Arrest made in Cisco source code theft

Police in the U.K. have arrested a man in connection with the theft of source code from networking equipment maker Cisco Systems in May, a Scotland Yard spokeswoman confirmed Friday.

The Metropolitan Police Computer Crime Unit searched residences in Manchester and Darbyshire on Sept. 3., confiscated computer equipment and arrested a 20 year-old man suspected of committing "hacking offenses" under that country's Computer Misuse Act of 1990. While authorities could not discuss the specifics of the case, the arrest was linked to the Cisco source code, according to Julie Prinsep, a Yard spokeswoman.

The suspect has since been released on bail and is scheduled to appear before authorities at a London police station again in November, Prinsep said. Computer equipment seized in the searches is being forensically examined, she said.

In an e-mail statement, a Cisco spokesman said the company is encouraged that an arrest was made in the case.

"As we have previously reported, we are continuing to cooperate with law enforcement agencies on this matter...We view the arrest as what will likely be one of many steps in this matter. We will take every measure to protect our intellectual property," the spokesman said.

The arrest marks a major breakthrough in the case, which involves the posting of more than 800M bytes of source code from Cisco's Internetwork Operating System (IOS) to a Russian Web site in May.

IOS is a proprietary operating system that runs on much of the networking hardware that Cisco makes.

Malicious hackers made off with code for versions 12.3 of IOS after the thief compromised a Sun Microsystems server on Cisco's network, then briefly posted a link to the source code files on a file server belonging to the University of Utrecht in the Netherlands, according to Alexander Antipov, a security expert at Positive Technologies, a security consulting company in Moscow.

Antipov said he downloaded more than 15M bytes of the stolen code after an individual using the online name "Franz" briefly posted a link to a 3M-byte compressed version of the files in a private Internet Relay Chat forum on in May.

The link provided was only available for approximately ten minutes and pointed to a file on an FTP (File Transfer Protocol) server, ftp://ftp.phys.uu.nl, which belongs to the University of Utrecht in the Netherlands. That server is open to the public for hosting files of files smaller than 5M bytes, according to the University's Web page.

Antipov subsequently posted some of that code on a Russian security Web site, www.securitylab.ru, to call attention to the reported theft, but denied knowing Franz.

At the time, Cisco said it was working with the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) to pursue the hackers. The FBI was not able to comment on the arrest Friday.

The arrest in the Cisco theft follows other recent successes in cybercrime cases. In June, the FBI announced arrests in the source code theft for a much-anticipated version of the popular computer game Half-Life from the network of game maker Valve.

In May, German police arrested men in connection with creating the Sasser Internet worm and a Trojan horse program called Agobot. On Sept. 9, prosecutors in Verden, Germany, indicted an 18-year-old student in the Sasser worm case.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Paul Roberts

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Luke Hill

MSI GT75 TITAN

I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Laura Johnston

MSI GS65 Stealth Thin

If you can afford the price tag, it is well worth the money. It out performs any other laptop I have tried for gaming, and the transportable design and incredible display also make it ideal for work.

Andrew Teoh

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

Touch screen visibility and operation was great and easy to navigate. Each menu and sub-menu was in an understandable order and category

Louise Coady

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

The printer was convenient, produced clear and vibrant images and was very easy to use

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?