Cisco investigates allegations of NSA using their equipment to conduct surveillance
By End the Lie
Cisco has responded to the latest report that a unit of the NSA was able to use their technology to spy on people by expressing deep concern and launching an investigation.
John Stewart, Cisco’s senior vice president and chief security officer of threat response intelligence and development, said in a statement the company does “not know of any new product vulnerabilities.”
In response to the Der Spiegel reports, Stewart said that the Cisco Product Security Incident Response Team (PSIRT) opened an investigation on Monday, though they note that the report does not actually disclose any specific product vulnerabilities.
In their response to the reports, Cisco said that their “development policies prohibit any product behaviors that weaken the security posture of a Cisco device.”
It is worth noting that the security giant RSA deliberately weakened their encryption as part of a deal with the NSA, according to leaked documents.
The company stated that the PSIRT investigation into the allegations has begun and findings will be communicated through their “standard security disclosure process.”
On Sunday, Stewart said that Cisco does “not know of any new product vulnerabilities, and will continue to pursue all avenues to determine if we need to address any new issues.”
Stewart said that the company told Der Spiegel that they do not assist any government agencies by weakening products for exploitation.
In addition, Stewart said that Cisco does not “implement any so-called security ‘back doors’ in our products.”
Julie Bort, writing for Business Insider, noted the irony of the reports of the U.S. government using Cisco’s products for spying.
“Cisco was recently successful in a campaign against Chinese competitor Huawei over similar accusations,” Bort notes.
Indeed, Cisco CEO John Chambers said that Huawei products were created with back doors that allowed the Chinese government to spy on American companies.
U.S. legislators investigated and warned U.S. companies not to buy Huawei products in 2012, making Chambers’ efforts a success.
In early December, it was revealed by Huawei CEO Ren Zhengfei that the China-based telecommunications giant would be pulling out of the U.S. market entirely.
Will legislators now call on U.S. firms to stop buying products from Cisco and other American companies based on the Der Spiegel reports? One can only guess at this point.
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