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ATTORNEY GENERAL HERRING SECURES $6 MILLION FROM CISCO SYSTEMS IN MULTISTATE SETTLEMENT

~ Virginia to receive $546,000 as its part of the settlement ~

RICHMOND (August 1, 2019) – Attorney General Mark R. Herring today joined a coalition of 19 attorneys general in settling a multistate lawsuit against Cisco Systems, Inc. concerning security surveillance system software sold to Virginia, a collection of other states, and the federal government. A whistleblower came forward under the federal False Claims Act to assert that Cisco’s software had major flaws rendering the system vulnerable to hackers, and that despite learning of the exposure, Cisco failed to report or remedy this security flaw for several years. Virginia will receive approximately $546,000 of the total settlement payment.

“It is inexcusable that Cisco was aware of the security flaws in its software for years, yet failed to do anything about it,” said Attorney General Herring.“These security flaws opened our surveillance systems up to hackers and could have put Virginians at risk. My team and I will continue to hold manufacturers accountable and make sure they know that they must report and repair any flaws that they find or they will have to deal with the consequences.”

In 2009, according to the action, Cisco discovered security flaws in a software product designed to control security camera systems sold to Virginia, multiple other states, and the federal government, but the company failed to report or remedy these flaws until 2013, and only after commencement of the investigation of the action.

The now-discontinued software contained flaws that would permit unauthorized access to the system, with the potential to control and otherwise manipulate security cameras and the recorded footage. 

The investigation began after parties involved in the settlement received information from a former Cisco employee who came forward as a whistleblower and filed an action under the federal False Claims Act and whistleblower acts of the multiple states involved. The joint investigation uncovered no evidence that a hack or any unauthorized access of security surveillance systems ever took place.

The $6 million fine will be distributed among the plaintiff states, with a share for the whistleblower. The Virginia False Claims Act allows private persons to file civil actions on behalf of the government, and to share in any recovery.

Attorney General Herring and his team conducted this investigation in coordination with the States of California, Delaware, Florida, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Rhode Island, Tennessee, and the District of Columbia.

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