I decided to upgrade my IT-type skills a little by learning about Cisco routers, and a friend of mine lent me a C1710 that was sitting around idle.
I got it up and running, followed an online tutorial, and decided to save the configuration work I’d done. So, I typed:
copy running-config start-config
and told it to go ahead an erase the flash when it asked.
This was a Really Bad MistakeTM.
It turns out that “flash” is where Cisco stores its boot software. The configuration is actually stored in “nvram”, in a file called startup-config.
Nothing went immediately wrong with the router, so I had no clue I’d screwed up. Until a few days later, when the cat jumped up on the counter and flipped the switch on a power strip. That’s when I discovered that I’d erased the IOS, and the only functioning software in the box is the bootloader. And the nightmare began.
My friend doesn’t have a backup copy of the IOS to reflash the box, and Cisco won’t let me download an official replacement unless I buy a service contract. Even if I could afford one, I’m not sure they’d sell it to me, since the C1710 is long since discontinued.
I found a couple of what are alleged to be copies of IOS for the C1710 on some untrusted ftp sites, but I’m really hesitant to load unverified binaries into a box that has low-level access to my LAN: I have visions of the router trying to recruit my PCs (a couple of which actually do run Windoze sometimes) into a botnet.
So, is there some way to either un-hose the flash file system, or to verify that the IOS files aren’t malware (given that Cisco won’t even give me access to the release notes that might contain an MD5 sum)? A google search didn’t seem to return much other than Cisco user docs on how to upload the files I can’t get from them