Cisco Systems gear reportedly bugged by NSA

Newly reported revelations that the National Security Agency bugged Cisco Systems’ networking equipment so the agency could spy on various adversaries has triggered a biting response from the San Jose company.

The revelation was reported by the online news site Ars Technica, which cited a 2010 NSA internal newsletter article referenced in Glenn Greenwald’s book “No Place To Hide.” It shows images of the agency intercepting packages of Cisco servers, routers and other computer networking equipment to install the surveillance bugs.

The NSA document from the chief of the agency’s Access and Target Development department (S3261) provided this detailed explanation for how the bugging was done:

“Here’s how it works: shipments of computer network devices (servers, routers, etc,) being delivered to our targets throughout the world are intercepted. Next, they are redirected to a secret location where Tailored Access Operations/Access Operations (AO-S326) employees, with the support of the Remote Operations Center (S321), enable the installation of beacon implants directly into our targets’ electronic devices. These devices are then re-packaged and placed back into transit to the original destination. All of this happens with the support of Intelligence Community partners and the technical wizards in TAO.”

Cisco previously has denied helping the government use its equipment to conduct spying operations and the latest revelations drew a sharp rebuke from the corporation’s General Counsel, Mark Chandler.

“This week a number of media outlets reported another serious allegation: that the National Security Agency took steps to compromise IT products enroute to customers, including Cisco products,” Chandler said in a blog post.

“We comply with US laws, like those of many other countries, which limit exports to certain customers and destinations; we ought to be able to count on the government to then not interfere with the lawful delivery of our products in the form in which we have manufactured them. To do otherwise, and to violate legitimate privacy rights of individuals and institutions around the world, undermines confidence in our industry.”

Photo by Paul Sakuma, AP

 
 

Share this Post



 
 
 
  • Repeal the 16th Amendment

    If traffic is being intercepted and re-routed or duplicated, I suspect this will create a larger market for products that can detect these duplicate packets a distinguish the legitimate recipient and the hostile recipient and shut them out.

    • Fred

      No it won’t need to because people will just not buy American IT equipment.
      Huawei is licking their chops and thanking the NSA..

      • Free Thinking Man

        That actually is a good point.

  • Bri

    The NSA supply chain interference was reported in December last after the DerSpiegel leaks. This is not news. Please use headlines respectfully to your readers.

    • http://akazip.com/ unclezip

      This “news” is even older than you think.

  • Abraham Ben Judea

    And the back lash against made in AMERICA electronics will be far greater than any mamby pamby terrorist would have ever dream possible…Yes in deed Bin laddin won according to his manifesto…just as he predicted

    • Fred

      The blowback has already started. China has cancelled all
      business with IBM, Oracle and I think EMC/RSA because of this.
      The NSA killed 50% of the secure server business for these guys..

      • valleyboy17

        Blowback ? What blowback ? That is complete nonsense.

        And what, you think Chinese routers are more secure ? How about Russian ones ? or Israeli routers ?

        The Chinese cancelled business with the American companies… in order to do business with a Chinese router company… that is strangely barred from doing business in the US. For security reasons.

        It has nothing to do with what the America companies are doing, except the Chinese want to be the one not only intercepting IP packets, but also denying service. This is simple minded nationalism, not something the Americans have done wrong.

        Every country does this. Chambers is a major Republican donor and is trying to rile up the Republican base for the next election.

        Note, the same thing has been going on in the valley for more than 30 years. Cisco, like every other Valley company, completely cooperates with the NSA/CIA on this, and they have meetings with them, and the NSA/CIA tells them what to do, and Cisco does it, just like Google, Facebook, Twitter, Yahoo, etc etc etc The NSA/CIA doesn’t NEED to “intercept” Cisco routers: Cisco has built the
        NSA/CIA stuff in already !!

        Why is Chambers in such an uproar now ? Why not rail at Bush, who did EXACTLY the same thing ?

        Because Chambers is a Republican. That’s why.

    • valleyboy17

      And what, you think Chinese routers are more secure ? How about Russian ones ? or Israeli routers ?

      Every country does this. Chambers is a major Republican donor and is trying to rile up the Republican base for the next election.

      Note, the same thing has been going on in the valley for more than 30 years. Why is Chambers in such an uproar now ? Why not rail at Bush, who did EXACTLY the same thing ?

      Because Chambers is a Republican. That’s why.

  • Fred

    I certainly hope Crisco will issue an FCO ASAP to test installed routers until
    they find the bug, shouldn’t be hard comparing clean code with firmware and
    software in the field. Then once as characterized it should be published as
    NSA bugging with a fix, probably new code dumps. Next Cisco should load
    all code for new installs on site to prevent the NSA doing this any more. And
    finally they should sue the NSA for theft, conspiracy and violation of the digital
    millennium copyright act.

    • RR

      Its probably not part of the ios. Likely another chip in the system.

      I would bet that china and russia are doing much worse. It does make it next to impossible to sell cisco and other products internationally though.

      Side note… these issues inflict a huge toll on mental health. The crazies latch on to this kinda thing and go crazier. Those on the edge of sanity that fixate on this, begin to loose what little confidence they had in society.

      • Fred

        I doubt it. A production board would not have a “dead bug” an extra
        ASIC because a field engineer would instantly recognize it. The obvious
        way for the NSA to poke a hole in a router is to internally block a port
        filter. There are 65,000 ports addressable by each IP address. In the
        normal creation of a network on a router you would define the network
        and block all unneeded and unmonitored ports. All the NSA would
        need to do is add a few lines of code that recreated that port access after you created the command to block it by default. Maybe a dozen
        lines of code at most. Since only compiled object code is actually
        resident in the router nobody would know unless they did a full
        regression testing of the iOS. Something a field engineer is not going
        to do. Thats why I said if Cisco was serious about protecting their customers from the government they would load clean code on site.
        Every single Cisco customer should do full regression testing of
        every load to make sure the NSA had not bugged it with a port filter
        “feature”.

  • Steve

    interesting that none of the “rebuke” from Cisco actually rebukes anything..

    • flag

      Ummm, yea. No denial. He SPECIFICALLY stated “we ought to be able to count on the government to then not interfere
      with the lawful delivery of our products in the form in which we have
      manufactured them.” This falls in line with the Tor developer that claims her laptop was delivered from California, to Langley, and then back to her in Seattle, according to the tracking info….whoops.

      http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20140124/10564825981/nsa-interception-action-tor-developers-computer-gets-mysteriously-re-routed-to-virginia.shtml

      They may not be working “with” the nsa as opposed to working with the post office and parcel shipping, as well as with major online retailers such as Amazon.

    • valleyboy17

      Note, the same thing has been going on in the Valley for more than 30 years.

      Cisco, like every other Valley company, completely cooperates with the NSA/CIA on this, and they have meetings with them, and the NSA/CIA tells them what to do, and Cisco does it, just like Google, Facebook, Twitter, Yahoo, etc etc etc The NSA/CIA doesn’t NEED to “intercept” Cisco routers: Cisco has built the NSA/CIA stuff in already !!

      Why is Chambers in such an uproar now ? Why not rail at Bush, who did EXACTLY the same thing ?

      Because Chambers is a Republican. That’s why.

  • Veri1138

    This is going to cost Cisco, if it hasn’t already. Wonder what a lawsuit seeking seeking economic damages against the NSA would look like. Of course, the criminals are protected from any consequences because taxpayers pay the fines.

    To avoid a lawsuit, the scum in government would seek to offset any Cisco losses by a number of mechanisms.

    1. Suspicious tax breaks.
    2. Allowing an increase in cash held overseas to avoid taxes.
    3. Direct payments through taxpayer funds coupled with juicy, pork laden government contracts.
    4. Show up with pictures of your wife and kids at work and at playground to provide incentives, while telling you, “accidents happen”.

    Really? No one understands that all those juicy tax breaks, loopholes, etc… are also a transmission mechanism for payoffs to buy cooperation?

    Virgins.

    • valleyboy17

      Virgins indeed. Look in the mirror.

      Your post is complete nonsense.

      And what, you think Chinese routers are more secure ? How about Russian ones ? or Israeli routers ?

      The Chinese cancelled business with the American companies… in order to do business with a Chinese router company… that is strangely barred from doing business in the US. For security reasons.

      It has nothing to do with what the America companies are doing, except the Chinese want to be the one not only intercepting IP packets, but also denying service. This is simple minded nationalism, not something the Americans have done wrong.

      Every country does this. Chambers is a major Republican donor and is trying to rile up the Republican base for the next election.

      Note, the same thing has been going on in the valley for more than 30 years. Cisco, like every other Valley company, completely cooperates with the NSA/CIA on this, and they have meetings with them, and the NSA/CIA tells them what to do, and Cisco does it, just like Google, Facebook, Twitter, Yahoo, etc etc etc The NSA/CIA doesn’t NEED to “intercept” Cisco routers: Cisco has built the NSA/CIA stuff in already !!

      Why is Chambers in such an uproar now ? Why not rail at Bush, who did EXACTLY the same thing ?

      Because Chambers is a Republican. That’s why.

      • Veri1138

        Do you know how many routers are made in China? Why would they have to cancel business that incidentally helps their companies in the manufacturing industry?

        Perhaps… how about all those integrated circuits used in a very popular chip, many of them made in China, that somehow found their way into widespread circulation a few years back? You know… the ones with the hardwired backdoor that bypassed security without even the operating system being aware. Designed in America, manufactured in China, Taiwan, etc… The complexity of the ICs designed in America, the complexity was meant to hide what was being manufactured. A physical inspection of the IC used in routers, military hardware, airplanes, etc… using some pretty advanced science revealed the hardwired backdoor.

        Now. What China is doing is simple, plain, old, boring economic warfare. China views American and Western-based multinationals, not only as competitors, but as willing participants (and thus, targets in warfare) in America’s (and The West in general) little economic war. Legitimate targets. And as a security measure, of course.

        Coupled with Obama’s neo-con inspired pivot to Asia.

        Then, there were Google, Cisco, IBM, Facebook, et. al.; oh they yelled about NSA spying until it was revealed that they were in on it to. Like Merkel decrying NSA spying and threatening investigations until someone leaked the little detail that it was German intelligence agencies that were handing over the information. LOL.

        We are at war. Not many in the general public know this. Economic warfare. You know what comes after economic warfare, in most cases? A hot war. Shooting. Usually. Wonder what the FBI is doing putting five Chinese military officials on an FBI list? Propaganda. Hoping to apply pressure. Does anyone believe that China is going to hand those guys over? Of course not. Yet, American MSM is all too happy to pimp out the anti-Chinese propaganda.

        How is China supposed to react to the anti-Chinese propaganda in America (much of which is incidentally true, yet overhyped)? In warfare, you attack.

        Virgins, indeed.

  • Abraham Ben Judea

    The NSA and the authors of the PATRIOT ACT (Bidden) feared economic damage from terrorist act; How much economic damage did that one act do to the american economy?

    • valleyboy17

      None whatsoever.

      That is complete nonsense.

      And what, you think Chinese routers are more secure ? How about Russian ones ? or Israeli routers ?

      The Chinese cancelled business with the American companies… in order to do business with a Chinese router company… that is strangely barred from doing business in the US. For security reasons.

      It has nothing to do with what the America companies are doing, except the Chinese want to be the one not only intercepting IP packets, but also denying service. This is simple minded nationalism, not something the Americans have done wrong.

      Every country does this. Chambers is a major Republican donor and is trying to rile up the Republican base for the next election.

      Note, the same thing has been going on in the valley for more than 30 years. Cisco, like every other Valley company, completely cooperates with the NSA/CIA on this, and they have meetings with them, and the NSA/CIA tells them what to do, and Cisco does it, just like Google, Facebook, Twitter, Yahoo, etc etc etc The NSA/CIA doesn’t NEED to “intercept” Cisco routers: Cisco has built the NSA/CIA stuff in already !!

      Why is Chambers in such an uproar now ? Why not rail at Bush, who did EXACTLY the same thing ?

      Because Chambers is a Republican. That’s why.

  • farang

    Cisco Knew. Very well-paid co-conspirators.
    Now, they are practicising “Plausible Deniability”…that is hardly plausible..

    • valleyboy17

      Absolutely true. The NSA doesn’t “intercept” Cisco equipment, they work right in Cisco offices, just like they do at Google, Facebook, Yahoo, Twitter, etc.

  • Robert Petry

    I’d like to comment but………… I’m not on the list yet.

  • valleyboy17

    The NSA doesn’t “intercept” Cisco equipment, they work right in Cisco offices, just like they do at Google, Facebook, Yahoo, Twitter, etc.

    I know people who work at MAJOR internet companies, and they routinely insert code to allow both NSA to snoop. It’s not a very well kept secret, EVERY internet company does this, and so does Cisco and every other networking company, American, or otherwise.

    Chambers (a major Republican donor) is just being a loud-mouth to get some more money out of the Repub base by claiming something unusual is happening, when it is just routine business, and has been for decades. NSA doesn’t “intercept” Cisco equipment, they work right in the same offices with Cisco employees !

    If I were setting up an internet company, no way would I use American, Russian, or Israeli company for networking equipment. Not a chance.

  • Ronald

    Network expert is providing cisco systam

 
 
css.php
Menu Title