FBI criminal investigation: Cisco routers

James Finch
"At the request of another federal government agency, on January 11, 2008, the FBI's Cyber Division provided an unclassified PowerPoint presentation and briefing on efforts to counter the production and distribution of counterfeit network hardware," said James Finch - Assistant Director FBI Cyber Division. "This unclassified briefing was never intended for broad distribution or posting to the Internet."

"This presentation discussed cyber threats including Operation Cisco Raider." Actual slides from the FBI presentation:

FBI Criminal Investigation: Cisco Routers
Cost Comparison Example
Yours truly was stunned to see that the FBI's presentation was partly based on a Network World story published October 23rd, 2006: Fake network gear The FBI even printed the web page URL address of the Network World story: http://www.networkworld.com/news/2006/102306counterfeit.html On the bottom right of the slide directly below:
MortgageIT: Non-government Example
Even more stunning to yours truly, was the blog entry published on The Platform - The Official Cisco Blog, in reaction to the unauthorized public release of the FBI PowerPoint presentation: Cisco Statement on Counterfeit Goods "So what can you do? We can’t stress enough the importance to Cisco customers and channel partners of procuring equipment only from Cisco authorized channels." Yours truly was even more flabbergasted that the FBI presentation specifically pointed out that it was a Cisco authorized reseller, Atec Group Inc., which sold 30 counterfeit Cisco WAN Interface Cards (WIC) to the Cisco customer MortgageIT.
MortgageIT: Non-government Example
From the October 23rd, 2006 Network World story: "Thirty cards turned out to be counterfeit, he says." "Despite repeated calls and e-mails to his supplier, Atec Group Inc., the issue was not resolved." The January 11th, 2008 FBI presentation also highlighted the FBI's problems with Cisco. According to the FBI, one of its problems was in fact Cisco's solution: Use Cisco Silver and Gold Partners
Problems with Cisco
In the very next slide directly below, the FBI presentation stated that the Government's problem is that Cisco Gold/Silver partners are selling counterfeit gear to government and defense contractors. Furthermore, the FBI presentation slide directly below clearly states another problem is that Cisco Brand Protection does NOT coordinate with Cisco's Government Sales.
Problems with Cisco
FBI Contacts
So what has Cisco done about their authorized reseller, the Atec Group Inc. selling counterfeit Cisco? Almost nineteen months after the Network World story, and more than four months after the FBI presentation, the Atec Group Inc. is still an authorized Cisco reseller:
Atec Group Inc. - Cisco Registered Partner
Cisco Partner Locator Tool

Related story: Twenty percent of Cisco WIC cards in Fortune 500 company were counterfeit Do YOU agree with the FBI presentation above that Cisco Gold/Silver Partners are one of the problems with counterfeit Cisco being sold to government and defense contractors? Finally, is Cisco itself creating the financial temptation for their Silver and Gold Partners to deal in counterfeit WICs because profit margins are so low selling Cisco hardware?

Contact Brad Reese

Join the Network World communities on Facebook and LinkedIn to comment on topics that are top of mind.

Copyright © 2008 IDG Communications, Inc.