Counterfeit Cisco devices were behind the failure of an IT company’s network switches last fall after a software upgrade, an investigation has found.

Underscoring the security challenges posed by counterfeit hardware, the real-life anecdote prompted the victimized purchaser to commission F-Secure’s hardware security team to perform a thorough analysis of the components.

The company discovered that two versions of Cisco Catalyst 2960-X series switches turned out to be fake and not authentic devices manufactured by Cisco. The counterfeits did not have any backdoor-like functionality, but were designed to fool security controls, F-Secure, said in a report released today.

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