Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Cloud Bug Networking Technology

Cisco's Cloud Vision: Mandatory, and Killed At Their Discretion 307

Posted by samzenpus
from the good-idea-bad-idea dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Last week, a number of Cisco customers began reporting problems with three specific Linksys-branded routers. When owners of the E2700, E3500, are E4500 attempted to log in to their devices, they were asked to login/register using their 'Cisco Connect Cloud' account information. The story that's emerged from this unexpected "upgrade" is a perfect example of how buzzword fixation can lead to extremely poor decisions."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Cisco's Cloud Vision: Mandatory, and Killed At Their Discretion

Comments Filter:
  • Voting with wallet (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 02, 2012 @02:22PM (#40520049)

    Will never buy from again...

    • Well, as long as you buy from the remaining duopoly of router manufacturers.

      • by MightyMartian (840721) on Monday July 02, 2012 @02:33PM (#40520221) Journal

        That's why I build my own from a very basic Debian install. Since most of the routers out there are just embedded Linux boxes using iptables, why would I pay for what I can build for free. If I'm looking for high capacity stuff like Cisco's real offerings, I doubt I'll be running up against his problem anyways.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Coward

          (100 watts) * 1 year = 876.581277 kilowatt hours

          Not free. Look for the routers that can run an open source platform out of the box.

          • by vlm (69642) on Monday July 02, 2012 @02:49PM (#40520427)

            What kind of box would run 100 watts as a router, no routers use zero watts, so you need a delta between the router and the PC, and 6 months out of the year I'm paying to heat anyway, so 100 watts of electricity merely means the equivalent of 100 watts less of natgas. If you go laptop I can't even find a laptop power supply that can draw 100 watts.

            Also that ridiculous 100 watts would cost me about $5/month. Well worth the staggering expense to avoid Cisco.

            • by rhook (943951)

              ThinkPad W Series power adapters can pull 170watts.

              http://support.lenovo.com/en_US/product-and-parts/detail.page?&LegacyDocID=MIGR-76762 [lenovo.com]

              • by vlm (69642)

                Yikes those watts are all going into heat, so programming with that on your lap must be very much like pushing a space heater onto your thighs. Ouch.

                • by h4rr4r (612664)

                  It is to run the laptop full tilt and charge a 100% depleted battery all at the same time. It will likely never see that use.

                  • by Grishnakh (216268)

                    It likely will, but for most users only for brief durations and infrequently. However, people do run their battery down from time to time, and then plug it in and start doing something computationally intensive, so the power supply has to be able to handle that.

                • The W Series is more of a man-portable-desktop/monitor combination than a laptop.

                  Of course, if the W Series is just too wimpy for you, there is always the Eurocom Panther 3.0, available with 6-core Xeon processor and SLI or Crossfire dual GPU configuration... Having to use two 300watt power bricks for maximum performance is heavy; but surely you want the best?
            • by jimicus (737525)

              I don't know what part of the world you're in, but in mine 100 watts worth of heat from a gas-fired boiler costs a lot less than 100 watts worth of heat from electricity.

            • by gman003 (1693318) on Monday July 02, 2012 @03:11PM (#40520691)

              I just got* an Asus G75. Power supply is 150W. And yes, it has some crazy-sized fans to keep itself cool.

              * Well, got, and then had to send back in for repair after only three hours, and now I've been waiting for weeks just to get an ETA. Long story short, fuck Asus, I'm never buying from them again.

              • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

                by Anonymous Coward

                Not that it will matter, but here's a contrary anecdote about Asus. I purchased a refurb M70 from Newegg, wiped the OS, and used it for ~6 months before something started preventing boot. Probably bad ram, maybe a faulty mobo, don't know. I sent it to Asus' processing facility 900+ mi. away, and received the system back 4 or 5 days later with a brand new motherboard. They also replaced my screen because apparently it had a broken pixel or something I never noticed.

            • by hawguy (1600213)

              Also that ridiculous 100 watts would cost me about $5/month. Well worth the staggering expense to avoid Cisco.

              Few people live where electricity is that cheap. $5/month to run a 100 watt load means you're paying $5.00 / (0.1KW * 30 * 24) = 6.9 cents/KWh.

              In California, I'd pay over twice that, or about $10/month. A year's worth of 100W power costs more than I paid for my Wifi router in the first place.

              (I use a Linksys Wifi router, but I run dd-wrt on it. I use a low-power Atom based system running Ubuntu as my home fileserver / security camera DVR, the whole thing including UPS + Wifi + internet modem uses about 40W

              • by LocalH (28506) on Monday July 02, 2012 @03:59PM (#40521223) Homepage

                Sometimes freedom is not cheap. Would you rather buy a cheap router with this onerous shit, or roll your own, paying a bit more in the process, to end up with a device that you fully control?

          • by SJHillman (1966756) on Monday July 02, 2012 @02:50PM (#40520433)

            My PC-as-a-router draws about 50 watts under load and 40 watts idle, so using your calculation above. Let's assume it's always under load, so that's 438 kwh. My last electric bill was about 11 cents per kwh, which comes to $48/yr to run it or about 13 cents a day. Considering it gives better performance than any dedicated consumer-grade router I've ever used, I'll glad shell out a dime a day for the upgrade. And that doesn't even account for the fact that I can set up my PC-as-a-router to go to sleep while I'm at work and at night, which drops its power usage lower than the dedicated consumer router. In the end, the energy cost increase is negligible as long as you're not using something horribly overpowered.

          • by pak9rabid (1011935) on Monday July 02, 2012 @03:07PM (#40520631)
            They're called embedded [soekris.com] systems [pcengines.ch]. Maybe you've heard of them? Not free, but when you load a Linux distribution tailed for embedded systems (like this [voyage.hk] one) they're MUCH more stable than anything you can buy at any big-box store (even if you're flashing the firmware with something less retarded).
          • by Bert64 (520050)

            Well he never said he was running it on a big power hungry box...

            You can get low power Linux boxes such as the Sheevaplug or OpenRD, which must be pretty comparable to common routers in terms of power usage, while being considerably more capable.

          • by WhiteWolf666 (145211) <(sherwin) (at) (amiran.us)> on Monday July 02, 2012 @04:11PM (#40521367) Homepage Journal

            876.581277 kilowatt hours for your debian router.
            Minus
            150 kilowatt hours for your consumer router

            726 kilowatt hours times $0.11 dollars per kwh = $80 per year as your cost delta.

            If you go with a standard intel atom platform, you can get that unit down to 50 watts, or $48 per year as your total operating cost.

            At slightly hardware cost, you can buy a fanless nano-itx Atom pc that runs at about 13 watts. That's about $12 per YEAR. Make sure you use a USB flash drive as your storage media, for optimal energy usage.

        • by SJHillman (1966756) on Monday July 02, 2012 @02:44PM (#40520365)

          Until May, my router was a repurposed Dell Dimension 2100 with four PCI NICs thrown in it running ClearOS 5. Started having some hardware issues with it, so I built a new rack-mount box with a low-power Athlon II x2 and a small SSD with a quad-port NIC, threw ClearOS 6 on it and off to the races. Runs great and because it's a full PC, it can do a lot more than DD-WRT (my old router with DD-WRT is now just used as a regular WAP). Sure, it's overkill but it gives me a lot to play around with. You can easily pick up an PC for the price of a Linksys router that will do everything that Linksys could and more (at the expense of an extra dollar or two a month in energy costs)

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by vlm (69642)

          That's why I build my own from a very basic Debian install. Since most of the routers out there are just embedded Linux boxes using iptables ...

          ... which are never updated or only updated with security patches when shamed into doing it...

          My debian based firewall is about 15 seconds of "apt-get update apt-get upgrade" away from the most recent security patches.

          why would I pay for what I can build for free

          A 486/50 clocked down to 25 so as to be fanless could run "a couple megs" with no serious bus or CPU issues about a decade ago. Pretty much anything made in the last decade has WAY more than enough "compute power" to be a firewall.

          $100 of electricity instead of router hardware provides 25 wat

          • by MightyMartian (840721) on Monday July 02, 2012 @02:56PM (#40520491) Journal

            My latest builds were three Mini-ITX VIA boards; two are 1ghz VIA Centaurs and one is a 1.2ghz VIA Nano (the latter because I need to run a couple of KVM guests). They're fanless and I'm using 60gb SSD drives, because the idea is not only relatively low power, but no moving parts, as two of them are located about 60 miles away over some pretty nasty roads, so I want to reduce the likelihood of having to go out there to swap out power supplies or drives.

            I did set up a WAN with three Tomato-upgraded Asus routers, and that worked very well, but because I'm running servers, I think they'd be a little under-powered for that purpose.

          • by icebike (68054) * on Monday July 02, 2012 @03:08PM (#40520657)

            You still need a wireless radio.

            I've found the internal wireless NICs have a range equal to the radius of a swung cat.

            This has forced me to get a cheap wifi access point, (or a router that can be told to just run as an access point) and use it for
            its radio only. I run my own DHCPD, DNS, Nat and IPTables, NTP, (etc) in a Linux box, and bridge my network onto a cheap ($25) ap that can do WPA2.

            Since I run it in access point mode, it does nothing but handle wifi authentication and wifi access, it remains rather simple, and I really need only watch for bug fixes to WPA2.

            I've been looking into various Open Router distributions [wikipedia.org] for the radio side of things, but most are overkill for what I do.

      • by icebike (68054) *

        Duopoly?

        There are at least 30 brands listed at Best Buy and New Egg. Some of these may be re-badged, but there are far more than two or three alternatives.

      • by bhcompy (1877290)
        It's not the router, it's the interface, and most of them are different. Personally, I've avoided Linksys ever since they fubar'd wifi on their consumer routers/APs
      • Well, as long as you buy from the remaining duopoly of router manufacturers.

        Maybe in Ruritania where you live, but here in Australia we have one to two dozen to choose from. I have a Draytek Vigor (fabulous gear) with an uptime of "since I first plugged it in several years ago". My Cisco-branded Linksys (free from my ISP) in contrast needs rebooting roughly every 1-2 weeks to restore functionality, and it fails in bizarre ways with random bits of functionality locking up while other aspects keep working. There's also my Cisco-branded PAP2 (ditto) which needs rebooting about once

  • by dkleinsc (563838) on Monday July 02, 2012 @02:28PM (#40520127) Homepage

    After all, with outside-the-box thinking, we can proactively re-prioritize synergies to get cloud-based enterprise solutions that go viral in mobile social media.

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Don't you worry about Planet Express, let me worry about Blank.

    • And if you prefer engineering buzzwords, there's always this [youtube.com].

    • After all, with outside-the-box thinking, we can proactively re-prioritize synergies to get cloud-based enterprise solutions that go viral in mobile social media.

      Bingo, sir!

  • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Monday July 02, 2012 @02:30PM (#40520161) Journal
    I'm pretty sure that this wasn't a case of mere stupidity, brought on by poor, poor, management's exposure to too many buzzwords. This is a straightforward control grab, an overt attempt to turn a low-margin hardware sale into an ongoing data harvesting and customer lock-in opportunity. The putrid buzzwords and condescending infographics are just the cover.

    It looks like this would be a very good time for owners of cisco-branded routers to start hitting the OpenWRT, assuming that Cisco hasn't also locked-down or VXworks-ed all of the linksys routers by this time...
    • by Penguinisto (415985) on Monday July 02, 2012 @02:40PM (#40520303) Journal

      Sadly, most folks won't even know about it (or they will have had it sold to them as a good thing(TM, pat.pending). )

      This means that most folks will happily continue buying the stupid things as if nothing at all is wrong with doing so. Your only hope os to persuade otherwise, word-of-mouth.

      Of course, if you spread this news on enough pr0n sites ("Cisco collects all your browsing information!"), I'm willing to bet that Cisco would likely have their small routers division go bankrupt almost overnight...

  • by ad454 (325846) on Monday July 02, 2012 @02:32PM (#40520211)

    ... my FaceBook router. (Hopefully a FaceBook branded Cisco device.)

    Why wouldn't I want FaceBook to intercept all of my Internet traffic? It would allow FaceBook to provide better services and targeted ads just for me. This would be the best solution, until I get that FaceBook brain implant installed.

  • by cpu6502 (1960974) on Monday July 02, 2012 @02:34PM (#40520251)

    "The Terms and Conditions of using the Cisco Connect Cloud state that Cisco may unilaterally shut down your account if finds that you have used the service for 'obscene, pornographic, or offensive purposes, to infringe anotherâ(TM)s rights, including but not limited to any intellectual property rights, or⦠to violate, or encourage any conduct that would violate any applicable law or regulation or give rise to civil or criminal liability.'" ---- So basically they'll be watching what we do, and if they don't like it, then they turn-off your Cisco account. Time to add Cisco to my ever-growing list of bad companies:
    - Cisco
    - Microsoft
    - GM
    - Ford
    - Toyota
    - et cetera

    • by cpu6502 (1960974) on Monday July 02, 2012 @02:42PM (#40520325)

      Wow:

      "IIn some cases, in order to provide an optimal experience on your home network, some updates may still be automatically applied, regardless of the auto-update setting." --- So Cisco will install some updates even when you specifically say no updates. I hope Microsoft or Google doesn't see this, and start updating Windows or Chrome w/o my permission.

      • by msauve (701917) on Monday July 02, 2012 @03:02PM (#40520545)
        I hope the US DoJ does see it (they might even prosecute [cnn.com]).

        "Whoever...knowingly causes the transmission of a program, information, code, or command, and as a result of such conduct, intentionally causes damage without authorization, to a protected computer...the term 'damage' means any impairment to the integrity or availability of data, a program, a system, or information;..shall be punished..." - 18 USC 1030 (a "protected computer" includes any involved in interstate commerce - ever used eBay or Amazon?)

        Before someone says that users somehow agreed to upgrades, think again. User buys AP/router which has auto-upgrade on by default. Plugs it in and uses it. Upgrade gets automatically applied without authorization, impairing the availability of the system (the article describes how features are removed). Cisco is in criminal violation of federal law.

        The described tracking of browsing behavior is another crime - a violation of the ECPA.
      • ...some updates may still be automatically applied, regardless of the auto-update setting.

        Which means they're monitoring your router no matter the local settings.

        • by green1 (322787)

          I guess you now need to put a firewall in front of your router.... (or buy a more consumer friendly device)

          Of course maybe I'm just seeing this from a skewed perspective in my part of the world, but I suspect that the market for stand alone consumer grade routers has probably plummeted recently. All consumer internet packages from any of the major carriers include a "gateway" device instead of a simple modem, these include firewall, NAT, and wired and wireless routing. This means the only people who still h

          • All consumer internet packages from any of the major carriers include a "gateway" device instead of a simple modem...

            I'm a CS professional and only a minor geek, but I purchased not only my own router but cable modem rather than renting or obtaining one "free" from my ISP (Cox). I recommend this approach to friends that ask - and help them with setup if asked. I also don't (and won't) do wireless here at home and have wired my own coax and CAT5 to the TV and to each bedroom - though I only have one TV in the house, I have multiple computers w/Windows, Ubuntu and MythTV....

      • by BronsCon (927697)
        You were going for +5, Funny, right?
    • by cusco (717999)
      So now that their router is considered to be part of the Cisco Cloud, if I use it to browse porn they have the right to disconnect me? Are you sure Cisco isn't based in Salt Lake City, rather than California?
    • I'm curious. The worst thing they do is phone me up and ask when I would like to book my car in for servicing.
      • by vlm (69642) on Monday July 02, 2012 @03:09PM (#40520677)

        I'm curious. The worst thing they do is phone me up and ask when I would like to book my car in for servicing.

        My guess was a couple years ago there was that big scandal where everyone who got themselves into a car crash claimed the car accelerated all on its own, because on TV the night before they saw someone get away with the same story. Once the TV newsies tired of the stories, the "incidents" stopped happening.

    • Wow... Simply wow... If I understand correctly, then Cisco can now decide what you (as a normal user) can access or not with your Cisco/Cisco powered router?
      • by tomhath (637240)
        Not quite. They kick you off the Cisco Cloud, which appears to mean they will also turn off some of the "advanced" features in your router. You'll still have a router, but not necessarily what you thought you would have when you paid for it...
  • by h2okies (1203490) on Monday July 02, 2012 @02:39PM (#40520291)
    Count on it...then you don't 'Own' the router you merely pay a fee for the hardware but it wont do much until it connects to the internet to get the latest version of the software. And if you somehow get a 3rd party software to run on it they could then start DMCA proceedings against you. They won't provide services or updates unless you allow to remain connected to the internet. They will absolutely monetize your routing history
    • by h2okies (1203490)
      Oh I completely forgot the most important issue:

      The local FBI, Police, NSA, ....IA,...AA ...will now subpena Cisco for your routing history to convict you of crimes....

      • by PRMan (959735)
        Instead of your ISP, which will gladly roll over and give it to them...
        • by SQLGuru (980662)

          Except where the ISP has joined the group that only keeps 2 weeks of history........Cisco will have more because it's all marketing data.

  • EA, not E (Score:4, Informative)

    by PianoComp81 (589011) on Monday July 02, 2012 @02:41PM (#40520315)
    The version numbers are the EA-prefixed ones, not the solely E-prefixed ones.
  • by PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) on Monday July 02, 2012 @02:46PM (#40520383)

    Cisco's Vice President and General Manager of Home Networking, Brett Wingo said, "Cisco Connect Cloud was delivered only to consumers who opted into automatic updates. However, we apologize that the opt-out process for Cisco Connect Cloud and automatic updates was not more clear in this product release, and we are developing an updated version that will improve this process."

    OK, so if I don't buy a Cisco router, do you consider that opting out . . . ?

  • by meta-monkey (321000) on Monday July 02, 2012 @02:53PM (#40520467) Journal
    And why do they want to collect data? To push more ads at you. Another poster joked about a "Facebook router," that would push ads at you, and there's another story on the /. front page about Google, and their business model of providing search...so they can push ads at you.

    I'm not a knee-jerk "if you're in advertising you should kill yourself!" reactionary, but damn...how is that that the bleeding edge of technology and innovation today, some of the most valuable companies in the world like Google and Facebook...they're not sending men to mars to building flying cars. The best and the brightest and "most innovative" go to work...figuring out better and better ways to sell advertising. It's kind of depressing.
    • by cusco (717999)
      Selling advertising, or manipulating the stock and bond markets. WTF happened, that the ability to construct a probe that can visit another planet is seen as geeky and boring, while selling trinkets to people who already have a storage unit full of useless crap or scraping an extra 0.002 percent off a trade is somehow innovative and exciting?

      Maybe I should just give up on the whole country and retire to Peru.
    • Why do everybody assumes that spying is about ads? Is your atention the only valuable thing you have on your mind?

  • "Upgrade" (Score:5, Informative)

    by Local ID10T (790134) <ID10T.L.USER@gmail.com> on Monday July 02, 2012 @02:57PM (#40520495) Homepage

    This "upgrade" that they performed for me last Tuesday, prompted me to perform an upgrade myself -I installed DD-WRT on my router.

  • Well Cisco (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Sycraft-fu (314770) on Monday July 02, 2012 @03:06PM (#40520625)

    I'd like to thank you for making my next router decision easier. This time around, I had to consider a number of options, your E4200 one of them. In the end, I chose to get it. The combo of simplicity, high speed, and generally low cost made it a winner rather than trying to hack together my own or something like that.

    However next time around, you are out of the running. I won't look at your products as this kind of setup is completely unacceptable to me.

    So thanks for making my choices simpler. Less options can actually be much easier.

  • End run. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anachragnome (1008495) on Monday July 02, 2012 @03:11PM (#40520695)

    "This is nothing but a shameless attempt to cash in on the popularity of cloud computing, and it comes at a price. The Terms and Conditions of using the Cisco Connect Cloud state that Cisco may unilaterally shut down your account if finds that you have used the service for "obscene, pornographic, or offensive purposes, to infringe another's rights, including but not limited to any intellectual property rights, or... to violate, or encourage any conduct that would violate any applicable law or regulation or give rise to civil or criminal liability.""

    This is an end run by the RIAA/MPAA, with the participation of CISCO, to bring anti-piracy measures to your router. Your own router can/will now be used against you to collect evidence of infringement (and who knows what else), as well as giving CISCO full rights of enforcement. Fuck that.

    In the future, I will be looking carefully for CISCO branding on products, the sole intention being that of avoidance--CISCO will not be getting any money from me again...ever.

  • Is it time to urge retailers to stop selling a router that spys on you?

  • by time961 (618278) on Monday July 02, 2012 @05:57PM (#40522297)
    I mean, what a great opportunity for malware distribution, sabotage, spying, etc... Just connect to every "Linksys" router you can find and "upgrade" its firmware yourself! (change them all to DD-WRT, maybe?).

    Since experience tells us that mechanisms like this are rarely, if ever, properly secured, this seems like a major security catastrophe in addition to a privacy debacle. Even if sound cryptography and digital signatures are employed to make sure the updates are valid, there may be implementation flaws in the routers, vulnerabilities in Cisco's upgrade servers, key leakage, bad protocol design, etc.

    Wow.
  • by J'raxis (248192) on Monday July 02, 2012 @07:07PM (#40522733) Homepage

    Just flashed the last of my routers with dd-wrt today. Will be doing the same with the handful of routers I maintain for others over the next few days. Goodbye, Cisco crap.

    Cisco is now on my permanent boycott list, right alongside Belkin [slashdot.org].

Genius is ten percent inspiration and fifty percent capital gains.

Working...