The FTC Gang’s All Here – Five New Commissioners Confirmed

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is widely recognized as the primary federal regulator of cybersecurity and data privacy by virtue of its authority under Section 5 of the Federal Trade Commission Act to take enforcement action against unfair and deceptive trade practices, which authority has been upheld by various courts including the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit. For just over a year, the FTC has operated with only two commissioners, one Republican and one Democrat. On April 26, 2018, the United States… Continue Reading

Papua New Guinea Shuts Down Facebook…Temporarily

The democratic government of Papua New Guinea (PNG) has announced a one-month shutdown of Facebook access within the nation, to allow the government to assess the spread of objectionable content, and to “allow information to be collected to identify users that hide behind fake accounts, users that upload pornographic images, users that post false and misleading information on Facebook to be filtered and removed.” While regimes such as Iran, North Korea, and China currently censor the social networking site, PNG is the first democratic nation… Continue Reading

Nearly a 50 percent Increase in Gulf Region Cyberattacks

Gulf Business Machines (GBM) reports a significant increase – from 28 percent in 2016 to 41 percent in 2017 — in hacking events among Gulf-based enterprises. Even so, only 31 percent of regional organizations are concerned about the detection and response to these attacks. At the 2018 Gulf Information Security Expo and Conference in Dubai that took place from May 1-3, 2018, GBM issued its Seventh Annual Cybersecurity Study, which surveyed regional organizations regarding security in the business environment. The survey polled over 600 executives… Continue Reading

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… Continue Reading

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… Continue Reading

The Yahoo Class Action: Plaintiff’s Bar Finds a New Cottage Industry

The only “surprise” in the Yahoo class action complaint, filed Friday, September 23, 2016, is that Yahoo issued a press release announcing the breach a mere one day earlier.  The class action complaint, undersigned by three law firms in San Francisco, Boca Raton, and New York, seeks certification for: “All persons within the United States whose personal information was accessed following the data breach that Yahoo announced in a press release on September 22, 2016.”  Indeed, the complaint makes a number of allegations relating directly… Continue Reading

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… Continue Reading

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 Continue Reading

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.… Continue Reading

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… Continue Reading