Author Archives: Aaron J. Aisen

Potential Storms A-Brewin’ for Countries Enjoying the Calm of the EU Cyber Safe Harbor

EU law provides that personal data from the EU can only be transferred to countries that can ensure adequate protection of that data. The European Commission has authority to designate certain countries as “safe harbors” based on the domestic law of that country or that country’s international commitments. The EU Commission granted the United States safe harbor status. However, the European Court of Justice recently held that while the European Commission has authority to make these decisions, they are not binding on individual EU country…

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US Capitol

Controversial Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act Passes Senate, Will Likely Become Law

On October 27, 2015, the United States Senate passed S.754, the Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act (CISA or the Act) 74-21. Without requiring such information sharing, CISA would create a system for federal agencies to receive threat information from private companies in real time. However, the bill is not without controversy. As we discussed in August the Department of Homeland Security raised concerns in July and August that the “real time collaboration” requirement in CISA would not permit them to scrub personal information…

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US Navy

Out of Security Concerns, Navy Tells Midshipmen to Look to the Stars

The United States Navy is now requiring its midshipmen to learn a skill that seems more relevant in the 19th Century rather than the 21st century: how to navigate by the stars. The training is limited to just a few hours, but will serve a critical function. Computers aboard a ship are susceptible to cyber attacks and Navy personnel need a backup system should the computers fail. On the open ocean, this means looking to the stars. The Navy taught celestial navigation until…

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Not If, But When: Another Health Insurer Hacked

This post first appeared on Goldberg Segalla’s Insurance & Reinsurance Report blog. In mid-September, it was reported that hackers hit another set of health insurance companies. In this case, the hackers hit The Lifetime Healthcare Companies and its affiliates including Excellus BlueCross BlueShield, Univera Healthcare, and The MedAmerica Companies. A full list of plans affected can be found on the press release outlining the details of the attack. Hackers took information on approximately 10 millions customers including seven million from Excellus and three million from…

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NAIC and CSIS Host Cyber Risk Conference

On September 10, 2015, the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) and the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) hosted a conference entitled “Managing Cyber Risk and the Role of Insurance.” Over 300 individuals attended, including more than 30 insurance regulators, senior representatives from the U.S. Departments of Treasury and Homeland Security, and representatives from the private sector. The primary focus of the conference was to explore how the insurance industry can assist in mitigating the damages that result from a cyber…

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Data Protection

DHS – “Privacy Problems with CISA”

The Senate is expected to begin debate this week on S.754, the Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act (CISA) and at least one government agency is raising privacy and civil liberties concerns with respect to this legislation. Specifically, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is concerned that the desire to share information in real time could prevent it from scrubbing the data to erase personal identifiable information or other private information contained in the data. The primary purpose of CISA is to encourage the sharing of cyber…

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Federal Cyber Legislation – Hurry Up and Wait

Despite the increasing number of data breaches, legislation to address this issue at the Federal level is at a standstill (or close to it). As has been noted in a variety of venues, currently, there is no comprehensive federal law to deal with data breaches. The federal law that does exist is centered on privacy issues for specific industries, e.g., Health Information Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) for health information and the Gramm-Leach Bliley Act (GLB) for financial information. While most states and the…

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Two GAO Reports Detail Deficiencies and Improvements in Thwarting Cyber Crimes

The Government Accountability Office (GAO) recently issued two reports on battling cyber threats that are useful for both private and public entities. The first report, issued July 2, 2015, was entitled Cybersecurity: Bank and Other Depository Regulators Need Better Data Analytics and Depository Institutions Want More Usable Threat Information. In that report, the GAO noted that while, “[d]epository institutions obtain cyber threat information from multiple sources, including federal entities such as the Department of the Treasury (Treasury)[,] [r]epresentatives from more than 50 financial institutions…

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US Navy

Sometimes Newer Isn’t Always Better: U.S. Navy is Paying Millions to Keep XP

In March 2014, Microsoft announced that it was phasing out support for its Windows XP operating system, including the continued release of patches protecting against hackers and other intrusions. Although the Windows XP platform, originally released  August 24, 2001, has been replaced by updated versions, the United States Navy agreed to pay Microsoft $9 million annually for continued support of the XP program, which runs many of the Navy’s critical systems, including the Space and Navy Warfare Systems Command.  While only 10 percent of government…

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US Capitol

Congress and the Internet of Things

Despite the trend toward the Internet of Things, some institutions are taking a slow and cautious approach given the possible security vulnerabilities. This includes the U.S. Congress. The Internet of Things usually refers to machine to machine communication.  For example, consider the Microsoft band that monitors heart rate, steps, calories, burned, etc. (which, incidentally, the co-chair of the Congressional Internet of Things Caucus wears). Recent breaches into government computers including the massive data breach at the Office of Personnel Management (“OPM”) clearly demonstrate…

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