Cisco CEO warns hacks will hit hard this year – Attacks will get much worse, so get ready

DAVOS, SWITZERLAND Cisco Systems chief executive John Chambers expects hacking attacks to become a lot worse this year, and he’s positioning his digital networks company to take advantage of it.    “Security was bad last year,” Chambers told USA TODAY in an interview at the World Economic Forum in Davos, referring to high-profile hacks on companies such as Sony Entertainment and retailer Target. “Unfortunately, this year it’s going to be much worse.”    As long as companies view digital security as a defense rather than an opportunity to grow  with others in their industries, they will be vulnerable to malicious hacking, Chambers said.
Most companies still don’t know how vulnerable they are, and that will play out with more high-profile hacks in coming months, he added.    Chambers said he’ll use acquisitions, a staple of Cisco’s growth in the past, to maneuver Cisco to become the largest Internet security company. That said, he acknowledged that in some parts of the technology industry companies are currently valued too high in the market, making some acquisitions expensive.   
Chambers was pushing his message on a panel for executives earlier in the day, and said he plans as many as 150 meetings with CEOs and 30 meetings with global leaders while he is in town.    “They are all my customers,” he said.      Chambers also said he continues to push the networked “Internet of Things” concept, which envisions everything from cars to homes being run by the Internet someday soon. Cisco will launch an ad campaign this week to capture the concept, with the creative theme tied to “the last everything.”   
Chambers said the ads will focus on imagining a time when digital advances conquer daily life hassles like failing digital downloads, product recalls and even traffic jams.    “You’ll have to take your kid to a museum to see what a traffic jam was,” he laughed, adding that was one of the lines in the campaign.  

John Chambers, CEO of Cisco.

David Callaway    @dcallaway USA TODAY
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