A single security hole identified by Cisco nearly two years ago is thought to be the cause of a massive jump in the number of network devices carrying at least one known vulnerability, according to Dimension Data's annual Network Barometer Report, released this week.
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Dimension Data said that over 73 per cent of corporate Cisco devices it analysed were at risk, compared to 38 per cent in 2009, with one higher risk vulnerability, identified by Cisco as PSIRT 109444, was found on 66 per cent of all devices.
The hole in question is a DoS vulnerability affecting Transmission Control Protocol (TCP) connections, which if manipulated consume network resources and prevent new connections being made. Cisco has long ago released software patches to address the vulnerability.
To indicate the scale of the problem, if PSIRT 109444 was removed from the equation, the next four biggest vulnerabilities would affect less than 20% of all devices, said DiData, indicating that generally speaking, organisations were upping their game in terms of remediating security issues on their networks.
DiData global security manager, Neil Campbell said that the report's findings were surprising given the pressure that enterprises are increasingly coming under with regard to network security.
"The truth of the matter is that many organisations still don't have consistent and complete visibility of their technology estates. In fact, previous research carried out by DiData found that clients are unaware of as much as 25 per cent of their networking devices," he said.
Campbell warned: "It only takes one vulnerability to expose the entire organisation to a security breach, so organisations must do much more if they want to adequately protect themselves. This includes increasing the number of regular network scans to ensure that any vulnerability is picked up before it causes damage."