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China Communications Government Networking Politics

Chinese Media Calls For Boycott of Cisco 216

Posted by timothy
from the better-to-be-tapped-domestically dept.
An anonymous reader writes "China's state-run media is calling on the country's wireless carriers to move away from Cisco products. According to reports, using Cisco products allows the U.S. to 'attack China almost at will,' and forms a 'terrible security threat.' Chinese officials are urging the companies' wireless carriers to switch to hardware made by Huawei and ZTE Corp. Citing cybersecurity concerns, the United States has banned the use of equipment from both Huawei and ZTE in its cellular networks. Cisco has not yet been named in documents describing the NSA's global wiretapping operations. Apple, a company named in leaked documents, has slashed iPhone production for the second half of this year on falling overseas sales."
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Chinese Media Calls For Boycott of Cisco

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  • by spacefight (577141) on Tuesday June 25, 2013 @10:58AM (#44100613)
    Seriously? I guess not!
  • by John Napkintosh (140126) on Tuesday June 25, 2013 @10:59AM (#44100617) Homepage

    Weren't some companies found to be using Chinese clones of Cisco hardware and things which contained compromised chips and such? I remember reading about seizures of this hardware some time ago.

    • Re:Pot and Kettle? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 25, 2013 @11:17AM (#44100831)

      Counterfeit Cisco equipment.
      http://www.networkhardware.com/counterfeit-cisco-chat#.Ucmxi_m64zI

      The idea really is that the counterfeits were finding their way into US Government via Authorized Cisco sellers buying up such devices from eBay.

      The thing is, if it talks like a duck and walks like a duck, it's still a duck. If the hardware was working, just using cheaper chinese knockoff parts, the MTBF is likely a lot shorter.

      But don't confuse counterfeit hardware, meant to look and act like the original, with aunthentic gear that's been refurbished and compromised in the process. Notice how malware gets onto storage devices (like digital picture frames) because somewhere along the production path, pirated software was used? This is the same principle in play.

      The reason ZTE and Huawei aren't allowed to sell to US Government is because they (the US) can't wire-tap that gear. Likewise Cisco may have been complicit (or even forced at gunpoint for all we know) to allow wiretapping in their products. If those same products were sold to China, then it's equally likely the Chinese government can wiretap it as well if they figure out how the US does it.

      But the point in all these Snowden related problems is that Cisco is going to suffer losses from this. Like the most "evil" companies in the US are the wireless carriers (Verizon, AT&T), Cisco (who provides them with hardware), Oracle (Databases), IBM and Microsoft. I wouldn't put it past any of these companies to be complicit with government requests to access or provide backdoors into their products.

      More to the point, If you're fond of using cloud services (Gmail included) which the data is hosted in US data centers, guess what, the Patriot act says the US Government can access it all they damn well please.

      It would be wonderful if some court found that the US can not spy on Americans or foreigners who's data is stored or transits in the US under the fourth amendment and to throw out the patriot act. But no, once the government takes rights away, it never gives them back.

      • Saying that all Cisco gear has backdoors for the USG in it is a pretty bold claim, and one that Ive not heard before. Youre supposing that noone has noticed this "backdoor" traffic on their cisco gear (or thru any of the network devices that traffic traverses), AND that the USG is comfortable knowing that 90% of the infrastructure out there is already compromised?

        Provide sources, please.

  • by wcrowe (94389)

    You mean there are electronic products that are NOT made in China? Where are Cisco products manufactured?

  • by prefec2 (875483) on Tuesday June 25, 2013 @11:09AM (#44100761)

    As all countries are spying at each other and stop trusting each other, international trade of It goods collapse. As in most goods, electronics are involved, this will harm international trade. As present China did not ban European products, but as they encourage the use of Chinese products, this ban is not USA only. The Europeans should try to do something similar. They should avoid US, British and Chinese products all along and encourage its companies to use strong encryption and tor like systems.

  • The real reason... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by trailerparkcassanova (469342) on Tuesday June 25, 2013 @11:14AM (#44100795)
    The Chinese have successfully copied Cisco's HW so there's no reason to buy the genuine product.
    • The Chinese have successfully copied Cisco's HW so there's no reason to buy the genuine product.

      I thought that Cisco's advantage over its competitors was in its SW, not HW...

      • by ttucker (2884057)

        The Chinese have successfully copied Cisco's HW so there's no reason to buy the genuine product.

        I thought that Cisco's advantage over its competitors was in its SW, not HW...

        Actually, their business advantage is in figuring out how to make people pay enormous sums of money for things that should be, and otherwise are, nearly free.

    • by AmiMoJo (196126) *

      Cisco aren't really about hardware, they are about support. I worked at a place where they didn't even have access to their Cisco router, they had to call Cisco who managed it remotely for them.

  • This just means that they will use locally produced copies of Cisco equipment. Which is dramatically different from what they do now ... Yeah...

  • Protectionism (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Somebody Is Using My (985418) on Tuesday June 25, 2013 @11:18AM (#44100845) Homepage

    You know, China, I have no issue with a sovereign nation looking to its own industry to provide the technologies it needs to defend itself from threats, whether they are of an analog or digital nature. You shouldn't depend on foreign suppliers for your defense, not only because they may be somehow compromised with unknown backdoors, but also because you have no control of the supply. So sure, drop Cisco; it's probably for the best.

    But if you are considering Huawei switches and routers to provide you any sort of security, you may wish to rethink that particular course of action [youtube.com]. The NSA doesn't /need/ to install backdoors when the software is vulnerable by default. [securityweek.com]

    Cisco hardware may be compromised with backdoors, but at least they are /competently/ compromised...

    • by Solandri (704621)
      It's probably a double bluff. The Chinese government has a hard time breaking into Chinese citizens' networks built on Cisco gear. So they piggy-back off recent news and make up a plausible story about Cisco stuff being compromised by the NSA, and so you should use Huawai and ZTE stuff instead. In fact it is the Huawai and ZTE stuff which is compromised - with backdoors (or lax security) put in by the Chinese government. Chinese citizens switch away from Cisco and to Huawai and ZTE hardware, and the Chi
  • yeah and China NEVER puts backdoors in all their networking products they sell to the US. I mean I'm sure the US military gets weird American-made equipment on purpose just for the fun of it and to waste money, not for security reasons.
  • by m00sh (2538182) on Tuesday June 25, 2013 @11:32AM (#44101031)

    Before facebook was seen as the fuel for the social revolutions, twitter the next media platform but now because of all the NSA snooping revelation, it has made all our software companies look like snitches.

    Furthermore, it was a lone whistle blower rather than the powerhouse companies that fought against this, it has the made the software companies look placid and complaint to questionable data gathering.

    XBox One unveiling response was that it looked like a perfect spying machine not a gaming machine, new cellphones or OSes will be thought to be full of back doors and websites to be perceived to be constantly monitoring data and handing them over to the authorities.

    This might drive customers away from US software industry products.

    • by ttucker (2884057)

      This might drive customers away from US software industry products.

      But where will they be driven to?

  • This coming from a country known for their counterfeit Cisco hardware.

  • I just might have a few of these products at my workplace. Are there really backdoors or are the Chinese just paranoid?

  • And a lot of other brands... if those are the routers where you can replace the original firmware with a more free, openly auditable alternatives like DD-WRT [dd-wrt.com], Tomato [polarcloud.com], OpenWRT [openwrt.org] or others. Or even put Cummulus [cumulusnetworks.com] in supported models. Or if you go to a more generic pc like alternative, directly putting linux or some BSD flavors.
    • by ttucker (2884057)
      For all of the, "you're a dumbass" comments, you raise a very interesting point. Consumer endpoint routers with snooping capabilities would be a major security problem for a country too, and this action would most logically include Linksys and Cisco consumer products as well. Also, I can think of more than a few companies with secrets to keep using Cisco ("consumer") cable modems....
  • Their shit is entirely too expensive, with astronomical recurring charges. What do you even get for all of that money, some dismal routers, lame SIP phones, and some CCNA schmuck that you *have* to deal with?

"I got everybody to pay up front...then I blew up their planet." "Now why didn't I think of that?" -- Post Bros. Comics

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