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back to article Cisco backs down on cloud control of routers

Cisco has completed its climb-down over who gets to control Linksys routers, it or the people who bought them. At the start of this week, Cisco updated the firmware of the Linksys EA4500, EA3500, and EA2700 routers so that they could be fully configured using only its Connect Cloud service rather than via local management …

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Unhappy

Well, that's OK then

... but then again, you never know what you can get away with until you try it.

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Re: Well, that's OK then

They are not the first to try "all your base are belong to us" and I'm sure they will not be the last.

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Re: Well, that's OK then

-- I'm sure they will not be the last

They'll just stop putting out security updates for the non-cloud options so the only 'real' choice you have is to give up your base.

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Re: Well, that's OK then

Give up your base? Or maybe time to get another product from a company that is not doing this to you and make damn sure you tell world+dog about it?

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Re: Well, that's OK then

time to get another product from a company that is not doing this

And your average end user would know this how? That's exactly the problem - Mr Joe Average has neither knowledge nor tools to know they're being intercepted for fun and profit. Cisco merely made the mistake of being too obvious about it, instead of doing it a la Sony whose rootkit took ages to be discovered (and only because they screwed up).

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FAIL

Re: Well, that's OK then

Paul, which begs the question of exactly who you *can* trust. In these days of terms that can be rewritten anywhere, anyplace, and it is up to the user to know. anywhere and anyplace, exactly what the current are without notification of changes, well let's just say that this is a sub-optimal solution to a long preexisting condition. We need to treat the disease. At gunpoint if necessary.

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FAIL

Geez. You cannot trust anyone ...

you HAVE to watch every hi-tech company like a hawk otherwise they will KILL you.

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Re: Geez. You cannot trust anyone ...

you HAVE to watch every hi-tech company like a hawk otherwise they will KILL you.

Seriously, man... it's like it's not even news anymore when they pull this shit. It's like the Windows/IE Security Hole Of The Week.

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Anonymous Coward

I wish someone could/would take them to court over this. This kind of crap just can't be tolerated.

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While I agree with your sentiments, I doubt that there would be any prospect of success.

Cisco have simply been trying it on, as all of them do once they become powerful enough. I wouldn't mind betting that they had the 'climb-down' plan in place when they rolled this out.

The only effective defence against this behaviour is for people to follow up on their annoyance and stop buying/using the products. I think they would fear the financial hit from lost sales more than they fear the financial hit from the courts.

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Meh

Cisco and Facebook, the same but different

Both Cisco and Facebook seem to treat customers with disdain; Cisco changing it's firmware AND imposing conditions without giving a choice and Facebook, who just changes everything, exposes private data all without notification to users.

The difference? At least CISCO apologises and restores the status quo.

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Re: Cisco and Facebook, the same but different

The difference? At least CISCO apologises and restores the status quo.

Well, that's as maybe, but it's still pisses me off that they'd try this shit to begin with.

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Re: Cisco and Facebook, the same but different

At least CISCO apologises and seemingly restores the status quo.

There, fixed that for you. No trust without proof..

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Re: Cisco and Facebook, the same but different

Cisco simply trying this makes me glad I have custom Firmware on my Linksys WRT54G. I wouldnt trust them even with proof.

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lol

Goodwill does matter. Remember when the Cisco name was spoken in reverence and they could command margins everyone else dreamed of? Yes I am old I swear it was true at one time. They used to have long waiting times due to demand and were the only serious game in town at the start of the internet era. Yeah those days are long gone. These days even HP makes better network equipment for the same price.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: lol

"...those days are long gone"

I'm not so sure - Cisco may not be a household name or be the biggest player in the domestic market but they still dominate corporate networks. Many procurements stipulate the use of Cisco network components, making it difficult for other manufacturers to get a foot in the door.

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Anonymous Coward

So when are you resigning?

When are you resigning Mr. Gm of consumer products?

Have any clue about the size of damage you did to cisco brand value?

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Re: So when are you resigning?

When are you resigning Mr. Gm of consumer products?

Have any clue about the size of damage you did to cisco brand value?

Y'know, this would be a reasonable expectation if we were dealing with normal, reasonable people. Problem is, this is a modern-era corporate executive we're dealing with -- that is, a sociopath. As I recall, one of the hallmarks of sociopathic behavior is -- when caught out pulling this kind of shit -- to just brush it off and continue gallumphing ahead as if nothing had happened. People like Mr. GM Of Consumer Products at Cisco know full well the damage they've done but, like your standard-issue sociopath, just plain doesn't give a rat's ass.

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Meh

You know...

...this righteously pissed me off the first time I saw it.

But after reading a BoingBoing thread full of paranoid ranting, hyperbolic, mouth-foaming apoplexy, and general hypocritical attacks on anything made by a corporation, I have to say I started to see Cisco's side of things.

It seems fairly obvious that someone dropped the ball on the boilerplate; rather than try to fine tune it they just 'played it safe' - forgetting that playing it legally safe is cruising for a bruising PR-wise. And once that happened, no matter how they responded they were screwed (see above posts for example).

Angry Mob: "We demand an immediate rollback and apology!"

Cisco: "OK, OK, we're rolling back and we fucked up!"

Angry Mob: "You assholes, how dare you try to suck up to us after what you did! And you even had one of your *public relations* people say it, too! That's ridiculous! How dare you! It's worse than we thought!"

I mean, maybe Cisco really were the devil in this, but the volcanic response from the tech community has pretty much reduced the good guys' credibility to that of the bad guys' (a bit like Lewis Page's environmental reporting: Even if his reporting isn't biased, his utter contempt for anyone who disagrees with his *personal* opinion makes it hard to trust anything he writes. Sorry, Lewis, but I gotta call it like I see it).

Honestly, when you read a thread with people alleging that Cisco is complicit in a plot by Barack Obama to cut off the nation's internet access before the election, and it's entirely possible that they're serious, all hope of any kind of sane resolution has passed.

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Re: You know...

There is no "Cisco's side of things". 'You must go somewhere out in the internet to use the thing sitting _right the f*ck over there_" is stupid on just about every level there is. And "people got worked up about this, so I will think Cisco is somewhat justified" is stupid. I don't care how frothing some guy gets, that doesn't then retroactively mean Cisco's actions are in any way okay. If someone shoots your mother in the face, the fact your father wants to murder all the shooter's relatives and the relatives of anyone the shooter has ever met doesn't then mean the original shooting was sorta justified. the action was unjust (and so stupid as to make one wonder if Cisco isn't being run by congenitally defective cocker spaniels) - no amount of frothing can cause space-time to bend enough to make the original action achieve a glow of righteousness.

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Re: You know...

"Honestly, when you read a thread with people alleging that Cisco is complicit in a plot by Barack Obama to cut off the nation's internet access before the election, and it's entirely possible that they're serious, all hope of any kind of sane resolution has passed."

David that's a serrate issue. I understand what you mean but the people that said that are looking for any thing to blame Barack for. They blame him for breathing.

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Why do they buy cisco?

You must understand the people using cisco consumer products are paying extra money and ignoring way cheaper (sometimes better) Chinese products just because they have cisco brand. They want to make sure no red army "rooting" accidents happen.

It is all about knowing your customer and trying to understand their feelings which cisco lacks.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: You know... @Phalamir

"...the fact your father wants to murder all the shooter's relatives and the relatives of anyone the shooter has ever met doesn't then mean the original shooting was sorta justified."

You have a point, but the analogy is flawed. The issue isn't as simple as a clear-cut case of one-time, permanently and infinitely damaging harm.

The problem comes when the nature of the crime itself - and even, possibly, its existence - is in question. In the case of Cisco, accidental or lawyers-did-it-without-corporate-checking-it insertion of boilerplate "we'll disconnect you if..." language, combined with just-a-bad-decision "you have to sign up for this" would make the crime more like "I accidentally knocked your mom over in the street and got mud all over her" and less "I gunned her down in cold blood because I wanted her money".

That wouldn't make them blameless, but stupid carelessness wouldn't justify calls for a retaliatory shot in the forehead.

The problem, then, comes in determining what the real situation is. And in this case, there isn't a mom whose body you can find, so there isn't any physical evidence. All you have is knowing what was in the boilerplate, knowing what the signup requirements were - and knowing that the criminal responded by either helping your mom to her feet and paying for dry cleaning, or resurrected her (the analogy gets rather strange here...).

So you don't know for sure whether there was a brutal murder or a stupid mistake, and now people are using the criminal's resulting attempt to make good as *further* proof of it being murder rather than anything else! Damned if you do, damned if you don't.

Why does the anger of the crowd count? Because it's no more valuable than the wisdom of the crowd. And based on the physical evidence, there isn't enough to convict. Shrieking, angry mobs make it impossible to determine the truth of the situation, and given that, I'm forced to give the benefit of the doubt to the accused - whether it's Cisco or some tiny no-name. Maybe it's inaccurate, but assuming a company is bad because it's big is no better than refusing to condemn them for the same reason.

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Anonymous Coward

Read the Fine Print

Cisco can change the rules at their whim in the future, without bothering to tell you.

So, a few months from now they just change the text back to its original nasty form, after you irrevocably bought the kit.... that first dirty Paris pix generated from the phishing email all your blokes got will autodestruct your company's Cisco routers, causing said company to go bust. So, update your CV now, for tomorrow you will need it.

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It's too late..

.. seriously, how do you know that your router is not secretly monitoring you anyway? sure we can sniff packets within our network but the serial interface? the only way to do that is to grab packets going to the upstream but not from within the router itself.

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Happy

Exploit Customers FIRST. Deny/PR-Spin Only When Complaints Exceed Projections

News of Cisco's despicable horse-dump on paying customers came just in time, for me: This week, I was shopping for a high-end router, at one of the local outlets of a well-liked, price-matching, national computer-store chain. Before my visit, I was so angry at Cisco that I did not even bother to read the specs of their models.

After passing on the news to him, I informed one of the store managers that all Cisco/Linksys products were now garbage to me, due to the company's Fecesbook-ish betrayal.

It is rare that one is able so quickly to put his money where his mouth is.

I hope that the rest of you will follow suit.

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Re: Exploit Customers FIRST. Deny/PR-Spin Only When Complaints Exceed Projections

It should be more like " 1.) Exploit Customers 2.) ? 3.)PROFIT" and I think thats what Cisco didnt figure on that the Question Mark would be, "Customers find out and get righteously pissed off".

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Alert

translation...?

"The Cisco Connect Cloud service has never monitored customers’ internet usage, nor was it designed to do so, and we will clarify this in an update to the terms of service,"

The Cisco Connect Cloud service monitored customers' internet usage until they were caught; it was designed to do so, and we will give ourselves the right to try it again with a densely-written, overly verbose update buried deep in the terms of service.

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Anonymous Coward

Rent-a-router!

Nuff said!

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FAIL

Nice fuckup!

Now I don't trust Cisco anymore. They have lost a customer. Maybe more than one, since I am a consultant.

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Go

Good. Now...

Ok, this is good. Now, let's see Microsoft follow suit and back off on UEFI Secure Boot.

Unless they do, I demand the death penalty for every last Microsoft employee.

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If they were taking internet data, which they said they didnt, that would be extremely bad. There are many ISPs out there that already do the same thing.

i dont agree that they should ever shut you out of local administration of these device. However do realize that these are not products designed for businesses. These are home routers, where most non-tech savvy people would probably prefer to log into some website that looks like fluffy clouds. Plus if they need tech support, there is no need for someone to ask them did you do this or that.

Cisco does not make money by advertising or selling user information, they make money by selling hardware and services. i doubt that they had some insidious plan to roll out this cloud service. Most likely it was some disconnected Exec that thought they could save a bunch of money on tech support like this, and that everyone would think that it was roses. i dont think that we need to put on our tin foil hats just yet.

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