Archives: Written Information Security Program

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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

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

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

FTC Joins Other Agencies In Warning Organizations About Ransomware

Earlier this month, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) blogged about How to defend against ransomware, and published Ransomware – A Closer Look in the “Tips and Advice” section of its website. This follows warnings from other federal agencies and law enforcement concerning this serious online threat to organizations, such as Dept. of Health and Human … 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

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

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

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

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

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

Should We Train Our Employees About Good Data Privacy and Security Practices?

Yes! It is the law in more places and circumstances than you suspect. Check out our report to learn more, including suggestions for setting up a training program. Late last year, The Wall Street Journal reported on a survey by the Association of Corporate Counsel (“ACC”) that found “employee error” is the most common reason for a … Continue Reading

The Inexplicit Requirement and Definitive Necessity for Employers to Implement Privacy Policies

In the face of seemingly daily news reports of company data breaches and the mounting legislative concern and efforts on both the state and federal level to enact laws safeguarding personal information maintained by companies, employers should be questioning whether they should implement privacy policies to address the protection of personal information they maintain on … Continue Reading

HIPAA Covered Entities Not Responsible For Intercepted Transmission of PHI When Individual Requested Unsecured Transmission, Office for Civil Rights Concludes

Earlier this month, the Office for Civil Rights (OCR) issued guidance on an individual’s right to access the individual’s health information. That an individual has a broad right to access has been recognized in the HIPAA privacy regulations since they became effective in 2003. OCR has found, however, that individuals are facing obstacles to accessing their … Continue Reading

President Seeks $19 Billion and Creates a Commission to Address Cybersecurity

President Barack Obama requested $19 billion in his budget for 2017 to address cybersecurity in the United States, $5 billion more than was budgeted for the current year. Today, he issued an Executive Order that will create a commission within the Department of Commerce to be known as the “Commission on Enhancing National Cybersecurity.” So, … Continue Reading

Top 10 for 2016 – Happy Data Privacy Day

In honor of Data Privacy Day, we provide the following “Top 10 for 2016.”  While the list is by no means exhaustive, it does provide some hot topics for organizations to consider in 2016. EU/U.S. Data Transfer (status of Safe Harbor).  On October 6, 2015, the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) ruled … Continue Reading

North Carolina Employees are not “Authorized” to Divert Employer Data

As the year draws to a close, employer claims under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (“CFAA”) against departing employees for stealing or otherwise diverting employer information without authorization to do so are dying slow deaths in many federal courts across the nation. As noted over on the Non-Compete and Trade Secrets Report, the U.S. … Continue Reading

Employers Can Provide Credit Monitoring and Other Identity Protection Services to Employees Tax-Free BEFORE a Breach Happens, IRS Says

Earlier this year, we reported that the Internal Revenue Service clarified that it would not consider the value of credit monitoring and other identity protection services provided by employers to employees in connection with a data breach to be taxable income to the employees. IRS Announcement 2015-22. In response to comments, the IRS expanded this … Continue Reading

DNC, Bernie Sanders’ Data Breach – Breaches Are Not Just About Social Security Numbers or Payment Cards

Are pundits discussing the personal information allegedly accessed by a campaign staffer for Bernie Sanders? No, not really, and that is the point. Scheduled to debate tonight at St. Anselm College in Manchester, New Hampshire, Democratic presidential candidates Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton are almost certain to joust over an alleged intrusion into Clinton’s voter … Continue Reading
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