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5/24/2004
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Code Theft Remains A Mystery

The theft of Cisco Systems' source code, which runs much of the company's networking gear, poses security risks, but how high is uncertain. If enough code was stolen, hackers could trick companies into downloading back doors or Trojan horse applications, says Gartner security analyst John Pescatore. Cisco declined to provide details on the stolen code, parts of which appeared in a report on a Russian security firm's Web site. The risk for companies running Cisco gear depends on how much, and what type, of source code was pilfered, says Stuart McClure, president and chief technology officer at information-security company Foundstone Inc. "If it's complete modules or large chunks of code," he says, "the risk is substantially higher."

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