Archives: Data Security

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$3.2M Fine for Failure to Protect Electronic Records

The Department of Health and Human Services Office of Civil Rights (“OCR”) fined a Texas hospital $3.2 million for its impermissible disclosure of unsecured electronic protected health information (ePHI) and non-compliance over many years with multiple standards of the HIPAA Security Rule. Children’s Medical Center of Dallas filed breach reports with OCR in 2010 and … Continue Reading

Expert Insights on Developing a Physical Security Program

In today’s digital age, security tends to be thought about in terms of firewalls, malware, encryption and other safeguards for electronic systems. But the security of those systems, as well as an organization’s facilities, people and other critical assets depends significantly on physical security as well. We are delighted to share below some thoughts from an ASIS board certified expert … Continue Reading

IRS Issues Warning About W-2 Cyber-Scams, Especially for Schools, Nonprofits and Tribal Organizations

On February 2, 2017, the IRS issued a warning to all employers regarding the resurgence of a W-2 based cyber scam. The scam, which targets the corporate world during tax season, is currently “spreading to other sectors, including school districts, tribal organizations and nonprofits.” (irs.gov/news-events). This cyber-scam is simple, but highly successful. It consists of … Continue Reading

SCOTUS Won’t Slime Viacom in Class Action Challenging Tracking Children Online

A class action alleging Viacom illegally obtained and disclosed personally identifiable information from children under the age of thirteen through the Nickelodeon website recently reached the end of line (almost) when the class’ petition for writ of certiorari was denied by the Supreme Court this month. The high court chose not to further define the … Continue Reading

Maureen K. Ohlhausen Appointed as Acting FTC Chairwoman

On January 13, current FTC chairwoman Edith Ramirez announced that she would resign from her position effective February 10, 2017. Ramirez was instrumental in increasing the FTC’s cybersecurity enforcement authority, going after a wide range of data security related private offenders and demonstrating the FTC’s cyber “watchdog” status. Last Wednesday, January 25, President Trump’s administration … Continue Reading

NY Attorney General Schneiderman Settles Data Breach Investigation

New York State Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman announced a settlement with Acer Service Corporation (a Taiwanese computer manufacturer) relating to the NYSAG’s investigation of a breach of Acer’s data. The data breach, first reported in June, 2016, involved data for over 35,000 customers throughout the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico, including 2,250 customers … Continue Reading

Top 10 for 2017 – Happy Data Privacy Day

In honor of Data Privacy Day, we provide the following “Top 10 for 2017.”  While the list is by no means exhaustive, it does provide some hot topics for organizations to consider in 2017. 1.  Phishing Attacks and Ransomware – Phishing, as the name implies, is the attempt, usually via email, to obtain sensitive or personal … Continue Reading

A New Kind of Employee Badge – Monitoring, Analytics and More

It is not uncommon for employers to assign badges to their employees to grant access to certain locations on the employer’s property and parking garages. Many employees have them, use them, lose them and think little of them. But, badges made by Humanyze are so much more, raising concerns from privacy advocates and others. According … Continue Reading

FTC Chairwoman Edith Ramirez Steps Down

The Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) recently announced that FTC chairwoman Edith Ramirez will be stepping down effective February 10, 2017. Ms. Ramirez guided the agency through a period of significant enforcement activity, particularly in the areas of cybersecurity and consumer privacy. President-elect Donald Trump will now have the opportunity to fill three vacancies at the … Continue Reading

The White House’s Revisions to its Breach Response Policy For Federal Agencies and Departments Also Affect Contractors

On January 3, 2017, the Obama Administration issued a memorandum to all executive departments and agencies setting for a comprehensive policy for handling breaches of personally identifiable information (the “Memorandum”), replacing earlier guidance. Importantly, the Memorandum also affects federal agency contractors as well as grant recipients. The Memorandum is not the first set of guidance … Continue Reading

Thomas Bossert Selected to be President-elect Trump’s Top Counterterrorism Advisor

As we’ve noted previously, President-elect Trump’s campaign was light on details about his plans to address cybersecurity. However, his announcement yesterday that Thomas P. Bossert will serve as his assistant for homeland security and counterterrorism, a position equal in status to national security advisor according to the transition team, may offer greater insight into the President-elect’s intentions … Continue Reading

DFS’ Proposed Cybersecurity Regulation Edges Closer to Becoming Final Following Public Hearing

The New York State Assembly Committee on Banks held a public hearing on December 19, 2016, receiving testimony about both the benefits and challenges of a recently proposed regulation to address the growing threat posed by cyber-attacks on banks, insurance companies and most other entities which are regulated by the Department of Financial Services (DFS). The … Continue Reading

Study Finds Companies May Do Too Much For Data Breach Victims

A recent study at the University of Arkansas suggests that organizations should avoid doing too much for individuals affected by a data breach. That is, when organizations provide compensation to breach victims that exceeds the victims’ expectations it could backfire. Those victims may become suspicious, thinking the organization has something to hide, which could have … Continue Reading

Pension Plan Suffers Cybersecurity Attack, ERISA Advisory Council Offers Cybersecurity Recommendations to DOL

It has been reported that infamous bank robber, Slick Willie Sutton, once said, “I rob banks because that’s where the money is.” Data thieves, understandably, have a similar strategy – go where the data is. The retail industry knows this as it has been a popular target for payment card data. The healthcare and certain … Continue Reading

California Amends Its Data Breach Notification Law…Again

Under this most recent change to California’s breach notification laws (California Civil Code sections 1798.29 and 1798.82), which takes effect January 1, 2017, businesses and agencies subject to the laws can no longer assume that notification is not required when the personal information involved in the breach is encrypted. Under current California law, notification of … Continue Reading

President Donald J. Trump – What Lies Ahead for Privacy, Cybersecurity, e-Communication?

Following a brutal campaign – one laced with Wikileaks’ email dumps, confidential Clinton emails left unprotected, flurries of Twitter and other social media activity – it will be interesting to see how a Trump Administration will address the serious issues of privacy, cybersecurity and electronic communications, including in social media. Mr. Trump had not been … Continue Reading

FCC Adopts New Privacy Rules

Late last month, the Federal Communications Commission adopted new privacy rules for broadband Internet service providers (ISPs).  We first discussed this topic in March when the proposal was introduced by the FCC Chairman.  The rules are intended to protect the privacy of consumers and to provide customers with meaningful choice, greater transparency, and strong security … Continue Reading

Cyber Security Awareness Needs To Last Beyond October

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has designed October as National Cyber Security Awareness Month. But as we leave October, remember that data security is an ongoing challenge that requires continued vigilance not just from information system hacking, but also from employee error and other threats. Setting up a comprehensive training and awareness program is … Continue Reading

EU Top Court Rules IP Addresses Maybe Protected Personal Data

In a decision that could have significant impact for online companies that have European operations, the European Union’s (EU) top court ruled that Internet Protocol addresses (IP addresses) could, under certain circumstances, constitute protected data under EU data protection law (Breyer v. Bundesrepublik Deutschland, E.C.J., No. C-582/14, 10/19/16).  As most of us know, the IP … Continue Reading

How Much Do You Spend on Cybersecurity…and on What?

Fortune.com reported that according to an International Data Corporation (IDC) forecast, by 2020, spending on security-related hardware, software, and services will eclipse $100 billion. However, consulting company NTT Com Security recently surveyed 1,000 executives and found only about half of them reported having a formal plan to respond to a data breach. Franklin wisely noted … Continue Reading

DoD Updates Cyber Incident Reporting Rule

On October 4, 2016, a final rule was published in the Federal Register which implements statutory requirements for Department of Defense (DoD) contractors and subcontractors to report cyber incidents that result in an actual or potentially adverse effect on a covered contractor information system or covered defense information residing therein, or on a contractor’s ability to … Continue Reading

HHS Issues Cloud Computing Guidance Which Is Helpful To All Users of Cloud Services

Last week, the Department of Health and Human Services’ Office for Civil Rights (OCR) provided guidance for HIPAA covered entities and business associates that use or want to use cloud computing services involving protected health information (PHI). Covered entities and business associates seeking cloud services often have many concerns regarding HIPAA compliance, and this guidance … Continue Reading

New York State Proposes Cybersecurity Regulation Impacting Banks, Insurance Companies & Other Financial Services Institutions

New York Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced yesterday a new proposed regulation to address the growing threat posed by cyber-attacks. According to the State’s press release, the proposed regulation, which is subject to a 45-day notice and public comment period before final issuance, “aims to protect consumer data and financial systems from terrorist organizations and other … Continue Reading

3 Essential Steps For Responding To Ransomware Attacks

Likely because most victims comply with their demands, the incidence of attacks by ransomware hackers has exploded in 2016. Guidance issued by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (“HHS”) in July notes that, on average, there have been 4,000 reported ransomware attacks per day thus far in 2016, far exceeding the average of … Continue Reading
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