Cisco has been losing government contracts lately over concern that US spooks were intercepting shipments and installing spyware in their routers. It should therefore be happy to know that the UK government has just given the networking company official clearance to stick its products onto blighty networks.
Cisco’s products have been officially certified as secure by the GCHQ's information security arm, the Communications & Electronics Security Group (CESG). This includes IPsec security gateway products in Cisco's ASA v9.1 family – hardware models 5505, 5510, 5520, 5540, 5550, 5580, 5512-X, 5515-X, 5525-X, 5545-X, 5555-X, and 5585-X. It does not cover top secret communications, but it does cover most government data.
Cisco product certification engineer Clint Winebrenner said that the award is the first VPN product capable of supporting both the CESG interim and PRIME cipher suites and means that public sector customers to take advantage of the latest cryptographic algorithms.
It is a moot point if the UK has nothing to fear from US snoops. While GCHQ has been working alongside their US counterparts, the Americans have proven that they are fans of spying on allies too.