Domestic companies and government agencies continue to buy licenses from the American corporation Cisco, despite its withdrawal from the Russian market. In some cases, pirated licenses are sold openly. On the website of one of the sellers, it is said that in the event of a return of Cisco, a “return to the original licensing scheme without traces” is guaranteed, as well as “the absence of risks in the legal field of the Russian Federation.”
Care Cisco no problem
As it became known to CNews, numerous illegal Cisco licenses appeared on sale in Russia. Information about this was confirmed by CNews interlocutors in the Russian videoconferencing market.
In addition to the sale of pirated licenses, other cases are known. “There are several recent examples when a government agency hacked a Cisco product with the help of an external company in order to continue using it,” the source told CNews. Another interlocutor at the videoconferencing market clarified that the purchase of licenses is carried out, including for cryptocurrency.
According to sources, these services are mainly used by state-owned companies. “Yes, we are aware of cases of purchase or renewal of Cisco licenses through the so-called “piracy schemes” by Russian state-owned companies,” VideoMost’s sales director told CNews Dmitry Shulga.
Why the customer can take such a step, explained another interlocutor of CNews in the Russian videoconferencing market. “For example, companies have invested heavily in infrastructure and the purchase of Cisco solutions, but there is no longer a budget for import substitution,” he says. – Cisco, one might say, “threw Russian users for money, without a normal opportunity to return them.”
As an example of organizations’ attachment to Cisco infrastructure, Dmitry Shulga tells how an unnamed state-owned company allegedly considered buying VideoMost licenses, but the tender was unexpectedly canceled. “The purchase did not take place because the choice was made in favor of a workaround to access Cisco,” he says.
Cisco sell openly
The well-known Russian integrator Ramek-VS, in particular, is engaged in the free sale of Cisco licenses after the vendor left. The company provides a service called UNLIC openly and calls it “the return of the stability of the Cisco infrastructure.”
Fragment of the presentation of the service to return the stability of Cisco company “Ramek-VS”
“Ramek-VS”, according to the presentation of the service, guarantees complete confidentiality and the absence of legal risks in the Russian legal field. The company’s service also includes software updates, as well as restoration and transfer of licenses. The company works with Cisco Security, Cisco Unified Communications, Cisco R&S and Splunk products.
The integrator failed to answer CNews within two working days about how legal such a scheme is, and also how many such licenses have already been sold, and who was their buyer.
How is this technically possible?
How it is possible to crack licenses of Cisco, the interlocutor of CNews in the Russian videoconferencing market explained. “Cisco in the cloud is very simple; some product keys are unloaded there,” he explained. “Most likely, the integrator made a duplicate of this cloud with full functionality.”
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The only question, the interlocutor notes, is how he obtains these product keys. The expert suggested that there are two options. One is a “purely hacker theme.”
From the Ramek-VS presentation
“Second: they register these devices somewhere in China or Montenegro, which at Cisco “shine” not as Russian equipment, but as equipment of some provider in Montenegro. And, therefore, everything works fine, ”said the source.
As it became known to CNews in the middle of June, 2022, Cisco made the decision on final leaving from Russia. More than a week later, the American corporation announced this officially. The company said it would provide support to employees working in Russia and Belarus. Cisco also plans to contact customers and partners to resolve some financial issues.
A CNews source in a large IT company said that before the start of a special military operation in Ukraine in February 2022, Cisco brought “a lot” of equipment to Russia, hoping to sell it. “And now they are looking for a way to bring it back, because if they go bankrupt, they will have to sell it here on the market, and this is a losing option for them,” he said.
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Cisco is known primarily as a manufacturer of communications equipment. The company’s product range includes routers, switches, IP telephony solutions, network security solutions, cable modems, Wi-Fi access points, etc.