Category Archives: Cyber Security

Federal Cybersecurity Problems “Decades in the Making”

Yesterday, the House Oversight Committee received testimony from federal officials regarding the April 2015 cyberattack on the Office of Personnel Management (OPM), which compromised the personal information of approximately 4 million government employees and retirees, including social security numbers.  The executive branch delayed reporting the incident until June 4, much to the dismay of the House Committee. OPM head Catherine Archuleta was under fire for what Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, called the “most devastating” cyberattack in United States’ history.  Ms. Archuleta attempted to avoid…

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House Committee Leaders Request Information About Cybersecurity for Cars

On May 28, 2015, leaders on the U.S. House Energy and Commerce Committee from both parties wrote to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and 17 auto manufacturers requesting information about plans to address cybersecurity issues in automobiles. The Committee leadership noted: Connected cars and advancements in vehicle technology present a tremendous opportunity for economic innovation, consumer convenience, and public health and safety. These benefits, however, depend on consumer confidence in the safety and reliability of these technologies. While threats to vehicle technology currently…

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Senator Seeks Answers from President on White House Cyber Attack

Chairman of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation, John Thune, has sent an open letter to President Obama to address the cyber attack on the White House’s unclassified computer system in late-2014. The breach, allegedly by Russian hackers, was according to Senator Thune “more extensive than previously known,” and accessed “a great deal of sensitive information, such as schedules, policy discussions, and e-mails sent and received by” Mr. Obama, “including exchanges with ambassadors.” Following increased attacks across Executive Branch departments and agencies, Mr.…

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Recent Class Action Settlements By Target & Adobe

Adobe’s impending settlement in a class action comes just a month after Target settled claims for $10 million.  Although confirmatory discovery is ongoing according to Law360, Adobe and the named class members are expected to present their settlement proposal to District Judge Lucy Koh by the end of May.  Last year, both Adobe and Target lost motions to dismiss that challenged the plaintiffs’ Article III standing based on the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2012 decision in Clapper v. Amnesty International USA.  This may have been…

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House Overwhelmingly Passes Two Cyber Threat-Sharing Bills, Senate Poised for Third

On Wednesday, April 22, by a vote of 307-116, the House passed its first major cybersecurity bill of 2015, the Protecting Cyber Networks Act (PCNA), backed by the leadership of the Committee on Intelligence, which would shield private companies when sharing cyber threat data with government civilian agencies, including the Commerce and Treasury Departments. A second bill, The National Cybersecurity Protection Advancement Act of 2015 (NCPAA), which amends the Homeland Security Act of 2002, was passed by the House the following day, Thursday April 23,…

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Symantec Issues Threat Report – Cyber Threats on the Increase

Symantec issued its 2014 Internet Threat Security Report (“ITSR” or the “Report”). The Report highlighted some interesting trends including:

  • “60 percent of all targeted attacks struck small- and medium-sized organizations.” In part, this is due to the fact that these “organizations often have fewer resources to invest in security, and many are still not adopting basic best practices like blocking executable files and screensaver email attachments. This puts not only the businesses, but also their business partners, at higher risk.”
  • “Non-targeted attacks still make up

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NY Dept. of Financial Services Requests Detailed Cyber Security Reports From Insurers

Cyber security is clearly one of the highest priorities — if not the top concern — for regulators in 2015. Late last month, the New York Department of Financial Services (DFS) sent more than 160 licensed insurers a New York Insurance Law Section 308 Letter seeking a detailed report regarding their cyber security practices and procedures. The Section 308 Letter — to which there is now less than three weeks to respond — also provides greater insight into the scope of cyber security examinations that…

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SEC, FINRA and the U.S. Senate Prepare for Cyberattacks in 2015

Two major government agencies have issued reports addressing security of brokerage and advisory firms, and two U.S. Senators have declared their intention to expand cyber-security laws into automobiles.  In February, the SEC released two major publications (here and here) regarding risks for brokerage and advisory firms, as well as adjusters.  The Financial Industry Regulation Authority (FINRA), a private corporation managed by financial industry insiders and billed as the self-appointed “regulator” for NYSE and NASDAQ, has issued a report to assist broker-dealer firms with…

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Third Circuit Reviews FTC’s Authority To Enforce An “Unreasonable Failure” To Protect Against A Cyber Attack

Today, the Third Circuit heard oral argument in a case that may have a profound impact on the Federal Trade Commission’s enforcement authority over corporate cybersecurity.  The question presented to the Court of Appeals is whether the FTC can pursue an enforcement action against a company under Section 5 of the FTC Act if the FTC believes that a cyber-hack occurred due to the company’s “unreasonable failure” to protect consumer data. The FTC alleges that Wyndham Worldwide did not “employ reasonable and appropriate measures to…

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Cyber Breaches Prompt Government Action

Several government entities are taking action to address the growing rise of cyber-attacks as more fully explained in Goldberg Segalla’s Insurance & Reinsurance Report. As reported in a post by Frederick J. Pomerantz and Aaron J. Aisen, in response to a cyber breach at a major insurer, Connecticut lawmakers are considering legislation requiring insurance companies to encrypt sensitive information.  Furthermore, the Federal Government is considering several proposals  including a Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights and standardized consumer notification procedures.  Similarly, as discussed in…

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