It is a common story: An employee who knows he is about to leave his employer for a competitor uses his last days of computer access to download (or email himself) confidential information from his employer’s network. Once his employer discovers the misappropriation, the employee has moved on to his next job, leaving the employer scrambling to protect itself, often through a tangle of state-law tort and trade-secret claims.
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Transportation Security Administration (“TSA”) issued a Security Directive, “Enhancing Pipeline Cybersecurity” on May 28, laying out new cybersecurity requirements for operators of liquids and natural gas pipelines and LNG facilities designated as critical infrastructure.
The Colonial Pipeline ransomware attack shone a spotlight on the importance and potential vulnerabilities of U.S. critical energy infrastructure. Join our panel of energy industry and cybersecurity thought leaders for a discussion of the threats targeting the industry today, the state of the law when it comes to safeguarding against cyberattacks, and what to expect from Congress and the Administration as calls for increased regulation intensify.
The Biden administration issued a lengthy Executive Order, “Improving the Nation’s Cybersecurity,” on May 12, which it described as the “first of many ambitious steps” toward modernizing U.S. cybersecurity defenses. The White House simultaneously issued an explanatory fact sheet and background press call.
Pursuant to the Order, government agencies will be required to deploy multifactor authentication, encryption, endpoint detection response, and logging and operate under the principle of a “zero-trust” environment. A clear purpose of the Order is to improve the security of commercial software, including by establishing baseline security requirements based on industry best practices. As the White House press briefer stated, the Order will impose “the power of federal procurement to say, ‘If you’re doing business with us, we need you to practice really good — really good cybersecurity. And, most importantly, we really need you to focus on secure software development.’”
There just may be a new cybersecurity regulator in town.
In an effort it describes as “an important step” toward safeguarding more than $9.3 trillion in retirement assets, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) published its first cybersecurity guidance last week (Cybersecurity Guidance). The Cybersecurity Guidance is directed at plan sponsors and fiduciaries regulated by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA) as well as plan participants and beneficiaries. Significantly, the Cybersecurity Guidance formally states the DOL’s position that cybersecurity is a matter of fiduciary responsibility under ERISA, stating that ERISA requires plan fiduciaries to take appropriate precautions to mitigate cybersecurity risks.
For over two and a half years, California has enjoyed the spotlight of having the most comprehensive data privacy law in the United States. On March 2, 2021, Virginia forced California to share the honors, when Democratic Gov. Ralph Northam signed into law the Virginia Consumer Data Protection Act (VCDPA).
The VCDPA, which will not enter into effect until January 1, 2023, borrows heavily from the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) and the European Union (EU) General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). Perhaps because Virginia was able to benefit from the experience of businesses that have spent the better part of the last five years implementing the GDPR or the CCPA, the Virginia law is less prescriptive and more straightforward than its predecessors, with (one would hope) a correspondingly lighter implementation burden on companies. Nonetheless, there is just enough different in the VCDPA that businesses with a connection to Virginia will need to evaluate whether the law applies to them and how they will comply.
While an exegesis of the VCDPA is beyond the scope of today’s Data Matters post, this alert is designed to assist such efforts in three ways. First, we lay out the VCDPA’s scope, providing preliminary insight into which businesses the law will cover. Second, we highlight the key ways the VCDPA differs from — and, more important, extends beyond — the CCPA and GDPR so that businesses will have an initial sense of what, if any, unique obligations the VCDPA will place on them. Finally, for completeness’s sake, the post briefly summarizes the law’s key elements.
On January 28, 2021, the UK Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) published Consultation Paper CP21/3, “Changes to the SCA-RTS and to the guidance in ‘Payment Services and Electronic Money – Our Approach’ and the Perimeter Guidance Manual” (Consultation Paper). This follows the FCA’s announcement in its 2020-21 business plan that payment services were one of its main supervisory priorities1 and its temporary guidance of July 9, 2020, on prudential risk management and safeguarding in light of the COVID-19 pandemic (Temporary COVID Guidance).
The FCA is proposing amendments to:
- the UK onshored versions of EU technical standards on strong customer authentication (SCA) and common and secure methods of communication (UK SCA-RTS);
- its Approach Document on Payment Services and Electronic Money (Approach Document); and
- its Perimeter Guidance Manual (PERG).
On February 4, 2021, the New York Department of Financial Services (NYDFS) issued Circular Letter No. 2 announcing a Cyber Insurance Risk Framework (the Framework) that describes industry best practices for New York-regulated property/casualty insurers. Issuance of the Framework is notable as it represents the first official guidance by a U.S. regulator concerning the increasingly critical issue of cyberinsurance. And while circular letters do not establish new legal requirements or have the force of law, they do set forth the department’s interpretation of the requirements of existing laws and regulations.1
Released on February 1, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) 2021 Report on its Examination and Risk Monitoring Program (Report) provides a roadmap for member firms to use to prepare for examinations and to review and assess compliance and supervisory procedures related to business practices, compliance, and operations. The Report replaces two of FINRA’s prior annual publications: (1) the Report on Examination Findings and Observations, which provided an analysis of prior examination results, and (2) the Risk Monitoring and Examination Program Priorities Letter, which highlighted areas FINRA planned to review in the coming year.
Most cybersecurity professionals are aware of the New York Department of Financial Service’s requirement imposed on DFS-licensed entities to certify their cybersecurity program’s compliance on an annual basis (by April 15th of each year), but less well known is that numerous other states impose similar requirements on regulated insurance entities and that deadline for many states is coming up on February 15, 2021.