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Cisco Lifts & Separates in IOS

Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO), which has rarely been out of the security spotlight in recent weeks, today separated key functions of its IOS software for the Catalyst 6500 switches in an attempt to boost reliability and cut users network downtime (see Cisco Overhauls Switch IOS).

IOS hit the headlines at the recent Black Hat Briefings in Las Vegas when a researcher revealed the existence of a major hole in the software. Cisco officials said that the bug had been patched, and the buggy version of IOS is no longer available for download (see Cisco Faces Security Flap and Cisco Reveals 'Black Hat' Flaw).

Then, earlier this month, the company had to reset user passwords on its Website in response to a potential vulnerability, and, more recently, it highlighted a security flaw in its Intrusion Prevention System (IPS) technology that could potentially leave users’ systems open to attack (see Cisco Passwords Get Makeover and Cisco Focuses on IPS Flaw).

Cisco, execs, however, say that the decision to overhaul IOS had nothing to do with recent events, particularly the Black Hat brouhaha. “We have been working on this for the past few years,” says John Yen, senior manager for Cisco’s Catalyst technology.

But with today’s announcement, Cisco is clearly looking to reassure users that the Catalyst 6500 offers both security and high availability.

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