SEC Issues “WannaCry” Ransomware Alert to Broker-Dealers and Investment Companies

On May 17, 2017, the SEC’s Office of Compliance Inspections and Enforcement (OCIE) issued a cybersecurity alert to the securities firms it regulates. OCIE advised broker-dealers and investment companies to take certain actions in connection with the recent WannaCry and Wanna Decryptor ransomware attacks that affected numerous organizations in over one hundred countries.  Specifically, OCIE encouraged firms as follows:

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Responding to WannaCry

*This post was originally distributed as a privacy and cybersecurity client alert on Monday, May 15, 2017.  Sign up for our privacy and cybersecurity distribution list here.

As you likely will have heard, there is an ongoing major cyber-attack involving the WannaCry ransomware. It is affecting businesses across the world and across sectors, including financial services firms, healthcare entities and even manufacturers. We are actively advising clients on cybersecurity matters, and we have recently guided clients through ransomware attacks. We have also recently authored a major report on improving transatlantic cybersecurity in collaboration with the US Chamber of Commerce.

Following the WannaCry attack, many companies and their counsel will need to consider and coordinate the following:

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President Trump Signs Executive Order on Cybersecurity at Federal Agencies

On Thursday, May 11, President Trump signed an executive order aimed at strengthening the cybersecurity of federal networks and critical infrastructure.  The order is expected to prompt a broad examination of cybersecurity vulnerabilities at federal agencies and re-orient federal cybersecurity efforts toward modernization and shared services.  The order also reaffirms the previous administration’s approach to cybersecurity protections for critical infrastructure – with increased emphasis on the power grid – and seeks to promote the growth and sustainment of the nation’s cybersecurity workforce in the public and private sectors. 

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Sidley’s Third Annual Privacy and Cybersecurity Roundtable

On April 18 in the DC office, Sidley hosted the firm’s third annual Privacy and Cybersecurity Roundtable for over 70 clients. Speakers included a senior representative of the European Data Protection Supervisor, senior officials from the Office of the New York State Attorney General and the Federal Trade Commission, legal, policy and compliance leaders from Facebook and Gannett, along with several members of the firm’s privacy, securities law and governance groups.

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Second Circuit Declares Retailer Victory in Data Breach Case

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit ruled on May 3 that a plaintiff who claimed that her credit card information was stolen in a data breach, but who failed to point to any particular out-of-pocket expense or inconvenience, does not have Article III standing to sue. In summarily affirming the dismissal of plaintiff’s complaint, the Second Circuit explained that amorphous fear of an increased threat of identity theft is not sufficient to create standing. The Second Circuit also held that, where a data breach has exposed only credit card information, and the plaintiff cancels the credit card, there is no plausible risk of future harm sufficient to confer standing.

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New German Federal Data Protection Act Passed by German Parliament; Provisions Could Conflict with GDPR Undermining Uniformity

On 27 April 2017 the German Parliament passed the new Federal Data Protection Act (the Bundesdatenschutzgesetz or “new BDSG”) which from 25 May 2018 will replace the current German Data Protection Act. The new BDSG adapts German law in line with the EU’s new General Data Protection Regulation (the “GDPR”). The GDPR has direct effect in EU members states, but it allows member states to pass legislation which supplements the GDPR but is consistent with it.

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