The Justice Department (DoJ) said this week that Verizon Business Network Services agreed to pay a fine of $4.09 million to the government after failing to “completely satisfy certain cybersecurity controls in connection with an information technology service provided to federal agencies.”

The company’s settlement agreement with DoJ relates to its Managed Trusted Internet Protocol Service (MTIPS) that it sells to Federal government agencies to provide them with secure connections to the internet and other external networks.

Between 2017 and 2021, DoJ said, Verizon’s MTIPS “did not completely satisfy three required cybersecurity controls for Trusted Internet Connections with respect to General Services Administration (GSA) contracts.”

According to DoJ, Verizon got out in front of the problem, including giving the government a written self-disclosure, and launching an independent investigation and compliance review. As the process played out, the company “cooperated with the government’s investigation of the issues and took prompt and substantial remedial measures,” the agency said. Those steps, DoJ said, entitle Verizon to “credit for cooperating with the government.”

“When government contractors fail to follow required cybersecurity standards, they may jeopardize the security of sensitive government information and information systems,” commented Deputy Assistant Attorney General Michael Granston of the Civil Division’s Commercial Litigation Branch.

“We will continue to pursue knowing cybersecurity related violations under the Department’s Civil Cyber-Fraud Initiative and to provide credit in settlements to government contractors that disclose misconduct, cooperate with pending investigations and take remedial measures, all of which are critically important to protecting the nation against cyber threats,” Granston said.

“The United States should get the cybersecurity controls that it contracts and pays for to safeguard against cyber threats that could compromise critical information and systems,” said Acting Inspector General Robert C. Erickson of GSA. “I appreciate the efforts of the investigative team that worked on this case.”

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John Curran
John Curran
John Curran is MeriTalk's Managing Editor covering the intersection of government and technology.