The FBI announced Friday that an investigation into counterfeit network components made in China and sold to the U.S. government has recovered about 3,500 fake devices with a value of $3.5 million.
The criminal probe, code-named Operation Cisco Raider, was prompted by concerns that counterfeit network components could give hackers access to government databases. But one U.S. official told Reuters that the components discovered by the FBI are not believed to have made government computer systems more vulnerable.
The existence of the probe came to light after an unclassified FBI PowerPoint presentation in January on the agency's efforts to counter the production and distribution of counterfeit network hardware showed up on Abovetopsecret.com.
"This unclassified briefing was never intended for broad distribution or posting to the Internet," James Finch, assistant director of the FBI's Cyber Division, said in a statement.
Operation Cisco Raider involved 15 investigations at nine FBI field offices and the execution of 39 search warrants, the bureau said. The FBI release did not mention whether any arrests had been made.
Components included pirated versions of Cisco Systems routers, as well as switches, interface converters, and wide area network interface cards, Reuters reported.