Thinking of buying Cisco EA4500 wireless router? Think again after Cisco Push 'Cloud Connect' Firmware to the public

Are you expect the top of the line router from Cisco, EA4500, should be the best? Well, It could be. But now, you may have to think again carefully after Cisco released and updated firmware of Cisco EA4500 from version 2.0.37.131047 (Classic EA Series Cisco Connect Firmware / NON Cisco Connect Cloud) to EA Series Cisco Connect Cloud Firmware Version 2.1.38.138143.  Most routers got upgraded automatically when it is connected to the Internet.

With new Cloud Firmware, everything is changed. You can no longer log-in to your own router without Cisco Cloud Account. Yes, you have to create an account with Cisco and use it to log-in into your own router to gain full access of your own router. You may, however, choose to unplug Internet cable  and use your own password to log-in into router as you used to do but you won't have much options to choose once you logged in into it. As far as I know, you can only change IP and some very basic wireless setting. Nothing more.

The discussion started in Cisco forum on Jun 26. Later, on Jun 29, Cisco decided to publish a link to download NON Cisco Connect Cloud Firmware version 2.0.37.131047 on their website. This allows users that got an upgrade to Cloud Firmware can do a downgrade to Non-Cloud Firmware.

The thing here is why do we need to log-in to our own router using Cisco Cloud Account? Why do we need to let Cisco knows what do we set on our own router? This is really privacy and security risk.  Even we can trust Cisco (Well.... I don't), but imagine if someone can hack into Cisco database, that would mean... they can access to any routers to do anything. It's like you give the key to someone to access your own house. And even you, the owner, you still need to ask their permission to go into your own house.

Not just that, Cisco's terms of service for the new Cloud Connect service give Cisco the right to track and sell your network traffic / Internet activity to third parties :

...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"). We use this Other Information to help us quickly and efficiently respond to inquiries and requests, and to enhance or administer our overall Service for our customers.
 

We may also use this Other Information for traffic analysis (for example, determining when the most customers are using the Service) and to determine which features within the Service are most or least effective or useful to you. In addition, we may periodically transmit system information to our servers in order to optimize your overall experience with the Service. We may share aggregated and anonymous user experience information with service providers, contractors or other third parties...

Moreover, From Middleleaze posted here (and confirmed by  Stan Kay) :

I could not beleive their suggestion that we remove our Firewall restrictions so that their routers could communicate via "Cloud" system.  It did not occur to them that since we could not access the routers then how could we change the Firewall rules!!!  More importantly, did they seriously think that we would be prepared to eliminate our security system just so that their routers could use the "Cloud" .  Their answer was also astounding.  They informed us that in accordance with their published policy we MUST agree to their demands otherwise we were NOT permitted to the use the "Cloud" software. 

And below is to confirm that they decided not to support Classic Firmware :

Once we had reverted to the previous firmware, we received a call from Cisco informing us that since they cannot guarrantee to support the previous firmware then we should upgrade to the latest firmware which uses the "Cloud".

I always like Linksys product before it took over by Cisco. I also bought this EA4500 router because I trusted their brandname but with a newer Cloud Firmware, I decided I will stick with Classic Firmware since I can't return the router anymore. I just hope that they will continue update Classic Firmware to be better.  The bad thing here is that the DD-WRT doesn't support this router. So, there is no 3rd party Firmware to replace it.  This could be the last Cisco-Linksys product that I will buy.  I'm pretty sure that if Cisco still head their way to do what they are doing right now, it will soon be an end of their business in wireless router.

If you want to read more about new Cloud Firmware, you can read it from here -> http://homecommunity.cisco.com/t5/Wireless-Routers/EA4500-Disable-Cisco-...

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Comments

I was just about to buy a EA4500 but after reading this I think I will avoid all Cisco products in the future.
They just went way down on my trust scale.

I thought how convenient to have cloud enable access. Then it was hacked, and too unhack it I contacted Cisco, who informed me that my 120 day router now required a service package to fix the hack and allow me access to my own router. Guess who's router is headed to the trash can?

I was more than outraged when my network went down and in the process of resolving the issue I tried to log in to my EA4500 only to find the cloud BS instead. My android app to connect to the router no longer even functioned. This is the last Linksys device I will ever purchase and I am more than a little glad Cisco sold it out to Belkin. Sadly, I don't trust Belkin either but even Belkin gets more respect from me now than CIsco and their "you have no choice but to do what we want" bullsht attitude towards consumers. My biggest mistake in the last 10 years was to leave Netgear and buy a Cisco device thinking hey its Cisco right? Well sadly I cannot afford to replace it just yet but when I scrounge $300 I will immediately RUN back to Netgear, profess my sins and beg their forgiveness for my massive error in judgement. All of my switches are Netgear and the netgear Nighthawk will soon be mine. Goodbye Ciscrap and good riddance!!!!

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