Cisco takes steps to avoid NSA tampering

One of the world’s leading manufacturers of networking equipment is taking steps to prevent the National Security Agency (NSA) from tampering with its devices.

Cisco has shipped equipment to addresses that are not related to its customers in order to prevent intercepts by the agency, the company’s chief security and trust officer John Stewart told a conference in Melbourne this week.

The practice underscores companies’ fears that the NSA will manipulate their products to enable surveillance.

Former agency contractor Edward Snowden revealed the NSA has at times intercepted technological devices en route to customers and installed backdoor surveillance tools.

Still, though most customers don’t need to worry about being targeted, some of the risk is out of Cisco’s hands, Stewart suggested.

"If a truly dedicated team is coming after you, and they're coming after you for a very long period of time, then the probability of them succeeding at least once does go up," he said, according to IDG News Service.

"And its because they've got patience, they've got capacity and more often than not, they've got capability."

The NSA’s Tailored Access Operations group runs the device-interception program, the documents leaked by Snowden indicate.