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Cisco and IBM tackle cybercrime together

The two computing giants are integrating software, services and engaging in joint research to combat cyber-attacks; the news comes on the heels of the WannaCry ransomware attack, which caused devastation on a global scale


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NEW YORK—Cisco and IBM Security are partnering to combat cybercrime.

The two computing giants will collaborate on products, services and threat intelligence.

Cisco Security Solutions—the company’s network and information protection service—will integrate with IBM’s QRadar—a program that tracks and manages corporate information—to protect networks, endpoints and cloud servers.

Cisco is set to build new applications for the QRadar platform, which will work with Cisco’s firewall, intrusion protection, malware protection and threat grid systems.

A new relationship between the IBM X-Force and Cisco Talos security research teams is in the works as well, as the two teams will begin coordinating on threat intelligence research and cybersecurity incidents.

Cisco and IBM recently shared threat intelligence on and are continuing to work together on issues related to the recent WannaCry ransomware attack. IBM says the teams coordinated their response to the malware and researchers exchanged insights into how it was spreading.

Reducing Complexity

IBM says one of the core issues facing security teams is the proliferation of security tools that do not communicate or integrate. A recent Cisco survey found that two thirds of organizations polled used between six and 50 different security products.

IBM asserts that its collaboration with Cisco aims to reduce this complexity by offering integrated tools that help organizations automate responses to threats with greater speed and accuracy. The company’s Resilient Incident Response Platform (IRP) is planned to integrate with Cisco’s Threat Grid to provide the information needed to quickly respond to threats and incidents.

IBM says IRP analysts can look up indicators of compromise using the Cisco Threat Grid and detonate suspected malware.

“Cisco and IBM working together greatly increases our team’s ability to focus on stopping threats versus making disconnected systems work with each other. This more open and collaborative approach is an important step for the industry and our ability to defend ourselves against cybercrime,” said Bill Heinrich, chief information security director, BNSF Railway—North America’s second largest freight railroad network.

Strength in Numbers

The cooperation between IBM and Cisco comes as cyber-attacks around the world grow in frequency and destructive power.

The recent WannaCry ransomware attack hit victims in 150 countries, targeted massive companies like FedEx, pulverized the U.K.’s national health care network, crippled infrastructure and transportation worldwide, and reportedly infected over 300,000 computers.

One firm estimated the damage caused by the ransomware to be US$4 billion, and if cybersecurity experts are to be believed, future attacks are on the way.

“Cybercrime is expected to cost the world $6 trillion annually by 2021. This is why IBM has been a proponent of open collaboration and threat sharing in cybersecurity to change the economics for criminals,” said Marc van Zadelhoff, general manager, IBM Security.


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