Cisco 2017 Cybersecurity Report Highlights Major Attack Trends

Cisco has published its 2017 cybersecurity report which provides insights into the major cyberattack trends and the main threats now facing companies. This is the tenth consecutive year that Cisco has produced the report, which this year was based on a survey of 3,000 CSOs and information security professionals from 13 countries, along with threat data gathered by Cisco Systems.

The 110-page report goes into great detail about the threats most commonly faced by businesses around the world and the impact cyberattacks and data breaches are having on those companies.

20% of respondents to the survey said they had experienced a significant breach in the past year, and more than a third had experienced at least one security breach. 23% of companies said they had lost business as a result of a data breach or hacking incident and 29% said they had lost revenue as a result of a security breach, while 22% of businesses said customers had been lost as a result of a breach.

One key trend highlighted by the report was the growth in the volume of spam emails, which now account for 65% of email volume, although malicious messages make up 8% of total email volume. Adware continues to be a problem with 75% of companies reporting they had been infected.

Hackers are increasingly targeting vulnerabilities on servers rather than endpoints, with the latter declining by 8% in the past year. Server vulnerabilities increased by 34% over the same period. The increase in use of the cloud and the number of cloud applications used by businesses has contributed to the shift from attacks on endpoints to attacks on servers.

Most companies use multiple cloud applications, which can contain multiple vulnerabilities. There are plenty of opportunities for hackers to take advantage, especially when patch management practices are poor. On that front, Cisco notes that 56% of security alerts are not remediated by companies.

Part of the problem is a lack of staff – an issue for a quarter of respondents – while insufficient budgets hampered security efforts at 35% of companies. For 28% of companies it was compatibility issues that were hampering efforts to improve security. Often it takes a significant data breach to spur organizations to make improvements to their cybersecurity defenses. 38% of respondents said a data breach was the main reason for making improvements to security.

Out of the companies that took part in the survey, between 6 and 50 security solutions were being used. The complexity of security means there are often gaps that could easily be exploited.

Cisco notes that there has been a noticeable shortening of the time to detect a breach, at least with its own customers. The mean time to detect a breach was 14 hours in the middle of the year, but the figure had fallen to 6 hours by the end of the year. Fast breach detection can limit the harm caused and the faster a breach is remediated, the lower the cost of remediation will likely be.

Author: Richard Anderson

Richard Anderson is the Editor-in-Chief of