​Cisco on CIA WikiLeaks revelations: It’s not our problem… this time

Cisco: Concerned but “It’s not our role” to secure against such threats

Cisco is pointedly not going out of its way to assure people that its products haven't been compromised again. (Photo: DenisenFamily, Flickr)

Cisco is pointedly not going out of its way to assure people that its products haven't been compromised again. (Photo: DenisenFamily, Flickr)

Two years ago, at the Cisco Live! Conference in Melbourne, as a result of the Snowden Revelations, Cisco revealed that it was going to the extraordinary lengths of shipping its routers to vacant addresses in order to stop government security agents installing backdoor access to the networks they’d be used on – which in Cisco’s case, means everything from corporate and government networks to the backbone of the internet.

With the recent revelations that American security services (most notably, the CIA) have been hacking all manner of devices from microphones in Samsung TVs to consumer mobile phones in order to spy on people and that those vendors were extremely concerned and patching the security holes as a matter of priority, PC World returned to the Cisco Live conference and asked Keynote speaker, Chris Dedicoat, EVP of Worldwide Sales, on how Cisco was responding to the latest revelations:

PC World: What can Cisco tell, not just its partners but the public about how it can be trusted? And what’s it doing to keep an eye on what the CIA and the government are doing?

Chris Dedicoat: We provide our technology to all of the major testing agencies around the globe and they’re able to in-depth analyse our technology. So our role is to provide the best technology to provide the best security that we can with the minds and the capabilities that we have. That’s the role of our company and our role is to provide that to companies around the globe. Our role is not to participate and comment on the question that you had…

PCW: You’ve spoken the whole time [at the Cisco Live conference] about the importance of network security and we’ve just learned that Samsung TVs have been compromised, Android phones, Apple iPhones and all manner of things. It stands to reason that Cisco routers are on their radar again. You can’t just dismiss it and say it’s not our job.

CD: I can because our role is to provide the technology that people build the security capability on. We stress that every company, regardless of what you do, needs to embrace a security strategy – that’s exactly what we are trying to say. Our role, however, is to try and develop the technology to do that and that’s what we are doing every single day. And we share that information across industry and with our customers to try and help [them] try and understand the changing threat landscape and the increasing number of threat actors and their sophistication. That is the role that we play.

PCW: Are you concerned about the WikiLeaks revelations?

CD: Of course we’re all concerned. Our role is to do everything we can through technology to improve the security capability of our customers and our partners and all we can do is to stress and to show what is occurring around the globe and try and provide the best guidance that we can from the amount of data that we collect and understand more about the threat landscape. That’s our role and every company… needs to embrace their own security strategy and they need to take advantage of the technologies that are available globally and implement [them] because it’s critical to their business that they do so… That is our role.

Whether these answers will convince people that Cisco really is doing everything to protect its networks this time round remains to be seen. The company does not appear to be investigating whether, as before, its customers are getting the same equipment that left Cisco's factory. As for whether it really is Cisco’s role to guard against infiltration of the networks it provides and not just provide advice and an knowingly-imperfect level of security on the matter is less clear cut.

Read more: 10 takeaways for getting more women into tech and cyber security at Cisco Live

[Related: Who's at Cisco Live 2017 and what to see: The best parts]

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection

Tags spyingciaciscowikileaksgovernment

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.
Nick Ross
Show Comments

Father’s Day Gift Guide

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

David Coyle

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

I rate the printer as a 5 out of 5 stars as it has been able to fit seamlessly into my busy and mobile lifestyle.

Kurt Hegetschweiler

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

It’s perfect for mobile workers. Just take it out — it’s small enough to sit anywhere — turn it on, load a sheet of paper, and start printing.

Matthew Stivala

HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer

The HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer is a great device that fits perfectly into my fast paced and mobile lifestyle. My first impression of the printer itself was how incredibly compact and sleek the device was.

Armand Abogado

HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer

Wireless printing from my iPhone was also a handy feature, the whole experience was quick and seamless with no setup requirements - accessed through the default iOS printing menu options.

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?