Electronic Data Security

Europe map with padlock symbolizing the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)With the European’s Union’s new General Data Protection Regulation (or GDPR) taking effect in less than 100 days, the interest of many U.S. Companies has been piqued as to how the GDPR may affect their overseas and internet-based businesses.  This article on CFO.com, “Why GDPR Matters,” which I co-authored with Bill Shipp from Vaxient, LLC and Jonathan Marks, CPA from Marcum, LLP, tackles this hot issue and answers why GDPR should matter to U.S. companies in a wide variety of industries.

To assist U.S.-based companies in determining how GDPR may affect their business, Fox Rothschild has also developed a GDPR mobile app called “GDPR Check” (details and download information here).  The app is designed to help companies determine which areas of their business (if any) may require GDPR compliance.

If you have any questions about how GDPR may affect your company, we encourage you to consult a knowledgeable attorney and experienced professionals.

The U.S. Treasury’s Office of the Comptroller of the Currency is out with its first Semiannual Risk Perspective report under Trump appointee Joseph Otting.

It’s not terribly rosy from a cybersecurity perspective, reports Bloomberg News.

The Comptroller’s office singled out cyberattacks as an increasing risk: “U.S. Banks are facing a growing threat from cyberattackers and making defense against them more complex by relying on third-party firms for support,” Bloomberg reports.

In addition, banks are facing attacks from hackers that exploit weaknesses in clients’ security, the report says. Click here to read the full text of the Semiannual Risk Perspective. The section on cybersecurity is on pages 14 and 15.

Last year saw multiple high-profile data breaches, enough to place cybersecurity atop any in-house attorney’s 2018 priority list.

But the threat posed by hackers isn’t the only cyber concern on the minds of in-house counsel this year, reports Corporate Counsel magazine.

In the regulatory realm, complying with the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation, which takes effect in May,  is expected to be companies’ top data privacy task of 2018. But it’s not the only one. The Chinese government also plans to impose new, below-the-radar data privacy regs that will make companies jump through another set of legal hoops.

The legal implications of new technologies, such as fitness devices that blur the line between medical and personal data collection, are also expected to challenge corporate counsel. And groundbreaking legal cases could change the law regarding who has standing to sue following a data breach in the U.S. and whether companies can use standard contractual clauses to transfer personal data out of Europe.

British businesses are stockpiling Bitcoin to payoff ransomware hackers, according to a ZDNet report.

Ransomware is a form of malware that can freeze a company’s data. It allows hackers to demand a payoff in cash — or Bitcoin — in return for restoring a business’s functionality.

In the wake of the WannaCry hacking attacks, which crippled the UK’s National Health Service, British business leaders may prefer to pay a ransom rather than disclose data breaches and suffer through government audits, fines, customer dissatisfaction and reputational damage.

Even as Bitcoin prices have fluctuated around $18,000, some companies are loading their virtual wallets and bracing for the demand of a payoff.

Read the full article.

 

The soaring value of bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies has hackers mobilizing, according to Data Breach Today.

Distributed denial-of-service attacks against bitcoin exchanges are up, and hackers have compromised software tied to “bitcoin gold,” the publication reports. While it’s not surprising, given bitcoin’s meteoric rise in value, the increased activity is raising questions about the security of cryptocurrency infrastructure.

“Not to perpetrate fear, uncertainty and doubt, but I was told by people I really respect in threat intelligence that there are at least four very advanced threat actor groups who have been attacking banks in recent years, and about a month ago, they just dropped their activities and moved over to bitcoin hacking,” Avivah Litan, vice president and distinguished analyst at Gartner Research told Data Breach Today executive editor Matthew J. Schwartz.

Click here to read the full story.

Not long ago, phishing attacks were easy to spot.

They’d be rife with misspellings or link to suspicious looking login pages. That’s changing, writes internet security expert Brian Krebs.

Hackers are getting more sophisticated, sending potential victims to legitimate looking web pages, sometimes hosted on the “secure” HTTPS domain. Web security firm PhishLabs recently reported that the number of phishing sites hosted on HTTPS has doubled in the past year.

That means companies and individuals need to keep on their toes. Krebs’ article offers some useful tips on how to thwart these new techniques.

Cybersecurity professionals must work diligently to help business leaders understand that their work is more than just technology implementation, says Greg Touhill, the federal government’s first Chief Information Security Officer. It’s risk management.

“I keep on hearing executives talk about cybersecurity being a technology problem, and they keep pouring money into buying new stuff,” rather than focusing on risk management, Touhill said in a speech to a gathering of cybersecurity pros this week in Washington DC. Instead of buying the hottest new cybersecurity tools, companies should focus on remaining current and understanding the true value of their data.

Touhill made the remarks November 29 during a presentation to attendees of the INSecurity conference, a cybersecurity gathering sponsored by industry publication Dark Reading, which reported on his speech.

 

The Financial Times reports that many nonprofits are vulnerable to cyberattacks.

Many charities simply don’t want to invest time and money defending against hackers. A 2016 study found about half of nonprofits had not conducted a cyber risk assessment, and two thirds had no plans to increase spending on data security. But hackers don’t give nonprofits a pass. The article tells the story of a small, Indianapolis, Indiana-based cancer charity that lost all its client data in a ransomware attack.

“While it is not surprising that charities want to spend scarce resources on housing the homeless or feeding the hungry, some argue that those very services could be at risk if they fail to invest in cyber security tools and practices,” according to The Financial Times report.

Cloud computing offers greater flexibility, speed, and convenience, but some businesses were hesitating to take advantage of the technology due to fears of increasing vulnerability to cyberattacks.

But a recent study reveals a marked increase in moving sensitive data to the cloud as a result of increased confidence in security – and despite continuing struggles to monitor and manage the data once it’s there.

In a post on the Dark Reading blog, Kelly Sheridan reports that fewer than 25 percent of businesses had their applications, data, and infrastructure in the cloud two years ago, but that 44 percent are cloud-based today, and 65 percent are expected to be two years from now.

Read more:

https://www.darkreading.com/cloud/security-forecast-cloudy-with-low-data-visibility/d/d-id/1330239

 

Physicians have their hands full on the best of days. It’s not difficult to imagine why using a voice assistant such as Amazon’s Alexa or Apple’s Siri might be attractive.

In fact, a recent survey showed nearly one in four physicians uses the assistants for work-related purposes, such as researching prescription drug dosing. It’s likely many are unaware of the information security dangers they pose.

In an interview with SCG Health Blog, Fox Rothschild attorneys Elizabeth Litten and Michael Kline explain that the labor-saving devices pose a bevy of data privacy and security risks, and offer doctors six helpful tips for protecting their practices.