Federal Cyber Legislation – Hurry Up and Wait

Despite the increasing number of data breaches, legislation to address this issue at the Federal level is at a standstill (or close to it). As has been noted in a variety of venues, currently, there is no comprehensive federal law to deal with data breaches. The federal law that does exist is centered on privacy issues for specific industries, e.g., Health Information Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) for health information and the Gramm-Leach Bliley Act (GLB) for financial information. While most states and the… Continue Reading

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… Continue Reading

Two GAO Reports Detail Deficiencies and Improvements in Thwarting Cyber Crimes

The Government Accountability Office (GAO) recently issued two reports on battling cyber threats that are useful for both private and public entities. The first report, issued July 2, 2015, was entitled Cybersecurity: Bank and Other Depository Regulators Need Better Data Analytics and Depository Institutions Want More Usable Threat Information. In that report, the GAO noted that while, “[d]epository institutions obtain cyber threat information from multiple sources, including federal entities such as the Department of the Treasury (Treasury)[,] [r]epresentatives from more than 50 financial institutions… Continue Reading

Sometimes Newer Isn’t Always Better: U.S. Navy is Paying Millions to Keep XP

In March 2014, Microsoft announced that it was phasing out support for its Windows XP operating system, including the continued release of patches protecting against hackers and other intrusions. Although the Windows XP platform, originally released  August 24, 2001, has been replaced by updated versions, the United States Navy agreed to pay Microsoft $9 million annually for continued support of the XP program, which runs many of the Navy’s critical systems, including the Space and Navy Warfare Systems Command.  While only 10 percent of government… Continue Reading

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… Continue Reading

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… Continue Reading

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… Continue Reading

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… Continue Reading

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.… Continue Reading

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… Continue Reading