Credit Card Payment Coverage Declined: Cyberinsurer Not Obligated to Reimburse P.F. Chang’s for PCI Liability

In the most significant cyberinsurance coverage decision to date, an Arizona federal district court in P.F. Chang’s China Bistro v. Federal Insurance Co., No. CV-15-01322-PHX-SMM (D. Ari. May 31, 2016), granted summary judgment to Federal Insurance Company, acknowledging it had no duty to reimburse P.F. Chang’s China Bistro for payment card industry liability assessments under the CyberSecurity policy issued by Federal to P.F. Chang’s corporate parent. This decision represents a significant victory for cyberinsurers insofar as it upholds insurers’ marketing strategy of making available…
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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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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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Sony Cyberattack Lawsuit Settles for $8 Million and Establishes the New Mass Tort Class Action

The emergence of the cyber attack class action as the new mass tort was further evidenced when Sony, less than one year after the first class action was filed, has agreed to pay up to $8 million to reimburse current and former employees for losses, preventative measures and legal fees related to last year’s data breach. The agreement must still be approved by a federal judge in the Central District of California, but, under the proposed terms, Sony will pay “up to $10,000 a…
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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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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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Military Retaliation in the Age of Cyber Warfare

The Obama administration has concluded that the recent Chinese cyberattack on the Office of Personnel Management rises above the level of traditional espionage, and that retaliation is the most suitable response to the theft of 20 million American’s personal information. Exactly what the retaliation may entail and when it will come, however, are open questions. Over the past year, United States government and military computer systems have been compromised by what many believe are foreign governments, including Russian attacks on the White House, State
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Millions Exposed in Multiple Heath Data Breaches

This summer, millions of medical patients have learned that their personal information, including names, addresses, birthdates, Social Security numbers, Medicare or health plan ID numbers, and some medical information (conditions, medications, procedures and test results) may have been exposed as a result of two separate security breaches. California’s UCLA Health announced on July 21, 2015 that their information system has been attacked, possibly beginning in November 2014, and that the unencrypted medical information of over 4.5 million patients may have been accessed.  This latest breach…
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New Federal Cybersecurity Legislation and Regulations Proposed in Washington DC

This week, new legislation and regulations have been proposed to address cybersecurity concerns in new automobiles and the nation’s Bulk Electric System. On Tuesday, Senators Edward J. Markey (MA) and Richard Blumenthal (CT) introduced new legislation to address the hacking risks associated with “connected vehicles.”  The Security and Privacy in Your Car Act of 2015 would mandate that sensitive software systems be isolated and additional safeguards be added “to protect consumers from security and privacy threats to their motor vehicles”.  The legislation followed a 2014…
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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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