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If you are using Cisco networking gear, be aware that attackers are swapping out valid ROMMON firmware images with malicious versions in order to hijack the devices:

The attackers use valid administrator credentials, an indication the attacks are being carried out either by insiders or people who have otherwise managed to get hold of the highly sensitive passwords required to update and make changes to the Cisco hardware. Short for ROM Monitor, ROMMON is the means for booting Cisco’s IOS operating system. Administrators use it to perform a variety of configuration tasks, including recovering lost passwords, downloading software, or in some cases running the router itself. In an advisory published Wednesday company officials wrote:

“In all cases seen by Cisco, attackers accessed the devices using valid administrative credentials and then used the ROMMON field upgrade process to install a malicious ROMMON. Once the malicious ROMMON was installed and the IOS device was rebooted, the attacker was able to manipulate device behavior. Utilizing a malicious ROMMON provides attackers an additional advantage because infection will persist through a reboot.”

PC World on an almost completed Google-backed project for a 60Tbps undersea cable between Oregon and Japan exponentially increasing networking capacity between the two countries:

The 9,000-kilometer FASTER cable will have a peak capacity of 60 terabytes per second (Tbps) when it enters operation next year, joining Japan with Oregon on the West Coast of the U.S.

Apart from Google, the project is backed by telecom carriers KDDI of Japan, SingTel of Singapore, Global Transit of Malaysia, China Mobile International and China Telecom Global.

At the landing site in Shima, Mie Prefecture, east of Osaka, a machine pulled the cable onto the beach from an offshore cable-laying ship while stacks of armored pipes, which shield the link from anchors near the shore, were piled nearby.

A Shinto ritual was held to pray for the success of the project, which will cost roughly US$300 million. The cable was routed into a landing station building that houses optical equipment.

The FASTER cable will also be connected to existing infrastructure offshore at Chikura, Chiba Prefecture, southeast of Tokyo, next month. With six fiber pairs and 100 wavelengths, it will have a peak capacity 300 million times greater than the TAT-1 transatlantic cable of 1956, which could handle 36 telephone calls, or roughly 200kbps, Google said.

KDDI said it was 3000 times faster than the 20Gbps TPC-5 cable system, which began service in 1995.

Consumers on either side of the Pacific, however, won’t have the option of choosing which of the several undersea cables their data goes through.

It will be interesting to see how this affects internet speeds for the average home and mobile user.

Interop Tokyo 2015
Just a nice quick wide-angle shot of Interop Tokyo 2015 at Makuhari Messe on Friday June 12, the final day of the three-day yearly event. It was a long day of standing at the Intel Security booth but overall a lot of fun.