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NewsForge: Commentary: If Only Cisco Code Had Been Open Source

May 19, 2004, 01:00 (7 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Eric S. Raymond)

"The 15 May 2004 theft and publishing of the source code for Cisco's IOS router firmware could mean a wave of exploits against the critical router infrastructure of the Internet will be on its way. If that happens, it will be because Cisco ignored one of the iron rules of network security--and experts the world over will be muttering 'if only IOS had been open source.'

"The iron rule is Kerckhoffs' Law, which states, 'A cryptosystem should be designed to be secure if everything is known about it except the key information.' Now that the source code of IOS is circulating in the cracker/phreak underground, we're going to find out if IOS followed that rule. If it didn't, we'll find out the hard way..."

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