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Cisco accused of stealing data from cloud services company

Cisco has been accused of perpetrating a series of cyber attacks and stealing data from Multiven, a California-based cloud network management and maintenance services provider.

According to reports, Multiven has lodged a complaint with the Swiss cybercrime coordination unit and the US Department of Justice, alleging that the San Jose, California-based networking giant was responsible for multiple digital hacks on its servers through which it stole thousands of proprietary and copyrighted data files from, the company's knowledge database. Multiven alleges that Cisco breached its servers at least four times in the year between December 2009 and January 2010, but says customer and user details may be safe.

"Multiven's subsequent investigation revealed that the theft involved over 53,000 'requests' that originated from three Internet Protocol ('IP') addresses assigned to Cisco Systems, Inc., headquartered in San Jose, California," the company said in a press release.

"Once the first attack was identified and blocked by Multiven's cyber security team, the firewall continued to log packets coming from the blocked IP address," it added.

Cisco dismissed the charges.

"This is yet another false accusation from Multiven, and we strongly reject this claim. The only access that Cisco has ever had to Multiven content is through its website, which is readily available to the general public," a Cisco spokesperson said.

This isn't the first instance of legal beef between the two companies. In an antitrust lawsuit filed in 2008, Multiven accused Cisco of forcing customers to purchase the Cisco SMARTnet service plan before being able to receive software updates. The case was later settled in July 2010.