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Last Updated: Monday, 1 August 2005, 09:46 GMT 10:46 UK
Cisco struggles to plug net leak
Network hardware, BBC
Hackers are following up the talk about networking flaws
Efforts to stop information spreading about flaws in the hardware that keeps the net running appear to be failing.

Last week net giant Cisco and security firm ISS moved to stop researcher Michael Lynn talking about bugs in routers at a hacker conference.

Legal action won a pledge from Mr Lynn never to talk about what he knew.

However, copies of his talk have been made widely available online and hackers are said to be working hard to exploit the bug that he exposed.

Damage limitation

Mr Lynn gave his talk about bugs in Cisco routers at the Blackhat Briefings conference held on 27 July in Las Vegas, though he had to resign from his job at ISS to do so.

Commenting on the resignation, Mr Lynn said it was better that the information was in the public domain.

As well as taking legal action, Cisco had copies of the talk removed from conference proceedings and replaced the original CDs with versions missing the slides Mr Lynn was due to use. Recordings of Mr Lynn's talk were also surrendered.

However, popular weblogs now list more than 10 separate sites that have mirrored the presentation that Mr Lynn gave.

At the same time, news agency Reuters reports that hackers are working hard to exploit the flaws that Mr Lynn detailed.

They have apparently been stung into action by attempts to stop the information getting out.

Security firm ISS is making further attempts to limit the spreading of information.

In one case, security consultant and commentator Richard Forno replaced a copy of Mr Lynn's presentation with a cease-and-desist letter he received from lawyers representing ISS.

Software patches

Cisco is the world's largest maker of equipment used to connect computers and power the internet.

The bug that Mr Lynn talked about was patched in April but Cisco has this week released another patch for the IOS software that controls its routers.

This reportedly credits Mr Lynn with discovering the loophole it is closing.

Supporters have also set up a fund to gather money via Paypal to put towards Mr Lynn's legal costs.

Any unused cash will be donated to the Electronic Frontier Foundation.

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