Category Archives: Emerging Issues

Central Intelligence Agency

Re-Thinking the U.S. Government’s Approach to Cybersecurity

Are the “cybersecurity” tools used by the CIA and NSA causing harm to U.S. businesses and citizens? An analysis of the WikiLeaks materials, and recent hacker activity, suggests the answer may be yes. This month, it was revealed that at least 40 cyber attacks on organizations in 16 countries were conducted with top-secret hacking tools, according to security researcher Symantic Corporation. While not formally blaming the CIA, Symmantic said it connected these attacks to the CIA hacking tools obtained by WikiLeaks, and that the targets…

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Despite Recent High-Profile Dismissals, Wendy’s Shareholders Try Again with Cybersecurity-Related Derivative Lawsuit

The resilient plaintiff’s bar is not backing down from their quest to hold directors and officers personally liable for corporate misconduct that leads to cybersecurity breaches. Taking guidance from the failures which resulted in a string of dismissals of high-profile cybersecurity-related shareholder derivative lawsuits, a shareholder of the fast food-chain The Wendy’s Company is taking another shot to impose liability on corporate leadership for failing to take precautions against cyber-attacks. To be clear, these derivative cases are trying to hold the directors and officers liable…

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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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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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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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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 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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(C) Luka Azman

Data Breach “Sky Is Falling”

Much like Chicken Little, data breach vendors and pundits continue to decry that the data breach sky is falling!  But is it?  A group of researchers set out to answer this very question. “Neither size nor frequency of data breaches has increased over the past decade,” concludes a new statistical analysis by Benjamin Edwards, Steven Hofmeyr and Stephanie Forrest presented during the June 2015 Workshop on the Economics of Information Security in the Netherlands. Instead, the three argue, the increases that have attracted recent media…

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computer crime

PwC Issues 2015 Cybercrime Survey Results

“It’s been a watershed year for cybercrime,” explains PricewaterhouseCoopers LLC in its 2015 report analyzing data from 500 executives across US businesses, law enforcement and government agencies.  The survey and report, co-sponsored by PwC, CSO, Carnagie Mellon University and the United States Secret Service, provides a comprehensive analysis of trends in cybercrime and cyberthreats, as well as security spending and overall manage of these growing business risks. This year, a record 79 percent of respondents detected a security incident during the past 12 months, with…

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Can A SAFETY Act Designated Product Provide Cyber-Attack Liability Protection?

“So if you use FireEye’s product you basically are prevented from being sued in the criminal justice system of America, which can save a lot of money.” According to CEO Dave DeWalt’s recent comments, it sounds like the U.S. Government stamped FireEye with a seal of approval — a ringing endorsement that’s worth a closer look.  FireEye, Inc. was issued “Certification” under the SAFETY Act for its Multi-Vector Execution (MVX) Engine and Cloud Platform.  It isn’t the only SAFETY Act approved technology; DHS’s website…

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