Cisco 2018 Cybersecurity Report Highlights Threat in Ransomware Attacks


By Emma Okonji

The 2018 Cybersecurity Report released recently by Cisco, global leader in Information Technology (IT) and networking, has highlighted the evolution of ransomware and more sophisticated tradecraft by attackers.

According to the report, Cisco’s security capabilities benchmark study on cybersecurity, revealed that 94 per cent of Middle East and Africa companies surveyed, suffered a breach in the past year

Analysing the impact of ransomware attacks that hit various counties in 2017, at a media presentation of the Cisco 2018 Annual Cybersecurity Report in Lagos recently, the company raised awareness on the increasing and rampant sophisticated ransomware attacks, and urged businesses in Nigeria and in other African countries to set the bar higher on cybersecurity. The IT security company also called on businesses to adopt security measures and to take a comprehensive approach across people, process, technology and policy to protect their businesses from hackers and cyber criminals.

The Cisco Cybersecurity Report identified the evolution of ransomware as one of the most significant threat developments over the past year. The report also highlighted that malware had become more vicious and harder to combat and that attackers are developing more skill in creating malware that can evade traditional sandboxing. It also revealed that adversaries are increasingly embracing encryption that is meant to enhance security, to conceal command-and-control activity and that nearly half of the security risk that organisations face stems from having multiple security vendors and products.

Speaking at the cybersecurity report presentation, the Country General Manager of Cisco Nigeria, Mr. Olakunle Oloruntimehin, explained the need for businesses and enterprises to adopt advanced methods of cybersecurity. He said: “Security is getting more complex and the scope of breaches is expanding. Several companies are hit by cyber breaches and attacks every year causing losses in millions of naira and stealing highly classified information. It is therefore imperative that any organisation that desires to stay safe and minimise risk or loss, address cybersecurity at the top, with executive leadership setting the tone and engender a ‘security-first-always-and-everywhere’ culture that flows throughout the organisation.”

The Cisco 2018 Security Capabilities Benchmark Study reveals that 94 per cent of companies in the Middle East and Africa suffered a breach in the past year and that 34 per cent of breaches resulted in more than half of systems being impacted. The study also indicated that nearly a quarter of organisations in the region manage more than 21 vendors and cite lack of security personnel as one of the biggest obstacles to security.

Corroborating the importance of robust cybersecurity practices, Systems Engineer and Security Expert at Cisco, Mr. Tomi Amao said: “Cisco researchers observed a two-fold increase in malicious web traffic volume in roughly over 12-months. This alone demonstrates that cyber adversaries continue to learn and evolve. The time to raise the bar in cybersecurity is now. That is why at Cisco we take pride in being able to educate and provide businesses with the solutions and best practices required for effective cybersecurity. Our threat researchers have a reputation for timely, accurate and innovative work, and our network of talented teams, are devoted to driving impactful outcomes for our customers.”

Now in its eleventh year, the Cisco 2018 Annual Cybersecurity Report offers security industry data, analysis and insights about attacker behavior over the past year. The report highlights findings and insights, derived from threat intelligence and cybersecurity trends, observed over the past 12-18 months, and provides recommendations designed to help organisations and users defend against attacks.

Cisco has an integrated and comprehensive portfolio of security technologies to provide advanced threat protection. Cisco technologies include next generation firewalls, intrusion prevention systems (IPS), secure access systems, security analytics, and malware defense; which work together to deliver effective network security and incident response.