the growing number of devices and Cisco is a prominent voice among those organisations that release projected numbers of Internet-connected devices. Cisco believes that number will be 50bn by 2020.

"I think we've all got some level of infection," Roggeband said. "It may be dormant, but every single organisation has been hacked. And I think, with the Internet of Everything, the problem is going to grow, because what we're effectively doing is expanding the attack surface. All of these connected objects are potential targets. Many of them, especially on the consumer side, are running the Android OS, and Android at the moment has a growth rate of 800% in attacks."

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