Feeds

FBI probe discovers counterfeit kit in US military networks

Operation Cisco Raider gets arrests

Next gen security for virtualised datacentres

An FBI probe has uncovered the use of counterfeit networking kit by the US military, but subsequent investigations suggest a counterfeit ring more interested in money making - rather than espionage - was behind the scam.

Operation Cisco Raider led to the prosecution of 15 criminal cases involving the use of knock-off networking kit within US military systems, military contractors and utilities. The two-year investigation, involving the execution of 36 warrants, discovered 3,500 counterfeit Cisco network components valued at around $3.5m. Suspects in the suspected counterfeiting ring have been arrested in China, following cooperation between the US and Chinese authorities, the New York Times reports.

Possibilities that the bogus kit might have contained backdoors raised possible security concerns. However, Cisco has failed to uncover evidence to back up warnings from FBI agents, presented to a meeting of the Office of Management and Budget back in January and subsequently linked to the website Above Top Secret, that counterfeit gear may contain a secret backdoor.

"We did not find any evidence of re-engineering in the manner that was described in the FBI presentation," Cisco spokesman John Noh told the NYT, adding that people making and using fake Cisco gear are probably simply interested in turning a quick profit.

Possible espionage concerns in counterfeit hardware were underlined by research from boffins from the University of Illinois, who presented a paper in April explaining how they were able to modify a Sun Microsystems SPARC microprocessor to effectively create a hardwired backdoor capable of logging passwords or other sensitive data. The backdoor was created by altering part of the blueprints for the chip, which contains around 1.8m circuits.

A system such as this hidden in hardware would be very difficult to detect. Creating such a system would be well beyond the capabilities of common or garden hackers, but not intelligence agencies. ®

Next gen security for virtualised datacentres

More from The Register

next story
Britain's housing crisis: What are we going to do about it?
Rent control: Better than bombs at destroying housing
Top beak: UK privacy law may be reconsidered because of social media
Rise of Twitter etc creates 'enormous challenges'
GCHQ protesters stick it to British spooks ... by drinking urine
Activists told NOT to snap pics of staff at the concrete doughnut
What do you mean, I have to POST a PHYSICAL CHEQUE to get my gun licence?
Stop bitching about firearms fees - we need computerisation
Ex US cybersecurity czar guilty in child sex abuse website case
Health and Human Services IT security chief headed online to share vile images
We need less U.S. in our WWW – Euro digital chief Steelie Neelie
EC moves to shift status quo at Internet Governance Forum
Oz biz regulator discovers shared servers in EPIC FACEPALM
'Not aware' that one IP can hold more than one Website
prev story

Whitepapers

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup
IT departments are embracing cloud backup, but there’s a lot you need to know before choosing a service provider. Learn all the critical things you need to know.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Backing up Big Data
Solving backup challenges and “protect everything from everywhere,” as we move into the era of big data management and the adoption of BYOD.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?