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Cisco: Hey, IT depts. You're all malware hosts

Security report also notes skills shortage

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Everybody – at least every multinational that Cisco checked out for its 2014 Annual Security Report – is hosting malware of some kind, and there aren't enough security professionals to go around.

Along with its Managed Threat Defense service launched this week, Cisco also launched the latest publication (here with registration) of its security survey. The study claims that “100 percent of companies [in the report's sample – El Reg] are calling malicious malware hosts”.

Cisco also believes that the length of time that such activity persists means that network penetrations are going undetected.

The research comes from a decent whack of statistics, according to the company's description of its sampling, which each day covers 16 billion Web requests, 93 billion e-mails, 200,000 IP addresses, 400,000 malware samples, 33 million files from endpoints and 28 million network connections.

Java is the undisputed king of endpoint vulnerabilities, Cisco claims, with far more exploits than either Flash or PDF: 91 per cent of the live endpoint exploits detected by the Sourcefire FireAMP system attacked Java. Adobe Reader only managed 3 per cent of detections (equal to Excel), with Word exploits at 2 per cent and PowerPoint exploits at 1 per cent.

Mobile malware is an emerging but still small part of the threat market, with Cisco saying it made up just 1.2 per cent of the Web malware encounters it recorded. Android is far and away the most popular target at 99 per cent of the attacks. Spyware and adware are emerging as Android threats, the report says.

Cisco warns that companies can expect DDoS campaigns to last longer, with the company's CSO John Stewart quoted in the report as saying we should “expect future campaigns to be even more extensive and to last for extended periods”. As an added twist, DDoS campaigns are also being used as cover for other attacks such as fraud.

All of this, the report warns, is going to be exacerbated by an ever-more acute skills shortage in the security industry.

Cisco's report comes a week after Akamai noted that DDoS attacks are rising rapidly. Year-on-year, Akamai says there has been a 47 increase in attacks worldwide, with “infrastructure attacks” (at layer 3 and layer 4) rising by 68 per cent, and attacks' peak bandwidth more than doubling (up 133 per cent). ®

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