Friday, March 20, 2015

Cisco taking action against the NSA

Last May we learned that the NSA sometimes intercepted Cisco networking devices that were being delivered to particular customers.  An NSA team would open the shipping container, bug the Cisco device, and reseal the shipment.  In this way, NSA could bug targets without having to hack their way in to the networks.

Cisco has just announced that they are taking measures to defeat this:
John Chambers personally complained to President Obama about this practice, which is not exactly a selling point for Cisco equipment abroad. Der Spiegel published the more complete document, along with a broader story, in January of this year:
In one recent case, after several months a beacon implanted through supply-chain interdiction called back to the NSA covert infrastructure. The call back provided us access to further exploit the device and survey the network. Upon initiating the survey, SIGINT analysis from TAO/Requirements & Targeting determined that the implanted device was providing even greater access than we had hoped: We knew the devices were bound for the Syrian Telecommunications Establishment (STE) to be used as part of their internet backbone, but what we did not know was that STE's GSM (cellular) network was also using this backbone. Since the STE GSM network had never before been exploited, this new access represented a real coup.
Now Cisco is taking matters into its own hands, offering to ship equipment to fake addresses in an effort to avoid NSA interception.

I don't think we have even begun to understand the long-term damage the NSA has done to the US tech industry.

1 comment:

Paul Bonneau said...

Everything government touches, turns to shit. Thanks NSA...