Category Archives: Cyber Security

Better Late Than Never: U.S. and EU Regulators Reach Data Privacy Agreement

Officials from the United States and European Union have reached a tentative agreement regarding transfers of personal data by European individuals and businesses to the United States. As stated in the agreement, “This new framework will protect the fundamental rights of Europeans where their data is transferred to the United States and ensure legal certainty for businesses.” When finalized, it will replace a previous safe harbor agreement between the U.S. and EU, which was struck down by the European Court of Justice (ECJ) in October…

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The Danger from Within: Banks Work to Combat Hackers Internally

While many companies work diligently to guard against external cyber threats, a number of banks are taking steps to protect themselves from another dangerous, yet equally damaging source — their own employees. According to the Association of Corporate Counsel, at least 30 percent of data breaches during 2015 were caused by seemingly harmless employee errors. To the unknowing employee, a simple click of the mouse could expose information or clues to those looking for an opportunity to breach even the most high-tech security systems.…

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US Capitol

CISA Passes as Part of Omnibus Spending Bill

Congress recently passed the Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act of 2015 (CISA) as part of Division N of H.R. 2029, Public Law 114-113 the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2016, (CAA). As previously reported, on October 27, 2015 the United States Senate passed a different version of CISA, S.754, which without requiring such information sharing, would create a system for federal, state and local agencies to receive threat information from private companies in real time and for the private sector to receive such information in addition and as…

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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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End of EU Data Privacy Safe Harbor Blockade in Sight?

Negotiators from the European Union and the United States are in the process of negotiating a new agreement that would effectively remove the blockade to the EU Data Privacy Safe Harbor for U.S. companies. We previously wrote about a decision by the European Court of Justice (ECJ) which opened U.S. companies up to potential fines for not protecting their data from U.S. government surveillance programs. Given the potential impact against companies like Facebook and other companies that utilize personal information, EU and U.S. leaders are…

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NYDFS Notifies Federal Regulators of New Potential Cyber Security Regulations

On November 9, 2015, the New York State Department of Financial Services (NYDFS) sent a memorandum entitled Potential New NYDFS Cyber Security Regulation Requirements to several federal and state financial services regulators, including banking, securities and insurance regulatory, administrative and supervisory  bodies. These potential regulations are based on results of two sets of surveys of financial entities about their “cyber security programs, costs and future plans.” NYDFS surveyed 150 banks and 43 insurance companies. The results of the May 2014 banking industry survey are here

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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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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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