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March 20, 2015

Cisco to ship to ghost addresses in move against NSA

Networking major is trying to prevent the NSA from installing backdoors in its routers.

By CBR Staff Writer

Taking an innovative way to dodge NSA snooping, networking major Cisco said that it will ship boxes to fake addresses at vacant addresses.

Speaking at the Cisco Live conference in Melbourne, Cisco security chief John Stewart said the company will adopt this innovative way to prevent the NSA from installing backdoors in its routers.

Stewart said that the company offers the option for customers to take the equipment directly from its factory or ship it to an empty house.

Stewart was quoted by the Register as saying, "We ship [boxes] to an address that’s has nothing to do with the customer, and then you have no idea who ultimately it is going to."

"When customers are truly worried … it causes other issues to make [interception] more difficult in that [agencies] don’t quite know where that router is going so its very hard to target – you’d have to target all of them.

"There is always going to be inherent risk."

Though the company is adopting the method to avoid snooping in future, Swewart said that nothing can guarantee protection against NSA.

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"If you had a machine in an airtight area … I stop the controls by which I mitigate risk when I ship it," adding that technologies can make malicious tampering "incredibly hard".

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