On Friday, May 29, the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) issued the first in a series of six Cyber Essentials Toolkits.  These toolkits are described as “bite-sized actions for IT and C-suite leadership to work toward full implementation of each Cyber Essential,” focused on building a company’s cyber readiness.
Continue Reading CISA Issues First Installment of Cyber Essentials

The Securities and Exchange Commission recently published a set of observations designed to assist financial market participants. While not legally binding, the observations are guideposts for investment companies, securities issuers, and others. They outline steps to improve cyber preparedness and to protect against well-known and evolving cybersecurity threats faced by companies in the United States and worldwide.
Continue Reading Buyers (And Sellers) Beware!: SEC Observations on Cybersecurity and Resiliency

Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification (“CMMC”) v.1.0, after releasing several draft versions of the document over the past year. In an effort to enhance supply chain security, the CMMC sets forth unified cybersecurity standards that DOD contractors and suppliers (at all tiers, regardless of size or function) must meet to participate in future DOD acquisitions. Through the CMMC, DOD adds cybersecurity as a foundational element to the current DOD acquisition criteria of cost, schedule, and performance. We have previously discussed CMMC on our Government Contracts & Investigations Blog.
Continue Reading CMMC Version 1.0: Enhancing DOD’s Supply Chain Cybersecurity

The FTC recently summarized three major changes it made to its orders in data security cases. In a blog signaling these changes, the FTC Indicated that some of the things it has been requiring of companies in 2019 are here to stay.
Continue Reading New Trends Emerge in FTC Data Security Orders, Including Emphasis on C-Suite Involvement

In response to the killing of Major General Qassim Suleimani, the government of Iran and its supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, have declared the country’s intention to strike back at the United States. According to reports, their desire is to respond proportionally, but not start a war, and they are contemplating multiple options, any subset of which they may implement.
Continue Reading Iran’s Imminent Cybersecurity Threat

The Department of Homeland Security Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency recently released its Cyber Essentials guide. Consistent with the NIST Cybersecurity Framework, these Cyber Essentials provide “a starting point to cyber readiness,” and are specifically aimed at small businesses and local government agencies that may have fewer resources to dedicate to cybersecurity.  The guide suggests a holistic approach for managing cyber risks, and is broken down into six “Essential Elements of a Culture of Cyber Readiness:” (1) Yourself; (2) Your Staff; (3) Your Systems; (4) Your Surroundings; (5) Your Data; and (6) Your Actions Under Stress. The final section of the guide provides a list of steps that can be taken immediately to increase organizational preparedness against cyber risks. These include backing up data, implementing multi-factor authentication, enabling automatic updates, and deploying patches quickly.
Continue Reading CISA Releases “Cyber Essentials” to Assist Small Businesses

“Internet of Things” devices are listening.  And now the federal government is taking notice. As we reported in our Government Contracts and Investigations blog, to date, federal cybersecurity regulations for government contractors focus on implementing safeguards to protect sensitive government data. A gap has emerged where the federal government purchases IoT devices. Those devices collect and send data online, and are thus are susceptible to hacking and listening in. Proposed legislation recently introduced in both the Senate (S.734) and the House (H.R. 1668) calls for new information security standards to manage these cybersecurity risks. This legislation would affect a wide range of IoT devices. I.e., a device connect to the internet that is not a “general purpose computing device.”
Continue Reading Feds Want New IoT Guidance to Address Security Vulnerabilities

For the fourth year running, the Securities and Exchange Commission’s Office continues to list cybersecurity as one of the top enforcement priorities for 2019. As it relates to cybersecurity, the SEC will be focusing on ensuring companies have proper configuration of network storage devices, robust information security governance, and established policies and procedures specific to protecting retail investors’ trading information and preventing cyber intrusions into retail brokerage accounts. The SEC also wants to see that companies manage both their own systems (including legacy systems), as well as maintaining adequate oversight of the practices of their partners and affiliates.
Continue Reading SEC To Focus on Cybersecurity in 2019

Ohio recently followed South Carolina as the second state to adopt cybersecurity legislation modeled after the NAIC’s Insurance Data Security Model Law. The Ohio law, Senate Bill 273, applies to insurers authorized to do business in Ohio and goes into effect today, March 20, 2019 (the first day of Spring). Companies have, under the law, a year to put the security measures into place. The law, like the NAIC model, requires insurance providers to take several steps to protect personal information, including conducting risk assessments and having a written information security program and incident response plan. Smaller insurers -those with less than 20 employees, less than $5 million in gross annual revenue, and less than $10 million in assets- are exempt from the security program requirements. HIPAA-compliant companies are also exempt from the program requirements. The law impacts how companies select third-party service providers, and requires certification of compliance annually.
Continue Reading Happy First Day of Spring! Ohio Insurance Law Effective Today

In the aftermath of Equifax’s data breach, a federal court recently found that allegations of poor cybersecurity coupled with misleading statements supported a proper cause of action. In its decision, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia allowed a securities fraud class action case to continue against Equifax. The lawsuit claims the company issued false or misleading statements regarding the strength and quality of its cybersecurity measures. In their amended complaint, the plaintiffs cite Equifax’s claims of “strong data security and confidentiality standards” and “a highly sophisticated data information network that includes advanced security, protections and redundancies,” when, according to the plaintiffs’ allegations, Equifax’s cybersecurity practices “were grossly deficient and outdated” and “failed to implement even the most basic security measures.” The court found that data security is a core aspect of Equifax’s business and that investors are likely to review representations on data security when making their investment decisions.
Continue Reading Court Finds Cybersecurity-Related Claims Sufficient in Securities Class Action

The U.S. Government is increasingly taking the initiative to alert companies to the cybersecurity risks of certain foreign corporations. Whether by issuing binding directives on agencies, passing laws or promulgating regulations that include prohibitions on the use of these companies’ products – including by government contractors, the Government is becoming less reluctant to interfere in the private market in favor of warning American companies of the cybersecurity dangers out there.
Continue Reading When the U.S. Government Declares Companies Cyber-Insecure, We Should All Pay Attention