Cisco chief executive John Chambers has warned that computer defenders are mere steps ahead of cyber crooks and that security must be built into all aspects of networks.
"We are just staying ahead of the bad guys; one step at a time," Chambers said during a rapid-fire presentation at a major computer security conference in San Francisco.
"There aren't many companies or governments that haven't been hacked in the past year."
Lines between home and work lives are blurring, meaning people will increasingly use smart phones, laptop computers and other portable devices outside the control and protection of business settings, Chambers said.
A growing trend towards "cloud computing," in which programs are hosted online as services instead of being installed on business networks, means that more sensitive data will be bounced about the Internet.
As businesses resort to holding virtual meetings online to save time and money they run risks of competitors or enemies snooping, according to Chambers.
"I think you can have innovation and security co-exist, but you have to do it architecturally," he said.
"How do you stay ahead of crime figures, crime syndicates and pernicious states? The answer is you don't without a secure infrastructure."
Cisco specializes in switches and routers for computer networks.
"Technology to protect from attacks has to be automated," Chambers said. "If it requires human intervention, it is too late. It's the architectural play that is the future."
(c) 2009 AFP
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