Author Archives: James M. Paulino II

Lawsuit written on brown vintage paper.

The Yahoo Class Action: Plaintiff’s Bar Finds a New Cottage Industry

The only “surprise” in the Yahoo class action complaint, filed Friday, September 23, 2016, is that Yahoo issued a press release announcing the breach a mere one day earlier.  The class action complaint, undersigned by three law firms in San Francisco, Boca Raton, and New York, seeks certification for: “All persons within the United States whose personal information was accessed following the data breach that Yahoo announced in a press release on September 22, 2016.”  Indeed, the complaint makes a number of allegations relating directly…

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RAND Study Estimates Lower Cyber-Incident Costs

According to a new study by the RAND Corporation, published in the Oxford Journal of Cybersecurity, the average cost of a typical cyber breach for an American company has been estimated at $200,000, significantly less than the $1,000,000 figure suggested by other organizations, such as the Ponemon Institute. The study analyzed a private data set of 12,000 cyber incidents over a decade based on corporate losses compiled for the insurance industry. “Relative to all the other risks companies face, the cyber risks often aren’t…

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Plaintiffs’ Monitoring Activity to Mitigate Increased Risk of Identity Theft Sufficient for Article III Standing in the Sixth Circuit

The Sixth Circuit, in a 2-1 majority decision, has reinstated a class action lawsuit against Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company, finding that the plaintiffs’ alleged “imminent, immediate and continuing increased risk” of identify fraud after hackers accessed personal data on Nationwide’s servers constituted a “cognizable injury” under Article III. The court’s unpublished decision cited a range of alleged damages from the plaintiffs’ complaint including the time and expense of monitoring their own credit, as well as a study “purporting to show that in 2011 recipients of…

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Forty Percent Increase in New York State Data Breaches

On Wednesday, May 4, 2016, New York State Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman announced a 40 percent increase in reports of data breaches during 2016 as compared with the same time frame last year. As in a growing number of states and federal agencies, New York’s Information Security Breach & Notification Act, enacted in 2005, requires all individuals and organizations conducting business in New York to report any unauthorized access to personal information to affected individuals, law enforcement and other government officials. According to the…

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Cybersecurity Down on the Farm

The FBI and Department of Agriculture have issued a Private Industry Notification to increase awareness among farmers that growing reliance on precision agriculture technology, aka “smart farming,” brings increased vulnerability to cyberattacks. While the notification did not suggest attackers could gain control of physical machinery, unauthorized access to farm-level data regarding crop availability and pricing could be used to exploit US agriculture resources and market trends. Earlier this year, for example, the USDA and Microsoft hosted a worldwide competition to design data visualization tools that…

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Data Protection

Inadvertent Data Breach May Trigger Insurer’s Duty to Defend

As previously posted, in many instances of data breach, information was exposed due to the negligent actions of someone within the organization, as opposed to an external and malicious cyberattack.  This week, the Fourth Circuit held that that the inadvertent disclosure of data from within the company can constitute a “publication” triggering an insurer’s duty to defend. Goldberg Segalla attorneys Colin B. Willmott and Jonathan L. Schwartz provide a complete analysis of the decision in Travelers Indemnity Company of America v. Portal Healthcare Solutions,

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A Strong Case for Mobile Device Management

The San Bernardino County government paid for, but never installed, a feature allowing employer access to any employee mobile devices. If the installation of the new feature was done, the current legal and philosophical battle between Apple and the FBI over how to access shooter Syed Rizwan Farook’s iPhone may have been avoided. What’s more, the county not only had the software, but also a longstanding policy eliminating any expectation of privacy by the employee: “No User Should Have an Expectation of

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Iranians Use Cellular Modem to Hack Suburban NYC Dam

Any machine, if it’s connected to the internet, can be hacked; including the automated equipment controlling dams, steel mills and nuclear power facilities. As we previously reported here, criminals were able to take control of a German steel mill’s computerized production system, forcing an unscheduled shut-down causing “massive damage” in 2014. Likewise, in 2010, a cyberattack was able to disable Iran’s uranium enrichment centrifuges by targeting the software installed in the electronic equipment. This week, the Wall Street Journal reported that in 2013, Iranian…

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The Burden of Establishing “Injury” in Data-Breach Class Action Lawsuits

Contrary to the predictions of various commentators, John Jablonski of Goldberg Segalla’s Cyber Risk and Social Media Practice Group explains how recent federal court decisions continue to hold a high standard for proving standing in data breach class action lawsuits. As John concludes in an article for Claims Management: “Standing may be easier for class-action plaintiffs to demonstrate if their data was hacked, but as these cases demonstrate, surviving a standing motion is not always as easy as commentators predicted it would be in…

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HIPAA’s Application to Digital Media

Recent media attention to the disclosure of Personal Health Information (PHI) concerning Lamar Odom provides a reminder that the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) applies broadly to digital photographs and other electronic data, whether or not the disclosure is inadvertent. Goldberg Segalla attorneys Seth L. Laver, Jessica L. Wuebker and Kenneth M. Alweis have developed three useful steps to improve privacy and security programs and policies to account for these potential HIPAA violations, which can be read here on the firm’s Professional Liability

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