Dark Reading is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

Risk

5/12/2008
12:40 PM
50%
50%

FBI Fears Counterfeit Networking Equipment Could Compromise Security

A sensitive agency PowerPoint presentation indicates that the U.S. military purchased counterfeit gear, which could threaten the security of its systems.

The FBI has discovered that counterfeit networking equipment may have compromised security of U.S. military and other sensitive government systems, according to a PowerPoint presentation posted on an alternative news Web site.

AboveTopSecret.com, a site that features news about UFOs, the paranormal, secret societies, and conspiracies, posted parts of the presentation on its Web site. The FBI appeared to validate the report by issuing a statement saying the PowerPoint presentation was not meant for widespread distribution.

The report states that the military, the FBI, the Federal Aviation Administration, defense contractors, universities, and financial institutions purchased counterfeit equipment such as routers, switches, servers, and WAN interface cards. Other equipment, including PCs and printers, could also create security vulnerabilities, according to the FBI. It's unclear whether the counterfeiting was state sponsored or for-profit, according to the presentation.

The report highlights that the federal government's procurement system places an emphasis on low prices, and counterfeit goods sell for substantially less than authentic ones. It states that one out of 10 IT products on the market is counterfeit.

The FBI indicated the gear originated in China and revealed that the products sometimes ship directly to the United States through online purchases. Sometimes they arrive via foreign governments -- including Canada, Germany, the Netherlands, and the United Kingdom. Subcontractors and vendors also play a part, and the government performs minimal, if any, background checks on vendors, according to the presentation.

With counterfeit networking equipment, government systems are exposed to failure, unauthorized access, and weakening of cryptographic systems, the FBI presentation pointed out.

FBI Assistant Director James Finch of the FBI's Cyber Division said that division provided an unclassified PowerPoint presentation and briefing in January in response to a request from another federal government agency.

"This unclassified briefing was never intended for broad distribution or posting to the Internet," he said in a prepared statement. "This presentation discussed cyberthreats, including Operation Cisco Raider. In late February 2008, the FBI and its partners at the U.S. Department of Justice and U.S. Department of Homeland Security announced the culmination of this two-year operation."

The February announcement included information about counterfeit products entering sensitive government IT systems.

The FBI said Operation Cisco Raider included 15 investigations across nine FBI field offices and resulted in 39 search warrants. The effort, which included Cisco Systems' cooperation, disrupted a large distribution network and recovered about 3,500 counterfeit components thought to be valued at more than $3.5 million, the FBI said.

A Cisco spokesperson said the company did not believe that the equipment allowed unauthorized access to the government's systems, and the FBI said it was not accusing the Chinese government of spying, according to statements published in The New York Times.

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
7 Tips for Infosec Pros Considering A Lateral Career Move
Kelly Sheridan, Staff Editor, Dark Reading,  1/21/2020
For Mismanaged SOCs, The Price Is Not Right
Kelly Sheridan, Staff Editor, Dark Reading,  1/22/2020
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon Contest
Current Issue
IT 2020: A Look Ahead
Are you ready for the critical changes that will occur in 2020? We've compiled editor insights from the best of our network (Dark Reading, Data Center Knowledge, InformationWeek, ITPro Today and Network Computing) to deliver to you a look at the trends, technologies, and threats that are emerging in the coming year. Download it today!
Flash Poll
How Enterprises are Attacking the Cybersecurity Problem
How Enterprises are Attacking the Cybersecurity Problem
Organizations have invested in a sweeping array of security technologies to address challenges associated with the growing number of cybersecurity attacks. However, the complexity involved in managing these technologies is emerging as a major problem. Read this report to find out what your peers biggest security challenges are and the technologies they are using to address them.
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2015-3154
PUBLISHED: 2020-01-27
CRLF injection vulnerability in Zend\Mail (Zend_Mail) in Zend Framework before 1.12.12, 2.x before 2.3.8, and 2.4.x before 2.4.1 allows remote attackers to inject arbitrary HTTP headers and conduct HTTP response splitting attacks via CRLF sequences in the header of an email.
CVE-2019-17190
PUBLISHED: 2020-01-27
A Local Privilege Escalation issue was discovered in Avast Secure Browser 76.0.1659.101. The vulnerability is due to an insecure ACL set by the AvastBrowserUpdate.exe (which is running as NT AUTHORITY\SYSTEM) when AvastSecureBrowser.exe checks for new updates. When the update check is triggered, the...
CVE-2014-8161
PUBLISHED: 2020-01-27
PostgreSQL before 9.0.19, 9.1.x before 9.1.15, 9.2.x before 9.2.10, 9.3.x before 9.3.6, and 9.4.x before 9.4.1 allows remote authenticated users to obtain sensitive column values by triggering constraint violation and then reading the error message.
CVE-2014-9481
PUBLISHED: 2020-01-27
The Scribunto extension for MediaWiki allows remote attackers to obtain the rollback token and possibly other sensitive information via a crafted module, related to unstripping special page HTML.
CVE-2015-0241
PUBLISHED: 2020-01-27
The to_char function in PostgreSQL before 9.0.19, 9.1.x before 9.1.15, 9.2.x before 9.2.10, 9.3.x before 9.3.6, and 9.4.x before 9.4.1 allows remote authenticated users to cause a denial of service (crash) or possibly execute arbitrary code via a (1) large number of digits when processing a numeric ...