Will do everything in capacity to protect user privacy: Cisco CEO


With the increased adoption of collaboration tools that enable remote working raising new security threats amid the COVID-19 crisis, Cisco CEO Chuck Robbins has said that the company will do everything it can to keep people and organizations secure and protect their privacy.

“At Cisco, we believe data privacy is a fundamental human right. In times like these, bad actors could see this as a greater opportunity to identify those who are most vulnerable,” Robbins wrote in a blog post late Wednesday.

“In these uncertain times, we cannot afford to have unsuspecting victims have their personal data stolen or shared – especially when it comes to health and financial data, or that of our children,” he added.

Security researchers have already warned about bad actors exploiting fears about COVID-19 to steal sensitive information of people through phishing attacks and installing malicious malware.

The US Federal Bureau of Investigation earlier warned that reports of video-teleconferencing (VTC) platform hijacking (also called “Zoom-bombing”) are emerging nationwide.

“As the largest enterprise security company in the world, we are uniquely positioned to protect our customers as their workforces go remote,” the Cisco CEO said.

“We are working around the clock to keep you productive and secure and here to help with requirements for remote working, contact center, and security by providing free offers,” he wrote.

Cisco said it saw a dramatic rise in demand for its web conferencing and video-conferencing service Webex in recent times.

“Last week, we saw close to 240,000 online sign-ups in a 24-hour period. In one day alone, Webex handled 4.2 million meetings — more than twice the average on a peak day before the pandemic. We have also hosted 14 billion meeting minutes in March, more than double the number in February,” Robbins said.

“To support and secure this massive growth, we are taking an aggressive proactive posture to get well ahead of the highest demands on record. We are continuously taking preventive actions like load balancing, phased scaling, continual capacity management, segmenting user types such as mission-critical groups (healthcare, government, and critical infrastructure), and running a global backbone that is massively connected with redundancies, failovers, and capability sets.

“Also, and just as important, we are maximizing our long-standing carrier relationships to the fullest extent possible,” he said.

The Cisco CEO said that “what is transpiring today will not only change the way people communicate, it will also impact and enable business continuity in the future.”