Cisco patents network-scanning counterfeit detector

Cisco signTechnology giant Cisco has been awarded a US patent for a system that can be used to automatically identify when counterfeit or diverted equipment is added to a computer network.

The patent says the approach can be used to spot counterfeit devices, counterfeit upgraded items (genuine with unauthorised modifications), grey market equipment and devices with altered serial numbers. It relies on "equipment authentication logic" - which uses a number of variables to screen devices against a known signature.

"As the number and types of deployed equipment continue to grow to keep pace with the demand for ever-increasing electronic network services, control over and/or of the deployed equipment can become difficult," says the patent.

"Unauthorized equipment of this sort that supports electronic networks can lead to multiple issues, not the least of which includes lost revenue to the manufacturers and resellers of the equipment, lost control over quality control of the equipment, and possibly impaired safety and security of the equipment and associated network."

Network equipment authentication

Abstract: Presented herein are authentication systems and methodologies for equipment deployed in an operational electronic network. Information about a piece of network-connected equipment is received, wherein the information includes a plurality of attribute values characterizing the equipment, wherein the information is obtained via a query to the equipment that produces, as output, the plurality of attribute values. The attribute values are compared to stored values, and when one or more of the attribute values are determined to be outside a range of the stored values, the equipment is designated as non-authentic. Non-authentic equipment may include counterfeit and grey marketed equipment.

US Patent No. 9,178,859

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