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Cisco, US DOJ Fire Another Salvo At Peter Adekeye 94

Posted by Soulskill
from the when-in-doubt-double-down dept.
theodp writes "Citing the widespread practice of sharing passwords for expediency's sake, Cisco's Chief Security Officer proclaimed in 2007 that people 'need to be held accountable for their risk-taking,' noting that CEO John Chambers drives home the point that 'information security is everybody's responsibility' at Cisco. But instead of accepting responsibility after a Cisco employee provided his ID and password to ex-Cisco engineer Peter Alfred-Adekeye, the networking giant sic'ed the Feds on Adekeye, who was slapped with a five-count indictment by a Federal grand jury last week. Adekeye's crime, according to the Court filing, was using the login credentials the Cisco employee provided him with 'in excess of the specific use granted by the Cisco employee.' For his five downloads of different versions of Cisco IOS — four of which were launched within a 15-minute period in 2006 — the government is seeking a penalty of 5 years imprisonment for Adekeye, a $250K fine, and 3 years supervised release. It's the latest salvo fired in the war Cisco and US prosecutors have waged against Adekeye since he filed an antitrust suit against Cisco in December 2008."
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Cisco, US DOJ Fire Another Salvo At Peter Adekeye

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  • With all the recent layoffs [informationweek.com] that Cisco has had recently, you'd think they'd find a better way to continue to save money rather than axing employees and then taking the saved salaries and redirecting it to the lawyers.

    • Actually, they're planning on shipping most of the remaining jobs overseas. While simultaneously leading the lobbying charge to lower corporate tax rates.
      • by slick7 (1703596)

        Actually, they're planning on shipping most of the remaining jobs overseas. While simultaneously leading the lobbying charge to lower corporate tax rates.

        Nobody held Wall street accountable, nobody holds Congress accountable, surely, no one will hold the banksters accountable, corporate america will not be held accountable, only the American people will be held accountable and they will pay the price while the fat cat bastards take the money and run.

    • by erroneus (253617) on Monday August 08, 2011 @02:00PM (#37024924) Homepage

      That's logic and reasoning. We'll have none of that and neither will Cisco.

      It is plain for all who have been following this story that "Cisco" (or more likely, one or a few people within Cisco) really have it in for this guy who is an ex-employee (with much inside knowledge) and has sued the company for its actions and policies.

      When the employee [who in my opinion, effectively represents the company] gave credentials to Adekeye for the purpose of access to download "whatever" then that is not unauthorized access. I find it easy to believe a grand jury delivered an indictment, however -- they are just juries and the prosecution always does its level best to pick the least brilliant people they can find to parrot the prosecution's position.

      Also, I don't believe Adekeye will be stupid enough to enter the US after all the crap he has gone through so far because of Cisco. And even if he did come to the US to win his case and his defense, no one at Cisco will be held accountable for this ridiculous set of charges and no one at the DoJ will be either. It's beyond ridiculous and yet they are persuing this with a completely straight face.

      • by Zcar (756484)

        I find it easy to believe a grand jury delivered an indictment, however -- they are just juries and the prosecution always does its level best to pick the least brilliant people they can find to parrot the prosecution's position.

        It's also worth noting the difference between a Grand Jury and a Petit (Trial) Jury. A Grand Jury only hears the prosecutors side and only decides if there's enough evidence to proceed with a trial. It's not until a defendant is before the Petit Jury that he can offer evidence or attack the prosecution's evidence.

        • in a case like this will agree with user erroneous IMHO.

          its sort of like the Drake case. the government is full of shit, but its really heavy sounding shit that makes you think Adekeye did something horrible.

          then when you dig into the details, you find out, well, the government was just full of shit. and all of that heavy sounding tone was just some DOJ moron grandstanding and doing bullshit PR work to try to influence media coverage of the case.

        • Along with that grand juries do not have to reach a unanimous decision. At the federal level [wikipedia.org] grand juries must have between 16 and 23 members. It only takes 12 to issue an indictment.

          Also, grand juries are not screened for bias. The prosecutor does not have an opportunity to "pick the least brilliant people they can find".
      • It's beyond ridiculous and yet they are persuing this with a completely straight face.

        Think about it from a different perspective- Among the people I know, Cisco is believed to be near the bottom of the list when it comes to ethical business practices, in spite of their loud proclamations otherwise. Assuming this to be the case, the same management team that perpetuates this culture is sure to apply the same kind of ethics as they make an example of Adekeye, to discourage others from exposing their behavior as he did. From their point of view, it's probably money well invested- and besides

    • Actually, as far as I understand it, the civil trial between them has been over for a while now (unless Adakeye decides to sue Cisco for their abusive behavior while he was in Canada, but Cisco has no control over that). I'm pretty sure that this is all just a criminal case which means that the U.S. government gets to foot the bill for it.

    • by jimpop (27817) *

      It's the lawyers who are making these decisions. If you get rid of all the lawyers, these types of abuses go away, and the business can get back to doing what they do best.

      • by tehcyder (746570)

        It's the lawyers who are making these decisions. If you get rid of all the lawyers, these types of abuses go away, and the business can get back to doing what they do best.

        And what businesses do best in the absence of law and lawyers is screw customers, wreck the environment, and exploit their workforce.

  • use Cisco, go to jail.

    At least that's what I'll remember of this story.
    • I think a better analogy is "The Monkees are like the mafia. You're in for life. Nobody gets out".

      Followed by: "You wanna fuck with me? Okay. You wanna play rough? Okay. Say hello to my little friend!" with a side of "If you can’t win by fighting fair, fight foul. Or have a third party do your fighting."

      Probably the best explanation of this incident: "Ours is a government of checks and balances. The Mafia and crooked businessmen make out checks, and the politicians and other compromised officials impr

  • For his five downloads of different versions of Cisco IOS â" four of which were launched within a 15-minute period in 2006 â" the government is seeking a penalty of 5 years imprisonment for Adekeye, a $250K fine, and 3 years supervised release.

    So, an actual Cisco employee gave him his credentials, he logged into pull down the stuff he needed (and fairly quickly from the looks of it) and someone thinks that's worth 5 years in jail?

    Charge the Cisco employee who gave him the password ... from the sou

    • behold the stupidity that is the federal computer law

    • by drolli (522659)

      If i trick (not saying it was the case here) an employee into giving me access to something then its still me who commits the crime.

    • by Darinbob (1142669)

      He's set up a competing consulting business, which is why Cisco hates him. He did not grab these versions because Cisco allowed him too and this was clearly unauthorized access (getting a key from an employee doesn't grant authorization to take whatever you want). So Adekeye seems in the wrong. But the Feds seems to be going nuts here and treating a minor infraction into a major felony. Some people at DOJ are clearly on Cisco's payroll.

      • Last I checked, any CCIE or similarly qualified professional can access IOS images. I haven't seen anything about him downloading any file that is private / confidential to Cisco. These are files that they publish to use with their equipment, which is actually the heart of his anti-trust lawsuit.

        • Bleh, I just re-read my comment and let me clarify.

          The heart of his lawsuit is that you need to be one of these professionals or have a contract with them for access to the IOS images. And as someone who uses Cisco equipment, it is far from uncommon for a username / password to be issued on a per case basis to allow you to access a software image that can be tried to see if it solves your issue.

    • Yea, one of the things that the Canadian judge pointed to as being so absurd about the whole thing is their insistence on calling what any rational person would consider one offense (if it even qualifies as an offense at all) multiple separate offenses because accomplishing the "crime" took multiple attempts. It would be like charging someone with a separate count of breaking and entering for each, individual, swing of the axe it took to break the door down.

  • by decora (1710862) on Monday August 08, 2011 @01:58PM (#37024900) Journal

    this is the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, which basically makes it a Federal Crime to 'do anything we dont like, with a computer'.

    it is overly broad and probably unconstitutional.

    that is, if someone would challenge it's constitutionality in court.

    if you dont know about the Thomas Drake case, google it

    same for the specific counts against Manning (i.e. the 'collateral murder' video, well, they are trying to get him on the exact same paragraph here, 18 usc 1030 a 2)

    • this is the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, which basically makes it a Federal Crime to 'do anything we dont like, with a computer'.

      Fair enough, but there is no way anyone can say Cisco is being hypocritical and "not taking responsibility" for the leak, when anyone who works security will say authentication credentials have to be secure or no matter what system is used. That's the purpose of credentials, after all; to allow access.

      • has been told by their boss "oh just use my password... we applied to get you access 4 weeks ago but they still havent gotten back to us. and its off hours so nobody is there who can do it. and this has to be out by tonight"

        and they dont get 5 years in prison for it

    • The Computer Fraud and Abuse Act is just the tip of the iceberg for Manning. Unlike this guy, Manning has about 22 other charges against him, most of which pertain to violations of national security by someone in the military and/or holding a security clearance. The most serious one is "aiding the enemy" which that alone can get a soldier the death penalty.

      The CFAA is just one of my tools they're using against Manning (assuming you are correct that it's a charge in his case). The prosecution could "quite ma

      • there are a large number of counts against him that are CFAA, or the military equivalent (my favorite: "using a computer for other than its intended purpose")

        imho, the CFAA charges against manning are not the tip of the iceberg - they are the iceberg.

        Aiding the Enemy is the shiny barber pole sticking in the top of the iceberg, that everybody notices. Those other charges are there for bullshit reasons, one of which is apparently to set a precedent where nobody is allowed to blog about taking a shit without b

  • Read related links (Score:5, Informative)

    by mariushm (1022195) on Monday August 08, 2011 @01:58PM (#37024902)

    Anyone reading this should also read how Cisco lied and got him arrested in Canada ... there's a link right below the description but I'm posting it again here as well:

    http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20110722/02351315202/how-cisco-justice-department-conspired-to-try-to-destroy-one-mans-life-daring-to-sue-cisco.shtml [techdirt.com]

    http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/news/2011/07/a-pound-of-flesh-how-ciscos-unmitigated-gall-derailed-one-mans-life.ars/1 [arstechnica.com]

    • by eco2geek (582896)

      Having read the Ars Technica story, I'm disturbed and maybe even a little frightened by the DOJ's actions against Mr. Adekeye. They're determined to take away his freedom and his money while acting as the muscle for Cisco's legal department.

      This, along with other recent ridiculous cases, like the trumped-up charges against Aaron Swartz [slashdot.org], have left me wondering, what can a US citizen do to change this situation?

      • by Nadaka (224565)

        You can leave the country. Its getting to the point where the most patriotic thing you can do is find a country that more aptly fits American ideals than the US does.

        • But if you leave the country, they'll just arrest you and bring you back.

          Joking...
          (only sort of)...
          It's really depressing hearing about cases like this.

      • what can a US citizen do to change this situation?

        Join Cisco's legal team - this will change the situation, at least for himself.

      • by tehcyder (746570)

        what can a US citizen do to change this situation?

        Thanks to the Constitution, aren't you legally entitled to shoot all the lawyers and politicians and create paradise on earth?

  • I got to the second page, when I saw they made a claim:

    Cisco's website, www.ciso.com, acted as a gateway to both publicly available information ...

    Did they even bother proof-reading it if they can't get the name of the company's domain name correct? This sort of sloppy work makes me wonder if the lawyers are incompetent, or if this is a joke.

    • by Pieroxy (222434)

      This sort of sloppy work makes me wonder if the lawyers are incompetent, or if this is a joke.

      Both maybe?

  • Seriously, this passed sanity a long time ago, someone has a chip on their shoulder.
    • by Mashiki (184564)

      Everyone at Cisco and the DOJ? They seem to be lining him up for a pretty good ass reaming as it is.

      • Everyone at Cisco and the DOJ? They seem to be lining him up for a pretty good ass reaming as it is.

        By whom? The best you could possibly hope for is a sound written thrashing by a pissed off judge. And if that doesn't work, well, the judge will have to write another letter.

          Oh, that and a few people on the Internet will get upset.

  • Can't he just get a restraining order from a Swiss judge against the two creeps (US, CSCO) stalking him?
  • Who will foot the bill for the DOJ prosecution and his potential incarceration? Not the corporation Cisco since American corporations are expected to receive tax incentives from governments instead of paying any taxes to them. Certainly not the Cisco executives who are in a tax bracket of their own full of loop holes to preserve their imbalanced incomes. No, it will be the average American who will pay since they are alleged to be the main benefactor of imprisoning this individual in a case which should be
  • by Jerry (6400) on Monday August 08, 2011 @11:16PM (#37029414)

    and Cisco's as well, and revealed that the DOJ was nothing less than armed thugs working at Cisco's direction.

    I saw the video of the deposition in Canada. It was in Canada because the US wouldn't let Adekeye into the US. Both the Feds and Cisco knew that Adekeye had applied for permission to enter the US and was denied, but they didn't inform the Canadian police of that, leaving them with the impression that he was a fugitive from Justice. IF he were a fugitive they could have let him in and then captured him at the boarder. But, what they really wanted to do was further soil his reputation unjustly. So, they lied to Canada about his status. While he was being questioned by attorneys at the deposition a Canadian constable, uninformed of the situation, barged in and served a warrant for his arrest, interrupting the legal proceeding, which was itself unprecedented. Attorneys for Adekeye wanted to shut off the cameras, but attorneys for Cisco wanted them to run so they was have video "proof" of Adekeye's "guilt", as if being accused is the same as being guilty.

    The judges ruling was a very strongly worded condemnation of Cisco and the DOJ, accusing them of collusion in the abuse of power. But, in a country where the government now does the bidding of its corporate overlords, the Canadian ruling bears no weight. It only stands as a moral indictment of both our judicial system and the corrupt corporate environment.

To err is human -- to blame it on a computer is even more so.

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