cisco systems

Cisco Agrees to Pay Over $8 Million For Selling Video Surveillance System with Technical Flaws

Experts believe Cisco’s payout to a whistleblower could set a precedent for future lawsuits against vendors who sell products with security vulnerabilities.

Cisco Systems, one of the largest software and technology equipment sellers in the world, will pay $8.6 million to settle lawsuits claiming the company sold video surveillance technology to government agencies despite knowing the software was flawed.

Fifteen states and the District of Columbia, alongside the Justice Department, sued the company for damages under the False Claims Act, which imposes liability to companies who defraud governmental programs. The agencies that will receive payments from Cisco include Homeland Security, the Secret Service, the Federal Emergency Management Agency and several branches of the military, The New York Times reported.

“We are pleased to have resolved a 2011 dispute involving the architecture of a video security technology product,” Cisco spokeswoman Robyn Blum said in a statement. “There was no allegation or evidence that any unauthorized access to customers’ video occurred as a result of the architecture.”

One of the biggest beneficiaries of the settlement is a single individual: James Glenn, a former subcontractor for Cisco in Denmark. Glenn will receive over $1 million for his role as a whistleblower in the case.

He first warned the company in 2008 that a hacker who successfully gained access to one video camera in a system could eventually gain administrative control of the entire network due to software flaws, Reuters reported. Glenn was laid off five months after the disclosure, but noticed in 2010 that the problem had not been fixed: he could still hack into the system. Shortly afterward, he went to the FBI, which opened an investigation, according to Reuters.

Cisco continued to sell the Video Surveillance Manager software through July 2013, when it disclosed the security flaw and released a patch fixing the issue. In its complaint, the Justice Department said the software was “of no value” and did not meet “its primary purpose: enhancing the security of the agencies that purchase it,” according to the Times.

The flaw was based on faulty access controls, which made the products non-compliant with the federal government’s National Institute of Standards in Technology, which determine the security standards that tech companies must use to do business with the government. The compliance issues set the stage for the lawsuit against Cisco, CNBC reported.

Glenn’s lawyer and other industry experts believe the settlement is the first time a whistleblower has gotten a payout in a false claims cyber case. And those experts think that there could be a flurry of similar whistleblower lawsuits filed under the law, seeking to follow in Glenn’s footsteps.

“[The settlement] clearly “clearly provides an opportunity for entrepreneurial plaintiffs or potential plaintiffs to go around looking for more examples like this,” Gregory Klass, a Georgetown University law professor, told Reuters.

About the Author

Haley Samsel is an Associate Content Editor for the Infrastructure Solutions Group at 1105 Media.


  • Cybersecurity Awareness Month: Top Five Action Items to Elevate Your Data Security Posture Management and Secure Your Data

    October is Cybersecurity Awareness Month, and every year most tips for security hygiene and staying safe have not changed. We’ve seen them all – use strong passwords, deploy multi-factor authentication (MFA), be vigilant to spot phishing attacks, regularly update software and patch your systems. These are great recommended ongoing tips and are as relevant today as they’ve ever been. But times have changed and these best practices can no longer be the bare minimum. Read Now

  • Boosting Safety and Efficiency

    Boosting Safety and Efficiency

    In alignment with the state of Mississippi’s mission of “Empowering Mississippi citizens to stay connected and engaged with their government,” Salient's CompleteView VMS is being installed throughout more than 150 state boards, commissions and agencies in order to ensure safety for thousands of constituents who access state services daily. Read Now

  • Live From GSX: Post-Show Review

    Live From GSX: Post-Show Review

    This year’s Live From GSX program was a rousing success! Again, we’d like to thank our partners, and IPVideo, for working with us and letting us broadcast their solutions to the industry. You can follow our Live From GSX 2023 page to keep up with post-show developments and announcements. And if you’re interested in working with us in 2024, please don’t hesitate to ask about our Live From programs for ISC West in March or next year’s GSX. Read Now

    • Industry Events
    • GSX
  • People Say the Funniest Things

    People Say the Funniest Things

    By all accounts, GSX version 2023 was completely successful. Apparently, there were plenty of mix-ups with the airlines and getting aircraft from the East Coast into Big D. I am all ears when I am in a gathering of people. You never know when a nugget of information might flip out. Read Now

    • Industry Events
    • GSX

Featured Cybersecurity


New Products

  • HD2055 Modular Barricade

    Delta Scientific’s electric HD2055 modular shallow foundation barricade is tested to ASTM M50/P1 with negative penetration from the vehicle upon impact. With a shallow foundation of only 24 inches, the HD2055 can be installed without worrying about buried power lines and other below grade obstructions. The modular make-up of the barrier also allows you to cover wider roadways by adding additional modules to the system. The HD2055 boasts an Emergency Fast Operation of 1.5 seconds giving the guard ample time to deploy under a high threat situation. 3

  • ResponderLink


    Shooter Detection Systems (SDS), an company and a global leader in gunshot detection solutions, has introduced ResponderLink, a groundbreaking new 911 notification service for gunshot events. ResponderLink completes the circle from detection to 911 notification to first responder awareness, giving law enforcement enhanced situational intelligence they urgently need to save lives. Integrating SDS’s proven gunshot detection system with Noonlight’s SendPolice platform, ResponderLink is the first solution to automatically deliver real-time gunshot detection data to 911 call centers and first responders. When shots are detected, the 911 dispatching center, also known as the Public Safety Answering Point or PSAP, is contacted based on the gunfire location, enabling faster initiation of life-saving emergency protocols. 3

  • Connect ONE’s powerful cloud-hosted management platform provides the means to tailor lockdowns and emergency mass notifications throughout a facility – while simultaneously alerting occupants to hazards or next steps, like evacuation.

    Connect ONE®

    Connect ONE’s powerful cloud-hosted management platform provides the means to tailor lockdowns and emergency mass notifications throughout a facility – while simultaneously alerting occupants to hazards or next steps, like evacuation. 3