*Article first appeared in Corporate Board Member on November 7, 2017
At a time when a major cybersecurity incident can cost a company millions, it’s crucial that acquiring companies give cybersecurity the same level of scrutiny as they do more traditional risks and opportunities in the M&A due diligence process. Yet too many deals suffer from superficial consideration of these issues.
Why the disconnect? Unlike other areas where companies face legal and regulatory implications, in-house and outside legal teams often lack well-developed methods to analyze cybersecurity risks, too often considering them technical issues beneath the notice of the bankers and lawyers. In many cases, deal teams lack the skill sets to analyze the issues effectively and cannot even speak the language of the CIOs and CISOs well enough to spot “alternative facts.” Boards need to ensure that they or their advisers—preferably both—have sufficient skills to assess cybersecurity risks and ask the right questions. (more…)
*This post originally appeared in BNA’s Corporate Law & Accountability Report on November 6, 2017.
Cyberattacks and data breaches are increasingly the subject of front-page headlines and can have material effects on our personal lives. And yet, reports suggest that many corporate directors and managers remain relatively unaware of important cybersecurity issues, risks, and strategies that directly relate to their organizations.
For example: imagine that your company has fallen victim to a successful cyberattack and customer data was stolen. In the aftermath, the securities plaintiffs’ bar undoubtedly will be searching for stockholders to(among other things) pursue claims for violations of state and federal securities laws and/or for breaches of fiduciary duty against the company’s board. Are you, your colleagues, managers, and directors prepared to respond to and manage this type of incident and the subsequent litigation and regulatory investigations? Have you documented your diligence in governing cybersecurity risk? For many, the answer may be no.
This article discusses the scope of this problem, how it can directly impact you and your company, and steps you can take now to help prepare for the unknown. It is certainly true that even the best cybersecurity programs cannot guarantee deterrence of all attacks. But such programs unquestionably mitigate the risk of a breach, support organizational resilience, and help control the fallout should one occur.
On October 3, 2017, the Article 29 Working Party (“WP29”) adopted draft guidelines regarding notification of personal data breaches under the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (“GDPR”) which will require breach notification within 72 hours of awareness of a breach. (“Draft Guidelines”) (The Draft Guidelines appear to have been released for public comment during the week of 16th October). The deadline for comment is November 24, 2017. The Draft Guidelines are available here. The WP29 is a collective of EU data privacy supervisory authorities (“DPAs”). (more…)
With the continued rise of data breaches rooted in a compromise of user credentials, interest has continued to build in more secure form of digital identities for authentication. Supporting controls for federal agencies as well as innovation in the market, the National Institute of Standards and Technology (“NIST”) published its four-volume Digital Identity Guidelines earlier this year on June 22, 2017. The Guidelines encourage online service providers (“OSPs”) to adopt design practices that promise to reduce unnecessary user frustration with password and identity verification systems, while at the same time increasing security. The primary purpose of the Guidelines is to promulgate technical requirements for federal agencies, businesses, however, could use the Guidelines as a baseline for their own cybersecurity systems—both to establish credibility and enhance the user experience. (more…)
The National Association of Insurance Commissioners held its Summer 2017 National Meeting in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania from August 6 to 9, 2017. This Sidley Update summarizes the highlights from this meeting. (more…)
Governor John Carney signed Delaware’s updated breach notification law on August 17, 2017. The revised law, which will come into force on April 14, 2018, includes key changes to the definition of personal information, introduces credit monitoring obligations, and heightens notice requirements. The law will also create new general information security requirements. (more…)
On August 15, the FTC announced that it had reached an agreement with Uber to settle allegations that the company had made deceptive claims about its privacy and data security practices. The FTC’s settlement with Uber has important implications for privacy and data security measures that companies could take, and the representations they and their employees make in these areas. It also shed greater light on what the FTC means by “reasonable data security” measures that companies should implement, and underscores the importance of maintaining a robust insider threat prevention program. (more…)
On August 7, 2017, the SEC’s Office of Compliance Inspections and Examinations (OCIE) issued a cybersecurity Risk Alert summarizing its observations from its second cybersecurity survey of financial services firms. Overall, OCIE observed increased cybersecurity preparedness since its first 2014 “Cybersecurity 1” Initiative, but also the SEC noted a number of areas where compliance and oversight merit attention. Perhaps the most general observation from the “Cybersecurity 2” risk alert is that, while the OCIE noted that most firms now have written policies and procedures, the message was clear that simply having a generic policy is not adequate. Firms must instead have policies that are adapted to their actual operations as well as procedures that demonstrate the implementation of these policies and documented results of compliance with those procedures. (more…)
The D.C. Circuit recently widened a significant circuit split regarding standing in data breach cases by overturning a district court’s dismissal of a complaint for lack of standing. See Attias v. CareFirst, Inc., D.C. Cir. No. 16-7108.
Courts have long been occupied by the question of whether the mere fact of having personal information subject to unauthorized acquisition is, in itself, an injury sufficient for standing. Hopes were high that the Supreme Court would resolve the issue in Spokeo, Inc. v. Robins, 136 S. Ct. 1540 (2016). In that case, the Supreme Court held that plaintiffs who allege violations of statutes that contain a private right of action and statutory damages must establish not only “invasion of a legally protected interest,” but also that they suffered a “concrete and particularized” harm, in order to satisfy Article III’s standing requirement. Defense counsel were cheered by the restatement of the law of standing, but plaintiffs have argued that Spokeo opened the door for even the most minor of statutory violations even in the absence of quantifiable damage. The Spokeo ruling has had substantial but unpredictable implications for data breach litigation. Federal courts of appeals have subsequently reached different conclusions about how Spokeo applies to allegations of an increased risk of identity theft following a data breach with several circuits overtly splitting over the issue. (more…)