Cisco’s “Connect Cloud” shows how disconnected they are

Cisco, who owns Linksys, the one series of personal routers that I’ve had no real issues with, has finally found a way to annoy me, and a great one at that. It appears that owners of the E2700, E3500, and E4500 – the newer models of the E2000/3000/4000 lines – can no longer just “log in” to administer their home network, instead being required to login and register their devices using the awesome sounding “Cisco Connect Cloud” system.

What’s the big deal? Well, for one, Cisco shipped all of these devices with the “Automatic Firmware Update” option selected, which means that whenever Cisco wanted to start these shenanigans, they could, and with no warning. Even if I saw that this particular option was selected, I’d probably have let it be. I mean, firmware updates are usually a good thing, right? More stability, more security? Wrong.

Another problem is that you cannot control your router as efficiently as before, unless you register for Cisco’s service. A press-n-hold of the reset button will grant you an old login function, but only with access to a very simplified menu structure, with many controls removed or otherwise made a pain in the arse. For those keeping score, that’s 2 points against old Linksys: 1) for updating your firmware to ensure they control your access to it, and 2) not allowing you to use a device that’s located in your home without going to the almighty cloud first.

Oh, but we’re not done. If you do decide to use the Cloud service, which allows you to remotely fiddle with your router (Oh no! I’m in Taiwan and need to block Pintrest at home to annoy my wife) there’s another set of privacy policies and EULAs to read. Well, that privacy policy states (as of June 27)

[quote]When you use the Service, we may keep track of certain information related to your use of the Service, including but not limited to the status and health of your network and networked products; which apps relating to the Service you are using; which features you are using within the Service infrastructure; network traffic (e.g., megabytes per hour); Internet history; how frequently you encounter errors on the Service system and other related information (“Other Information”).[/quote]

Yes, they “may” keep track of your network, attached hardware, traffic (bandwidth) and Internet history. Sure, that’s what I want. A giant corporation that already runs a good portion of the worlds networks to track what’s on my network and what I’m doing with it, then upload it all to your servers (I’m convinced it’s secure, because no one can hack these services) to be stored, analyzed and oh, I didn’t see “anonymized” in there anywhere. This also means that the data will be available for subpoena, and possibly used against you.

For those of you affected, or even if you own Linksys devices, feel free to contact them – politely – and let them know that their ideas are silly and pointless. If you own one of these devices, keep checking the DD-WRT database for support. Until then, Cisco has announced that can downgrade to the old firmware, and has provided instructions for those who wish to do so.

Thanks to Dragos, from whom I stole this story. 

Source: Extreme Tech

3 thoughts on “Cisco’s “Connect Cloud” shows how disconnected they are”

  1. Looks like Cisco is listening to it’s customers on this one.  They’ve apologized for the heavy-handed terms and deleted them (apparently copied from their enterprise product, so 80% of all internet traffic is already subject to them).  Also, they have stopped all automatic updates and are giving people who call the option to roll back to the previous.  Expensive mistake, yes.  But, have you actually tried the new platform?  If you do you’ll see why the were so overconfident.  (Light years beyond anything I’ve ever seen on a router before!)

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