Hacker Gains Control of German Steel Mill Operations

The  German Federal Office for Information Security (BSI) has issued a report revealing that a sophisticated hacker was able to take control of a steel mill’s computerized production system, forcing an unscheduled shut-down that caused “massive damage” to the physical plant. By using targeted emails, known as “spear phishing,” employees were tricked into opening messages that extracted login names and passwords and transmitted that information to the hacker without detection. The hacker, in turn, used the data to gain limited control of the… Continue Reading

Mandatory Reporting and “Cyber Mission Forces” Created in 2015 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA)

Beyond appropriating $560,000,000,000 for military spending for 2015, the Defense Authorization Act passed this month expands the role of the military in wide range of areas, including strategic programs in outer space, budgeting and accounting for a new “cyber mission” major force program category, and new mandatory reporting of “cyber incidents” by government contractors and agencies. Title XVI, Subtitle C of the Senate Amendment to H.R. 3979, “Cyber-Related Matters,” first directs the Secretary of Defense to submit with the 2017 budget a new program for… Continue Reading

Cybsersecurity Starts at the Top

This summer, the Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council (FFIEC), made up of the FED Board of Governors and FDIC, among others, conducted a Cybersecurity Assessment at over 500 community financial institutions to evaluate their ability to handle cyber risks.  While the data is still being analyzed in order to assist with future guidance and regulations, last month the FFIEC Cybersecurity Assessment’s “General Observations” were released. What is striking about the General Observations, which are not to be construed as guidance, is that they call out… Continue Reading

Are Third-Party Vendors the Weakest Link in your Cyber Security Chain?

So, you’ve invested in a top-rate data security system, and hired the best CISO (Chief Information Security Officer) imaginable, but have you ever audited the security of the computers used by your attorneys and accountants…to whom you disclose your company’s most confidential and sensitive information? Well, you should. As recently reported in the Wall Street Journal, today’s largest financial institutions are now putting law firms to the test when it comes to the security of the information provided to their attorneys. And, rightly so, as… Continue Reading

Can Companies Pre-Emptively Avoid Class Action Suits from Massive Data Breaches? (A Blog Series)

There’s a constant flow of news about massive data breaches nowadays.  So much so that the question for companies with large amounts of personal data storage is no longer “if” it can happen but “when” it will happen.  In this series, we’re going to discuss one method that larger companies are using to significantly reduce the risk exposure to massive data breaches: click-wrap terms of use that require users to waive participation in class actions and instead only pursue claims by way of arbitration or… Continue Reading

Breach of U.S. Public Utility

The Department of Homeland Security’s Industrial Control Systems Cyber Emergency Response Team (ICS-CERT) advised in its quarterly report that an unnamed public utility was compromised after attackers took advantage of a weak password security system by using brute force techniques by trying on various passwords until they hit the right one. This may come as no surprise to some as the vulnerability of the U.S. power grid to electronic attack has been known since the 1990’s. Factors contributing to this increasing danger include the shift… Continue Reading

Lawsuits Follow College’s Untimely Notifications – Can’t Blame the Dog…

Last year, the Maricopa County Community College District suffered a data breach in April, but waited until November before advising former students and employees that their academic and/or personal data may have been compromised.  Approximately 2.4 million people were impacted by this breach, or roughly the population of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  Among the data that may have been breached were social security numbers, dates of birth, and bank account numbers. Recently, a current student of Phoenix College sued the College District in Maricopa County Court, making… Continue Reading

Cy-“Burned” – The New Importance of Cyber Insurance

Data breaches that result in the unwanted dissemination of personal information are prevalent in the news of late, particularly given the rapid growth of electronically stored information and online commerce. A data breach can be very, very expensive even for the smallest of companies. This post was originally published on Professional Liability Matters. Please click here to read the rest of the article written by Seth L. Laver, Jessica L. Wuebker, and Matthew D. Cabral.… Continue Reading

In a Rare Move, Banks Sue Target’s Data Security Auditor

One of the recurring themes of the Target data breach is “compliance does not guarantee security.”  As if in response to the open question of whether compliance auditors should be looked at more closely, banks have started a lawsuit against Target’s data security vendor Trustwave, along with Target itself Monday in Chicago federal court.  There are already over 90 lawsuits commenced by consumer or banks against Target, but this is the first to focus on Trustwave, which audits companies’ IT systems to ensure that they… Continue Reading

More Credit Card Security On the Way

There has been a spike in the number of reported credit card breaches in recent days, including the most well-known of them all, Target, which led to the eventual resignation of its Chief Information Officer. Now, the California Department of Motor Vehicles has reportedly experienced a possible breach of its online payment system. It has become clear that the current security measures are insufficient to protect consumers and the corporate entities catering to the credit card consumer. In this regard, both Visa and MasterCard have… Continue Reading