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Cisco Complains To Obama About NSA Adding Spyware To Routers

samzenpus posted about 2 months ago | from the get-out-of-there dept.

Businesses 297

pdclarry (175918) writes "Glenn Greenwald's book No Place to Hide reveals that the NSA intercepts shipments of networking gear destined for overseas and adds spyware. Cisco has responded by asking the President to intervene and stop this practice, as it has severely hurt their non-U.S. business, with shipments to other countries falling from 7% for emerging countries to over 25% for Brazil and Russia."

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297 comments

The GOP are going to have a meltdown (0, Flamebait)

Shadow of Eternity (795165) | about 2 months ago | (#47037135)

They've got to choose between the "free market" and corporate profits and their aspirations to be big brother.

No. And there is a precedent. (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47037185)

Back in the election of '08, the Reps had an ex-Massachusetts moderate Mormon candidate.

Now, the Bible Thumping Conservative (Mormon hating) kooks that make the base of the Republican party should have melted down. A Liberal BLACK democrat or a Mormon?!? Oh God No!

But, the spin machine with Rush, Hannity, Fox News, and all the lesser minions painted Romney as this upstanding Conservative Christian candidate. Even my die-hard Southern Baptist Mormon and Catholic hating neighbor voted for Romney.

The Republican spin machine will easily manipulate their "base" to not only accept it, but DEMAND that the big corp's profits are protected at the base's expense.

Let's face it, the electorate is informed by mass media and mass media is incompetent and in bed with their corporate masters.

Re:No. And there is a precedent. (3, Interesting)

MaskedSlacker (911878) | about 2 months ago | (#47037345)

The Republican spin machine will easily manipulate their "base" to not only accept it, but DEMAND that the big corp's profits are protected at the base's expense.

Let's face it, the electorate is informed by mass media and mass media is incompetent and in bed with their corporate masters.

You can't have it both ways. Either they're willful manipulators or incompetent buffoons, but not both. At the most they might be willful manipulators pretending to be incompetent buffoons, but that is not the same thing.

Re:No. And there is a precedent. (0, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47037409)

By Republicans nominating Romney they showed a true first culturally - Romnet would have been the first Non - Trinitarian Christian president in American History. This shows more 'liberalism' than what the 'liberals' demonstrated.

Re:No. And there is a precedent. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47037669)

mormon === scientology
you must mean stupidity not liberalism

Re:No. And there is a precedent. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47037825)

In Europe a liberal is someone who wants the government out of their bedroom and out of their pocketbook. American political thought is deeply and perhaps intentionally confused.

Re:No. And there is a precedent. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47037459)

Or incompetent buffoons carrying out the orders of willful manipulators... or incompetent buffoons trying to be willful manipulators, and succeeding by chance... or willful manipulators with no regard for failure, so long as it moves the agenda... or willful manipulators with an overarching strategy that only makes them appear foolish to those not privy to the details... etc.

So, yeah, you can really have it both ways, from a multitude of different angles.

Re:The GOP are going to have a meltdown (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47037227)

Yeah, but thanks to you and your ilk, we have a nigger niggering things up in the White House.

Leave it to a nigger to nigger things up. You know what I mean, even if you pretend not to. If you want to fuck something up, leave it to a nigger. The man is fucking the country up. He's incompetent. It sucks that the first black guy as president had to be the stereotypical black guy, and stereotypically incompetent, but that's how it happened.

If that guy had been one of the founding fathers, our country would be even more of a shithole, like all other countries run by niggers.

In other words, I hold YOU responsible for Obama. Thanks for helping nigger up the country.

Re:The GOP are going to have a meltdown (-1, Flamebait)

kilfarsnar (561956) | about 2 months ago | (#47037623)

In other words, I hold YOU responsible for Obama. Thanks for helping nigger up the country.

Now hold on a minute. You just said yourself that it takes a nigger to nigger things up, but you don't even know if I'm black! I'll bet you feel stupid now, eh?

Re:The GOP are going to have a meltdown (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47037635)

Nigger is as nigger does.

Re:The GOP are going to have a meltdown (1, Informative)

hsmith (818216) | about 2 months ago | (#47037651)

I am unsure if you realize this, but for the last 6 years Obama has been President, with the democrats owning the Senate since well before that.

The biggest people complaining about this seem to be Rand Paul and sadly only a few others. Meanwhile the stupid and annoying cunts Barbara Boxer and Nancy Pelosi circle jerk around how we need this surveillance state.

Re:The GOP are going to have a meltdown (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47037667)

They've got to choose between the "free market" and corporate profits and their aspirations to be big brother.

You do you know that these big brother programs have grown by leaps and bounds under the current non-GOP administration right????

Hey Obama (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47037147)

We dunno pay taxes [bloomberg.com] but plz help us make more money.

Re:Hey Obama (-1)

ShanghaiBill (739463) | about 2 months ago | (#47037215)

We dunno pay taxes [bloomberg.com] but plz help us make more money.

They pay all the taxes that they are legally required to pay. Unless you voluntarily send in extra money with your tax payment every April 15th, it is hypocritical of you to complain about others not doing so.

Re:Hey Obama (3, Insightful)

CreatureComfort (741652) | about 2 months ago | (#47037297)

Troll.

You understand the complaint is that they BOUGHT the congress, so they could have the tax code changed so they could legally shift their share of tax responsibility to others? So, while yes you are technically correct, you, and they, are so morally bankrupt I can't understand how you can live with yourself.

Re:Hey Obama (1)

CrimsonAvenger (580665) | about 2 months ago | (#47037341)

Considering that the article you're referring to doesn't even IMPLY that they "bought" Congress, merely that they would like Congress to do them a favour....

Note that if they'd "bought" Congress, they'd not be having to publicly ASK for a tax holiday - they could just quietly get the tax holiday inserted into some completely unrelated bill so noone would notice.

Note also that the laws you seem to think they "bought" actually predate the existence of Cisco (actually, they predate the computer industry), so the notion that Cisco "bought Congress off" decades before Cisco was even formed is...interesting. Stupid, but interesting.

Duh. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47037567)

Cisco partnered with IBM and CERN.

They have a time machine, reliant on an IBM 5100.

Trust me, I am from the future. One last warning: In the future, Republicans are confused, frightened, always correct and afraid of brown people. Democrats are confused, frightened, always correct and afraid of white people.

Re:Hey Obama (1)

Ramirozz (758009) | about 2 months ago | (#47037805)

As if buying the congress will be implied or even mentioned. You are also assuming that self harming their businesses is a dumb thing to do as if doing businesses today (mixed with politics) is a sustainable game. It is not. It never was.

Re:Hey Obama (1)

MaskedSlacker (911878) | about 2 months ago | (#47037359)

you, and they, are so morally bankrupt I can't understand how you can live with yourself.

I suspect that their moral bankruptcy has a lot to do with enabling them to live with their moral bankruptcy. It's a self-justifying sort of thing.

Re:Hey Obama (2, Informative)

ShanghaiBill (739463) | about 2 months ago | (#47037431)

they BOUGHT the congress, so they could have the tax code changed so they could legally shift their share of tax responsibility to others?

Except that is not what happened. America is the only country in the world that taxes extraterritorial income, payable upon repatriation of the profits. Corporations have been lobbying for years to have this changed, rightfully pointing out that it pushes both profits and jobs overseas while collecting very little tax revenue. If we made some sensible reforms, the corporate tax rates would be lower, but amount actually collected would be higher. Cisco, along with many other corporations, support these reforms. But, in the meantime, it is silly to criticize them for following the current rules. The current idiotic tax regime is due to dysfunctional politics, not "corporate lobbying".

Re:Hey Obama (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47037517)

It is not silly to complain about an entity using the letter of the law to defeat the spirit of the law. Complaining about such is as much a time-honored tradition of the proletariat as executing such is of the bourgeoisie.

Re:Hey Obama (1)

kick6 (1081615) | about 2 months ago | (#47037715)

You understand the complaint is that they BOUGHT the congress, so they could have the tax code changed so they could legally shift their share of tax responsibility to others? So, while yes you are technically correct, you, and they, are so morally bankrupt I can't understand how you can live with yourself.

Oh snap, moral bankruptcy. Go for the throat! Except for the fact that neither taxation nor bankruptcy have anything to do with morality. Nor is morality universal should you decide that paying taxes are part of your morality. Thusly, your call to moral superiority, basically just makes you look like a crazed liberal going super-saiyan in order to hide the fact that their arguments have zero basis in logic or reality. You're much more comfortable derailing a debate, and forcing conservatives to defend their morality instead of the issue at hand.

Congratulations on being a stereotypical mouthpiece for stupid liberal soundbites, and being a party to the destruction of the western way of life.

Why bother with tricks? (5, Insightful)

Katatsumuri (1137173) | about 2 months ago | (#47037151)

Why does NSA have to do this? Can't they just order Cisco to install this in their factory?

Or did they co-operate in this way to prevent whistle-blowing or counterintelligence at the factory?

In any case, I doubt Cisco didn't know about this. They are probably trying to save their face after a third party uncovered this.

Re:Why bother with tricks? (5, Informative)

CrimsonAvenger (580665) | about 2 months ago | (#47037159)

Why does NSA have to do this? Can't they just order Cisco to install this in their factory?

Actually, no. They can ASK Cisco to do this, but they have no legal power to order them to do this.

Now, they may quietly PRETEND they have the legal power to order this, and phrase their request as an order. But they really can't do much if Cisco ignores them.

Re:Why bother with tricks? (2)

tuxut (3569129) | about 2 months ago | (#47037307)

Then you probably haven't read The Patriot Act.

Re:Why bother with tricks? (1)

sumdumass (711423) | about 2 months ago | (#47037333)

What in the patriot act gives them this power?

Re: Why bother with tricks? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47037695)

Letters words and sentences

Re:Why bother with tricks? (4, Informative)

kilfarsnar (561956) | about 2 months ago | (#47037729)

What in the patriot act gives them this power?

You don't need the power officially. They have ways of getting what they want.

[Quest's CEO] says he refused to cooperate based on advice from his lawyers that such an action would be illegal, as the NSA would not go through the normal process of asking the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court for a subpoena. About this time, he says the company’s ability to win unrelated government contracts - something it did not have trouble with before the NSA meeting - slowed significantly.

And here [dailycaller.com]

I'm not saying anything in particular about Cisco's vulnerability to pressure from the NSA. I'm just saying they don't necessarily need explicit legal power to get what they want.

Re:Why bother with tricks? (4, Insightful)

Charliemopps (1157495) | about 2 months ago | (#47037321)

Why does NSA have to do this? Can't they just order Cisco to install this in their factory?

Actually, no. They can ASK Cisco to do this, but they have no legal power to order them to do this.

Now, they may quietly PRETEND they have the legal power to order this, and phrase their request as an order. But they really can't do much if Cisco ignores them.

Except, you know, throw them in prison without a trial.
An agency with no oversight, who's "requests" cannot be questioned openly without charges of treason, has the power to do anything they want to anyone they want.

Re:Why bother with tricks? (4, Insightful)

CrimsonAvenger (580665) | about 2 months ago | (#47037379)

An agency with no oversight, who's "requests" cannot be questioned openly without charges of treason, has the power to do anything they want to anyone they want.

Several things:

1) "whose". Illiteracy doesn't actually make your arguments better.

2) Treason is defined by the Constitution. Article 3, Section 3. Learn it, love it, live it. There's a reason why people don't get charged with treason all that often. Note that Snowden did NOT get charged with treason. Do you really think anyone at Cisco can be charged with treason if they can't charge Snowden with it?

3) thank you for agreeing with me. They have no legal power to do so, though they can PRETEND they do by phrasing requests as orders. Alas, ignoring them doesn't actually get you in trouble.

Wildly out of touch (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47037497)

The U.S. government is extremely corrupt. It is silly to talk about the constitution and law when there are many situations in which people operating with the power of the U.S. government do not feel bound by any law.

Re:Why bother with tricks? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47037581)

While true, they can PRETEND in such a fashion that it will ruin your life: insert your name on the no-fly list; flag your name in various multi-agency databases, preventing you from maintaining the clearance necessary to work on government contracts, and turning any routine traffic stop into a ride to jail for a twenty-four hour hold; freeze your assets as part of an investigation into accusations, the specifics of which you have no right to know; etc.

So, no, they have no legal authority to force you to comply, but they do have means at their disposal to make you wish you had. Your local Sheriff has most of these powers, so don't try to pretend that the NSA is so inept that they couldn't pull it off.

Re:Why bother with tricks? (1)

L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) | about 2 months ago | (#47037787)

Alas, ignoring them doesn't actually get you in trouble.

Not explicitly, and not obviously. It will, however, probably lead to you not being invited to quote for government pork-barrel business anymore, and more than one very lengthy visit from the IRS. It doesn't matter whether it's legal or not legal anymore, it only matters if you have more firepower (legal, political, or otherwise) than they do.

Re:Why bother with tricks? (2)

symbolset (646467) | about 2 months ago | (#47037509)

What they do is use their total information awareness to find some excuse to put the executives in prison for a completely different reason. The difference matters little to the executive.

Re:Why bother with tricks? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47037707)

Reminds me of Qwest, the one major communications provider to tell the NSA to take a hike and suddenly they are under investigation by the SEC and most of their government contracts vanish. "Ask" seems to be a euphemism for "do it or we'll break your legs & empty your bank accounts".

Re:Why bother with tricks? (5, Insightful)

kilfarsnar (561956) | about 2 months ago | (#47037743)

What they do is use their total information awareness to find some excuse to put the executives in prison for a completely different reason. The difference matters little to the executive.

Now, who would do [dailycaller.com] such a thing?

Re:Why bother with tricks? (1)

Lesrahpem (687242) | about 2 months ago | (#47037511)

Now, they may quietly PRETEND they have the legal power to order this, and phrase their request as an order. But they really can't do much if Cisco ignores them.

That is like saying the mafia may quietly pretend to have the power to shut down your business if you don't do what they want. While the NSA may not have the authority, on paper, they certainly have the ability to press the issue by "extralegal" means and have verifiably done so in the past.

Re:Why bother with tricks? (5, Insightful)

Tha_Zanthrax (521419) | about 2 months ago | (#47037167)

Cisco knew, they even had a 'choice' in the matter: cooperate with the government and keep your mouth shut about it or get your business ruined by that same government.

NSA proprietary information (2)

mschaffer (97223) | about 2 months ago | (#47037277)

I doubt that the NSA would like Cisco to know how/what they are doing to their routers.

Re:Why bother with tricks? (1)

ShanghaiBill (739463) | about 2 months ago | (#47037287)

Why does NSA have to do this? Can't they just order Cisco to install this in their factory?

Not if the factory is in China.

Re:Why bother with tricks? (3, Insightful)

Spamalope (91802) | about 2 months ago | (#47037781)

Not if the factory is in China.

And now China has political cover if we notice them inserting their own changes into, say, the ethernet PHY compromising every router regardless of firmware revision. Or adds their own Stuxnet onto the support CDs included with the router.

Re:Why bother with tricks? (5, Insightful)

NotDrWho (3543773) | about 2 months ago | (#47037303)

Why does NSA have to do this? Can't they just order Cisco to install this in their factory?

Why risk someone at Cisco running to the press? Best to keep them out of the loop.

Re:Why bother with tricks? (1)

AHuxley (892839) | about 2 months ago | (#47037489)

Yes "Best to keep them out of the loop." is very much needed from the NSA perspective.
The outrage from investors, institutional investors, trust funds, technical staff, political leaders, ex staff, the legal teams has to be 100% real.
The "Never believe in anything until it has been officially denied" has to look and sound real every decade.
The academics have to stay tame, the political leaders have to legally make been a whistleblower in the US difficult, the end users stay unaware....
Once the trick is out that long term consumer turns into a new customer for any other brand.

Re:Why bother with tricks? (5, Insightful)

NotDrWho (3543773) | about 2 months ago | (#47037551)

If it weren't for Edward Snowden, Cisco would have never been able to complain--because no one would have ever known it was happening. Keep in mind that the NSA had been doing this kind of stuff for OVER 10 YEARS without a significant leak. So you can't blame them for functioning under the assumption that neither Cisco nor anyone else was ever going to know it was happening (until about 75 years from now, when it's finally declassified).

Re:Why bother with tricks? (3, Informative)

AHuxley (892839) | about 2 months ago | (#47037797)

They should have known. The ideas behind Project SHAMROCK and https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/... [wikipedia.org] should have been a hint.
The Martin and Mitchell defection in 1960 did offer the hint 'intercepting and deciphering the secret communications of its own allies"
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/... [wikipedia.org]
There where a few magazine and books over the 1970-80's that also offered a view of global telco reach, indexing, storage and tracking under ECHELON.
Copper, optical it all has to move via some nations backhaul... that so cheap peering loop
The reading back to the press of embassy traffic sent on trusted crypto should have been a hint.
So "anyone else was ever going to know" seems to be a lot of nations where happy to see their telco systems entire output shared with 5 other nations (and a few others) for decades in some form as part of a mil deal.

Why bother with tricks? (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47037353)

See Plausible deniability [wikipedia.org]

Plausible deniability is a term coined by the CIA in the early 1960s to describe the withholding of information from senior officials in order to protect them from repercussions in the event that illegal or unpopular activities by the CIA became public knowledge.

It's roots go back to Eisenhower's NSC Directive NSC 5412 of March 15, 1954, which defined "covert operations" as "...all activities conducted pursuant to this directive which are so planned and executed that any U.S. Government responsibility for them is not evident to unauthorized persons and that if uncovered the U.S. Government can plausibly disclaim any responsibility for them." [NSC 5412 was de-classifed in 1977, and is located at the National Archives, RG 273.]

Otherwise known as "They think you're a fucking dumb cunt."

Why bother with tricks? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47037803)

Is the factory in China? :P

Just buy it (0)

ketomax (2859503) | about 2 months ago | (#47037157)

Considering that this is shopping [slashdot.org] season [slashdot.org] , NSA should just buy Cisco and stop all this complaining.

Hypocritical (5, Interesting)

DaMattster (977781) | about 2 months ago | (#47037165)

I find it funny how the US government accused Huawei and ZTE of building in backdoor access while engaging in the exact same practice. I don't doubt that they do, they just haven't been caught red-handed. Pun full intended. I'm guessing that even if Obama were to issue an executive order halting the process, it would be largely for show. The actions will continue under renewed secrecy.

Re:Hypocritical (1, Informative)

Scutter (18425) | about 2 months ago | (#47037177)

The NSA has not been caught red-handed, either. The article even points out that the pictures have not been independently verified.

Re:Hypocritical (1)

L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) | about 2 months ago | (#47037233)

The NSA wouldn't work with journalists / Wikileaks to redact documents obtained and delivered to them. Why would they work with similar organisations in this instance?

At least they can't stand behind "Any disclosure puts people at risk" in this instance, unless "people" is the guy in the photo opening up Cisco kit and "in danger" means "desk duty".

Re:Hypocritical (2)

Lumpio- (986581) | about 2 months ago | (#47037187)

What the NSA is doing must be OK because it doesn't target the "American people". All the news and press conferences just concentrate on reassuring people that "American people" are not being spied on. It's OK to spy on people from all those foreign countries though.

Re:Hypocritical (0)

CrimsonAvenger (580665) | about 2 months ago | (#47037281)

Pretty much.

That IS, in fact, what espionage agencies are for, after all - spying on people in foreign countries.

Oddly enough, the NSA's MANDATE is "foreign signals intelligence". Note that word "foreign" - it's important.

Also oddly, EVERY OTHER spy agency on the planet spies on *gasp* FOREIGNERS! For values of foreigner specific to the agency in question. The French espionage apparatus does not consider Frenchmen to be "foreign", the Russian one does not consider Russians to be "foreign", etc.

Re:Hypocritical (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47037577)

Actually, not all espionage agencies are doing industrial spionage on their close allies.

It is quite possible that China and Russia does this, but the Yanks are most *certainly* doing it.

But ofcourse, if you are saying that the American people MANDATED it (in upper case no less) then I suppose it is all cool.

Re:Hypocritical (5, Insightful)

AmiMoJo (196126) | about 2 months ago | (#47037799)

I'm glad America approves me hacking American systems and spying on American people. After all, foreigners are fair game, and Americans are foreigner to me, so...?

Re:Hypocritical (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47037201)

It takes one to know one. The US government was afraid of that kind of thing exactly because they knew they were doing it to everybody else.

Re:Hypocritical (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47037271)

Mod parent up!

Re:Hypocritical (3, Interesting)

upuv (1201447) | about 2 months ago | (#47037229)

How do you think the NSA found the Chinese back doors?

Kinda of a duh moment don't you think?

Re:Hypocritical (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47037425)

They put all them in, and that same equipment was reshipped to US from China? Brilliant!

Re:Hypocritical (2)

ShanghaiBill (739463) | about 2 months ago | (#47037467)

How do you think the NSA found the Chinese back doors?

The NSA has not found any Chinese backdoors.

Re:Hypocritical (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47037569)

The NSA has not found any Chinese backdoors.

There is a Huawei device with an alleged spyware infested chip highlighted at the Spy Museum in Washington, DC for many years now.

Re:Hypocritical (0)

usuallylost (2468686) | about 2 months ago | (#47037265)

The accusations against Huawei and ZTE are that they have engineered back doors into every piece of equipment. Where the accusation against the NSA is that they have compromised Cisco equipment going to individual customers and suspect countries. I see a significant difference there. In the case of Huawei and ZTE it means you can pretty much never trust their gear. In the case of Cisco most of the world can trust their gear with the exception of people who are direct targets of the NSA.

Re:Hypocritical (5, Insightful)

MaskedSlacker (911878) | about 2 months ago | (#47037373)

In the case of Cisco most of the world can trust their gear with the exception of people who are direct targets of the NSA.

If there is anything we have learned since the Snowden Saga started, it is that most of the world are direct targets of the NSA. That is, your post is self-nullifying and vanishes in a poof of logic.

Re:Hypocritical (1)

NotSanguine (1917456) | about 2 months ago | (#47037585)

The accusations against Huawei and ZTE are that they have engineered back doors into every piece of equipment. Where the accusation against the NSA is that they have compromised Cisco equipment going to individual customers and suspect countries. I see a significant difference there. In the case of Huawei and ZTE it means you can pretty much never trust their gear. In the case of Cisco most of the world can trust their gear with the exception of people who are direct targets of the NSA.

Would someone please mod the above 'funny'. That was a joke, wasn't it?

I'm sure, given the previous revelations about us tapping our allies' leaders phones, that most of our allies are going to be quite leery of Cisco gear for quite some time. Also, It may well be that Huawei and ZTE have back doors, but where's the evidence? I'm sure multiple parties have disassembled their code and looked, but I haven't heard any corroboration. It's not like anyone took pictures of Chinese government operatives modifying the equipment.

Re:Hypocritical (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47037661)

Yes. Highly suspicious individuals like German goverment and industry only. Or whoever else the secret courts would like to green-light.

Where did you read that the NSA cherrypick lucky winners anyway?

Re:Hypocritical (0, Troll)

NetNed (955141) | about 2 months ago | (#47037269)

If Glen Greenwald is involved in the story, then it's ALL for show.

Re:Hypocritical (1)

NotSanguine (1917456) | about 2 months ago | (#47037599)

If Glen Greenwald is involved in the story, then it's ALL for show.

How so? Are you implying that Greenwald is a shill? Or that he's not a credible journalist? If so, how about some proof?

Re:Hypocritical (5, Interesting)

NotDrWho (3543773) | about 2 months ago | (#47037325)

I find it funny how the US government accused Huawei and ZTE of building in backdoor access while engaging in the exact same practice.

It's funny. I was watching the news this morning and one of the lead stories was about the arrest of a bunch of Chinese officials for "cyberspying." And the first thing that I thought when I saw that was "I wonder what the Administration is trying to hide with this stunt." So I come on Slashdot and this is the first story I see this morning. Guess I know now why those Chinese dudes got arrested.

Smart strategy. Whenever a story breaks about YOUR cyberspying, just stage a distraction stunt to highlight OTHER COUNTRY'S cyberspying.

What a freak show (3, Informative)

ruir (2709173) | about 2 months ago | (#47037183)

It is rather obvious Cisco and Microsoft have backdoors. This seems like a political show because coming to the media saying "We dont have any backdoors" would not be politically correct. Any foreign government that uses this equipment is just dumb at best.

What a freak show (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47037477)

You sound like a tera'rist, time to inject your browser with javascript exploits and put you on a watch list.

Don't ever think about traveling by plane.

Re:What a freak show (1)

AHuxley (892839) | about 2 months ago | (#47037549)

"Any foreign government that uses" sadly for many its a generational buy in.
Some time during the cold war the telco system went more digital with US 'wiretap' friendly software and hardware to track everybody within that nation.
Staff are trained, generals and the security services are happy, the next generation of staff are trained... after a while the political class just enjoys crypto junk they are handed by their nations best.
How can a small set of a nations experts stand up to their own political class, generals, telco experts all saying its better to help the USA and get good support vs making a diplomatic fuss over crypto and hardware that every other friendly nation uses...

physical inspections/software images (1)

Stonefish (210962) | about 2 months ago | (#47037205)

Make the top of the case clear so that the physical modifications are easy to see and encourage reflashing of images to checksumed versions.

NSA 911 Hurricanes... etc (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47037213)

Well Thanks OBAMA!

How do you know if your hardware has this? (5, Funny)

NotSoHeavyD3 (1400425) | about 2 months ago | (#47037221)

Oh that's easy, your cisco hardware actually works. I'll be here all night folks. Try the fish.

In Soviet Russia, the Internet surfs you (1)

Katatsumuri (1137173) | about 2 months ago | (#47037251)

In possibly related news, Russia is building their own Internet! [themoscowtimes.com] With central control! And domestic payment system! And in fact, screw the whole "inter" thing...

Under a heart-warming name "Cheburashka". [wikipedia.org]

Not sure if this is directly related to the 28% Cisco orders decrease.

Re:In Soviet Russia, the Internet surfs you (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47037259)

Russia are re-inventing AOL and MSN?

Re:In Soviet Russia, the Internet surfs you (1)

MaskedSlacker (911878) | about 2 months ago | (#47037383)

The Dark Ages are returning!

Re:In Soviet Russia, the Internet surfs you (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47037633)

The Age of Coprorations is beggining!

Dear Cisco (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47037267)

Stop acting like you just found out about it, it's too late for that now, it'll only make you look worse.

Signed:
The rest of the world

Too late (5, Insightful)

sjbe (173966) | about 2 months ago | (#47037289)

Problem is that there is pretty much no possible way Cisco can put the toothpaste back in the tube. They have no simple way to prove to potential customers that their gear hasn't been hacked or compromised in some way. The actions (real or perceived) of the NSA have basically screwed a number of US companies in overseas markets where security is any sort of a concern.

Basically even the perception that the NSA may have compromised the equipment is enough to keep people from buying Cisco. Of course then the question becomes who do you trust? The Chinese make a lot of gear but they are probably trusted even less than the Americans if anything. Unless the gear is manufactured domestically under supervision it's unclear how you ensure that no one has introduced undesirable code/hardware.

Re:Too late (2)

gnasher719 (869701) | about 2 months ago | (#47037363)

They have no simple way to prove to potential customers that their gear hasn't been hacked or compromised in some way.

Maybe ask Apple for help, since they allowed them to use the name "iOS" for their operating system. The essential parts of the operating system on iOS are signed with Apple's private key and don't work otherwise. Even if there was a "jailbreak", you can reset an iPhone and you know that all hacks are gone. The phone also allows new OS software only if it is signed by Apple. That should be equally possible on an Cisco router. (You can get around this with a jailbreak, but the important point is that at a customer, you _can_ put the device into a state where the OS is Apple only, and Cisco customers would like the ability to put the device into a state where they knew the software is Cisco only).

Re:Too late (1)

yacc143 (975862) | about 2 months ago | (#47037501)

Well, as we already know, private keys in the US not necessarily private.

Even a simple court order might end up with giving normal "law enforcement" personal access to the private key.

The NSA does not operate with THAT much publicity.

Re:Too late (1)

MobyDisk (75490) | about 2 months ago | (#47037565)

enough to keep people from buying Cisco

Do we think that it is just Cisco routers that are affected?

Damage control (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47037295)

Cisco knew exactly what the NSA was up to, just like Google, Microsoft, Apple, Dell, and all the rest.

Fuck Beta (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47037331)

I clicked on class, got to the classic front page, clicked the article and got back to beta. Fix your fucking beta, that we can disable it!

Don't complain. Sue. (3, Interesting)

Karmashock (2415832) | about 2 months ago | (#47037335)

Don't complain. Sue.

Feeling ashamed (5, Insightful)

Chewbacon (797801) | about 2 months ago | (#47037347)

...to think 40 years ago we were on the brink of nuclear war with a country that did shit like this.

Re:Feeling ashamed (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47037417)

You're Russian?

Working with the US gov, the double edged sword. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47037349)

Cisco also USES government funds and resources to handle it's civil matters too gaining an advantage. They use the FBI services for free to inspect and investigate routers being imported from other countries or through Canada to find the "unlicensed" overruns and knockoffs. This is strictly a civil issue between Cisco and it Chinese factories and suppliers.

Cisco chooses to use off shore factories in countries that have a record of corruption, no regard for US IP laws and cutting corners and then make up for the loses and that risk by pushing the enforcement costs off to the US taxpayers. That is a great win-win plan for Cisco. Cisco to FBI. "Hey, factory we choose to use in China to save some money is making knockoffs and selling them in the US cutting into our profits, how can you help us?" The US government SHOULD say, "Hey Cisco, you took that business risk and should have known this could happen, it's not the US taxpayers problem, deal with it yourself."

USA advised Australia not to purchase chinese (5, Insightful)

felixrising (1135205) | about 2 months ago | (#47037361)

During the NBN infrastructure procurement process, apparently the USA provided intelligence to Australia indicating Chinese owned Huawei be excluded as a supplier . Not doubt to aid both Cisco's chances of winning the bid, whilst also providing an easy in for the NSA to get it's ears pre-installed in Australia's NBN well in advance. It certainly smells dirty to me...

cisco survives because of autopilot. (3, Insightful)

nimbius (983462) | about 2 months ago | (#47037429)

Organizational stagnation keeps cisco in the money. Their contracts are draconian, their prices are exorbitant, they bully IT departments that try to divest from them, and their support/documentation model is based on the 1970's approach to servicing a maytag washer. namely, that only the cloistered few shall have access.

you might need them for carrier grade (whatever that means these days) equipment but largely their market share has diminished because of competition and open source. PF and IPTables solved the firewall part, CARP and keepalived solved redundancy, and asian companies like TPLink took what they learned from years of running Cisco factories and put it into a much more reasonable offering that doesnt include secret spy chips. that is unless you ask an american intelligence agency (whatever that means these days) in which case theyre riddled with evil and you need to keep buying Cisco.

Re:cisco survives because of autopilot. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47037627)

While there is probably some truth regarding organisational stagnation, you are conveniently ignoring that fact that Cisco does make some good products. Their switches, particularly the 3750 and 6500 series are excellent are used well beyond their expected lifecycle. Just look at ebay for second hand cisco gear...it still gets sold for a good price.

While there are valid competitors like Juniper in the routing space, Aruba in the wireless space and Palo Alto in the Security space, it would be a mistake to label Cisco as some giant has-been that doesn't have a product worth buying.

CISCO = Cisco IS Cia Owned (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47037439)

Class, repeat after me
Bing = Bing Is Not Google
Cisco = Cisco IS Cia Owned

Details? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47037457)

I don't know if we ever will receive the precise details of this NSA operation, but I would still like to know:

1) How was the integrity of the shipping chain tainted? At which point NSA grabbed the devices and who allowed them to do this?
2) What does this "spyware" do, and does this mean a modified system firmware or something else?

Re:Details? (2)

pdclarry (175918) | about 2 months ago | (#47037531)

I don't know if we ever will receive the precise details of this NSA operation, but I would still like to know:

1) How was the integrity of the shipping chain tainted? At which point NSA grabbed the devices and who allowed them to do this?

2) What does this "spyware" do, and does this mean a modified system firmware or something else?

Most of that is covered in Greenwald's book, and also in the NSA documents that have been released. The specific physical interception point is not described, but the modified firmware is. Once the router goes into service it "phones home" periodically and allows NSA to send monitoring instructions.

Oh come on... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47037503)

If you don't want to be shunned by the world, don't produce in a fascist control-crazy country.

Move elsewhere, or put your lobbying money to the use of encouraging openness and liberty rather than corruption. You are the ones buying policies left and right. If you are overriding democracy with money, at least override it with something longterm healthy.

The politicians you are buying right now are not to the best of your longterm interest.

Coming up next (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47037521)

Cisco CEO complains to Pizza Hut about adding cheese to pizza.

Far easier (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47037603)

Obama has already publicly stated many times that illegal surveillance is not going away. It would be far easier to build factories overseas to bypass this issue and thus further destroy the US economy. But then you would probably end up with some other spy agency knocking at your door with "secret" orders.

Why! Cisco gear is manufactured in the USA. (1)

SpaghettiPattern (609814) | about 2 months ago | (#47037645)

Why! Cisco gear is actually manufactured in the USA. (As opposed to being outsourced to the cheapest outfit on the planet.)
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