Security Pie

The ramblings of three security curmudgeons

Cisco’s Greatest Hit

without comments

Cisco is promoting Diego Rivas 


Cisco is promoting Diego Rivas


Dave, a developer from Melbourne, Australia brings an interesting story . He was installing a newly purchased VPN product. When he loaded the VPN client software, he discovered that in the place of the usual boring software was an audio disk with 12 tracks of Spanish music (see Cisco\’s Hit). A lively discussion on Dave’s blog tried and successfully managed to identify the musician.  You can watch the video below.

Beyond the anecdotal story there are few things that we can learn from this incident. I’m not picking on Cisco specifically: In the past, one of the products that I was managing was built by very large OEM partner that was responsible for building the appliance, packaging, forwarding etc. Though it was very rare, we had few incidents when customer X received parts of a printer with his order (inside the appliance package), while another customer received the wrong CDs etc. Errors do occur and I believe that Cisco will do everything it can to learn from this manufacturing snafu and improve its quality assurance process. However from a security risk management point of view , this incident is a reminder to trust no one:

Every CD should be considered suspicious, even if it arrived inside a box that has the Cisco logo. Due to the popularity of Cisco’s gear there’s a second hand market and also some fake devices. Softpedia tells that even the United States government is reportedly using some 3500 fake Cisco-branded network devices, including routers, network switches and hubs. “According to the investigation results, the fake devices are worth up to $3.5 million.” 


Trust no one is the moral of this story.  On a side note, this story also explains why the DOD is investing so much money looking for the kill switch

Enjoy the music!

(Arik, What’s going on down there in Australia?, we’re getting a steady stream of weird reports recently :-)  

Written by sharon

October 17th, 2008 at 9:40 am