Archives: Data Security

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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

Sharing of Passwords Under Certain Circumstances Unlawful

Many companies have experienced the departure of an employee and the elimination of that former employees access to the company’s computers and networks. In the recent case of USA v. Nosal, D.C. No. 3:08-cr-00237-EMC-1 (July 5, 2016), the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals was presented with the following facts:  Nosal, a former employee of Korn/Ferry … Continue Reading

Smaller HIPAA Breaches To Get More Attention by Office for Civil Rights

The HIPAA breach notification rule has two buckets for classifying data breaches – those that involve “protected health information” (PHI) of 500 or more individuals and those that involve fewer than 500 individuals. Since the breach notification rule became effective, the Office of Civil Rights’ (OCR) focus has been on the 500 and over bucket. But … Continue Reading

HIPAA and $15 Million in 2016

For years, many questioned whether the HIPAA privacy and security rules would be enforced. The agency responsible for enforcement, Health and Human Services’ Office for Civil Rights (OCR), promised it would enforce the rules, but just after a period “soft” enforcement and compliance assistance. That period appears to be ending. During the first seven months … Continue Reading

The Privacy Shield Is Finally Here

Earlier today the European Union and U.S. officials announced the final approval of the EU-U.S. Privacy Shield data transfer agreement (“the Privacy Shield”).  Beginning August 1, 2016, organizations based in the U.S. will be able to self-certify their compliance with the Privacy Shield. The Privacy Shield is meant to replace the EU-U.S. Safe Harbour agreement … Continue Reading

5 Practice Tips for Law Firms as Data Breach Spotlight Swings Their Way

While data breach incidents affecting the entertainment, retail, healthcare, and financial industries have garnered more attention in past years, the data breach spotlight recently shifted to law firms. This shift was triggered by media coverage of the breach and leak of the Panama Papers, and by reports that, in 2015, hackers breached the networks of … Continue Reading

Illinois Enacts Amendments to the Personal Information Protection Act

Last month, Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner signed into law a number of amendments to the State’s Personal Information Protection Act (“PIPA”) that expand the definition of protected personal information and increase certain data breach notification requirements.  The amendments, highlighted below, take effect January 1, 2017. Currently, “personal information” is limited to an individual’s first name … Continue Reading

European Parliament: EU-U.S. Privacy Shield Needs Further Improvement

Earlier today, the European Parliament passed a non-legislative resolution saying the EU Commission should go back to negotiating with the United States to remedy “deficiencies” in the proposed EU-U.S. Privacy Shield for EU citizens’ data which is transferred to the US for commercial purposes. The resolution, which passed by a vote of 501-119, with 31 … Continue Reading

Nebraska Amends Data Breach Notification Law

On April 13, 2016, Nebraska’s breach notification statute was amended when Governor Pete Ricketts signed LB835 into law.  The Amendment included a variety of changes, including a regulator notification requirement and broadens the definition of “personal information” in the state data breach notification statute, Neb. Rev. Stat. §87-802 – 87-804. These amendments become effective on … Continue Reading

Employers Beware of Phishing Scams

On April 20, 2016, a class action lawsuit was filed in the United States District Court, Southern District of California against Sprouts Farmers Market, Inc. The lawsuit was initiated by a former employee whose W-2 was allegedly disclosed as part of a phishing scam that occurred in late March 2016 amid reports that Sprouts’ employees … Continue Reading

Tennessee Amends Breach Notification Statute

On March 24, 2016, Tennessee’s breach notification statute was amended when Governor Bill Haslam signed into law S.B. 2005. Under the amendment, notification of a data breach must now be provided to any affected Tennessee resident within 45-days after discovery of the breach (absent a delay request from law enforcement).  Previously, and like the vast majority of … Continue Reading

Check Your Spam Filter, You Might Have Been Selected for a HIPAA Audit!

Yesterday, the federal Office for Civil Rights (OCR) announced Phase 2 of its HIPAA Audit Program (Program). In its announcement, the OCR reports that the Program is underway and provides some helpful FAQs for covered entities and business associates about the Program. Preparation is critical and there are some key points covered entities and business … Continue Reading
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