The U.S. FBI (Federal Bureau of
Investigation) is trying to eliminate counterfeit Cisco hardware from U.S.
government networks. Cisco pioneered the development of the hardware (routers
and such) that make the Internet work, currently has a 60 percent market share,
and is the preferred supplier for many government organizations. Such
popularity attracts counterfeiters, and most of the companies that make fake
Cisco hardware are in China. This is what worries the FBI. That, and the fact
that ten percent of the Cisco hardware bought by the U.S. government recently
was found to be counterfeits, built in China.
fear has always been that China would replace some chips in this fake Cisco
gear, with components that would give Chinese Cyber War operators an edge in
any future Internet based conflict. So far, the FBI has found no modified (for
Cyber War purposes) electronic components in any of the counterfeit items, just
cheap, sometimes substandard, parts. That, in itself, is pretty bad. Without
even trying (other than making no effort to shut down the illegal Cisco gear),
the Chinese have inflicted considerable damage on the Internet infrastructure
of the U.S. government. The counterfeit Cisco gear is more prone to erratic
operation, or complete failure.