Lets say the American government is interested in spying on you and, while you’re pretty sure the company you’re getting your IT equipment from is safe, Snowden’s leaks revealed that the NSA could very well intercept your equipment before it reaches you can install bugs on it. What do you do then? Well apparently some of Cisco’s customers have been trying to get around this potential threat by having their products shipped the strange addresses.
One of the most successful U.S. National Security Agency spying programs involved intercepting IT equipment en route to customers and modifying it. At secret workshops, backdoor surveillance tools were inserted into routers, servers and networking equipment before the equipment was repackaged and sent to customers outside the U.S. The program, run by the NSA’s Tailored Access Operations (TAO) group, was revealed by documents leaked by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden and reported by Der Spiegel and Glenn Greenwald. It was one of many revelations about the NSA that caused widespread suspicion that U.S. technology products shouldn’t be trusted, even if companies strenuously denied helping the agency. And it appears some Cisco Systems customers have since taken steps to prevent NSA tampering. The company has shipped equipment to addresses that are unrelated to a customer, said John Stewart, Cisco’s chief security and trust officer, on Wednesday during a panel session at the Cisco Live conference in Melbourne.