Six months after a massive data breach at credit reporting company Equifax, Inc. handed hackers the personal information of nearly 150 million Americans, the fallout continues. Equifax first disclosed in September that hackers used a flaw in its website software to extract the personal information of as many as 145.5 million people. The stolen data included names, Social Security numbers, birth dates, addresses, and driver’s license numbers. In just the first two months following the breach, Equifax incurred $87.5 million of expenses, and that number is now expected to grow to $439 million by the end of 2018, making this, potentially, the most expensive reported data breach to date.
Last week, a federal district judge in California shot down Facebook, Inc.’s second attempt to dismiss a putative class action alleging that its facial recognition software violates the Illinois Biometric Privacy Act (BIPA). The court found that plaintiffs had standing to proceed under the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in Spokeo, Inc. v. Robbins because the alleged BIPA violation was sufficient to give rise to a “concrete injury” for purposes of bringing suit.
On February 27, 2018, The New York Times featured an op-ed written by Craig A. Newman, Chair of Patterson Belknap’s Privacy and Data Security Practice, entitled “Can the United States Search Data Overseas?” Mr. Newman discusses the critical question in United States v Microsoft, which is pending before the Supreme Court: should the U.S. law enforcement have access to emails stored outside the country? He argues that the fundamental problem of storing data across borders will not be solved by this case, and that legislative action is necessary to properly govern “the vast stores of electronic data that move seamlessly across international borders.”
Shareholders may have found a new hook for data security lawsuits.
Today, financial institutions with ties to New York are spending their Valentine’s Day learning how to use the New York State Department of Financial Services (DFS) web portal.
Almost a year ago, the DFS unveiled one of the most aggressive efforts in the nation to crack down on cybercrime in the banking and insurance industries. And by tomorrow, more than 3,000 firms are required to file through the agency’s online portal their first ever compliance certificate, swearing that their organization has satisfied the first phase of requirements under the state’s new cybersecurity regulation.
Recently-issued guidance from the U.S. Department of Education (ED) threatens to “yank” Title IV funding for post-secondary institutions lacking appropriate data security safeguards. The guidance comes as the risk of educational data breaches has intensified, as we have previously reported. The stakes are even higher now that ED has put Title IV recipients on notice that, beginning in fiscal year 2018, they may be subject to compliance audits regarding their data security programs.
On Tuesday, a Senate subcommittee grilled Uber’s Chief Information Security Officer, John Flynn, over a 2016 data breach that affected nearly 57 million drivers and riders. At the hearing, Uber faced backlash from lawmakers for its “morally wrong and legally reprehensible” conduct that “violated not only the law but the norm of what should be expected.”
On January 18, 2018, the New York State Education Department (“NYSED”) announced that one of its vendors, Questar Assessment, experienced a data breach resulting in the unauthorized disclosure of personal information from students in five different New York schools. While the data breach reportedly affected only a small number of students that had registered for online testing in spring 2017, it nonetheless exposed sensitive personally identifiable information from those students. And despite its narrow scope, this breach potentially threatens public (and parent) confidence in the security of sensitive student information at a time when New York schools are moving more and more of their activities online.
At its first conference this month, the U.S. Supreme Court will consider whether to weigh in on a Circuit split over standing to sue in the aftermath of a data breach.
More State Data Security Regulation: North Carolina Bill Penalizes Unreasonable Data Security Practices and Requires Rapid Notification
In a post-Equifax environment, state-level data security regulation is on the rise. And in many instances, state regulatory regimes are getting tougher.
Insurers: Are You Ready for More Cybersecurity Regulation? The National Association of Insurance Commissioners Model Law
At the end of last year, the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) adopted an Insurance Data Security Model Law. The “purpose and intent” of the law is to “establish standards for data security and investigation and notification of data security applicable to insurance providers.”
For the several thousand financial institutions and insurance companies covered by New York’s landmark data security regulation, the first certification of compliance must be filed with the State’s Department of Financial Services in less than a month.
Excellus Court Reverses Prior Decision: Risk of Future Identity Theft Suffices to Convey Standing in Data Breach Case
A federal judge in New York has reinstated claims brought against a healthcare provider by customers whose personal information was exposed in the 2015 data breach of Excellus BlueCross Blue Shield. The breach affected the information of as many as 10.5 million individuals.
It’s unusual for victims of ransomware to publicly acknowledge that they have paid hackers to go away. But a regional hospital in Indiana has made public its experience last week with a “sophisticated criminal group” as a teachable moment for other institutions faced with the vexing choice of whether to give in to the ransom demands of cybercriminals.
On February 15th, organizations subject to the New York Department of Financial Services Cybersecurity Regulation are required to submit their first annual certification attesting to their compliance with the state’s new data security requirements.
In the most recent object lesson in a data breach privilege case, a federal appeals court has ordered a Michigan-based mortgage lender to turn over privileged forensic investigatory documents after the investigator’s conclusions were revealed in discovery.
The fight over the privacy of electronic communications and the government’s ability to reach emails stored abroad in criminal investigations has finally moved to the U.S. Supreme Court.
New York State regulators won’t be letting Equifax, Inc. off-the-hook any time soon for last year’s massive data breach that affected more than 145 million Americans.
Cybersecurity will remain at the top of New York State’s regulatory agenda this year.
The Justice Department is changing its approach to collecting data stored in the cloud.
Yesterday, a federal district court in Arizona denied in part and granted in part Banner Health’s motion to dismiss class action claims arising from a 2016 data breach.
It’s no secret that cybersecurity concerns are a daunting challenge for higher education with their sprawling networks and databases.
It is the case that could define the scope of the U.S. Federal Trade Commission’s authority in data security.
A recent federal appellate ruling delivered a significant blow to invasion of privacy claims based on facial recognition technology used to scan users’ faces that are then put on their personalized players “in-game,” allowing them to play side-by-side with basketball stars in a popular video game.
A cybersecurity vulnerability at Stanford University exposed thousands of sensitive files containing details of sexual assault investigations and disciplinary actions. The story of what happened—and why it should be an object lesson for higher education. The second of a three-part series.
On Wednesday, December 6, CNN featured an op-ed written by Craig Newman, Chair of Patterson Belknap’s Privacy and Data Security Practice, entitled “Why the world needs a NATO for cyberwarfare”. Mr. Newman discusses the increasing number of digital assaults against private industries and governments, and notes that society is still in a state of denial about the prospects of a global cyber showdown. He argues that the United States should be leading the international community in addressing cyberattacks through existing worldwide organizations by creating a cybersecurity version of NATO.
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A series of cybersecurity vulnerabilities at Stanford University exposed thousands of sensitive files containing details of sexual assault investigations, disciplinary actions and more. The details of what happened—and why it should be an object lesson for higher education. A special three-part blog series.
With new developments regarding Uber Technologies Inc.’s 2016 data breach coming out almost daily, lawsuits against the company continue to pile-up. We previously reported that within days of Uber disclosing the data theft and its subsequent payment of $100,000 to the hackers ostensibly to delete the data, regulators from around the globe, including the U.S., EU, Mexico, Canada, Australia, and the Philippines, began investigations. As of this morning, Uber has already been hit with at least four class action lawsuits alleging that Uber failed to protect consumer data and notify consumers in a timely manner as required by various state laws, as well as lawsuits by the City of Chicago and the State of Washington.
Uber Technologies, Inc., the latest victim of a high-profile data theft, is taking heat for its handling of the 2016 incident – first disclosed last week – in which account information for 57 million riders worldwide was stolen. The theft was made public in a blog post written by the company’s new chief executive officer Dara Khosrowshahi.
Second in a two-part series.
Last week, in the first part of this series, we examined several key aspects of New York’s proposed data security law, Stop Hacks and Improve Data Security Act or SHIELD Act. In our second and final installment, we discuss three additional aspects of the proposed law.
First in a two-part series.
As we reported last week, New York Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman has introduced a bill aimed at protecting New Yorkers from data breaches.
The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission has signaled that it expects to issue updated guidelines on reporting cybersecurity incidents.
New York is emerging as the nation’s de facto top data security regulator.
Court Rejects DOJ’s Depiction of Google as “Willful and Contemptuous” Tactics in Ongoing Battle over SCA Search Warrant
A federal judge in California has agreed to hold Google in contempt for not following his order to turn over data stored overseas. The order is largely symbolic, however, since a contempt order is required for Google to appeal the ruling.
Not all cybersecurity risks are the stuff of super-secret code hacks or high-tech digital attacks. One of the biggest culprits: off-the-shelf thumb drives (also known as flash drives or memory sticks) that you can purchase online, at Walmart or at your local office supply shop. Lightweight and small enough to fit in your pocket, thumb drives can store massive amounts of data.
A cloak of secrecy usually covers covert government activities when it comes to the latest cyber threats and intelligence. But in a rare public warning, the U.S. government has warned that hackers are targeting government entities and organizations in the energy, nuclear, water, aviation, and critical manufacturing sectors.
Another Bumpy Week for Equifax: Virus Hits Website, IRS Suspends Contract and Hacked UK Residents Notified
It was another chaotic week for Equifax Inc., still scrambling to stem the torrent of bad news after its massive data breach last month that has potentially affected more than half of the U.S.’s adult population.
The Supreme Court is poised to finally answer the question that’s been plaguing federal courts across the country: must U.S. tech companies comply with warrants issued under the Stored Communications Act (“SCA”) that demand information from customer accounts that is stored on servers in a foreign country?
The federal Computer Fraud and Abuse Act of 1986 (“CFAA”) has generated controversy and disagreement among courts and commentators regarding the scope of its application. The statute, 18 U.S.C. § 1030, which provides for both criminal and civil penalties, prohibits accessing a computer or protected computer “without authorization” or in a manner “exceeding authorized access.” Courts are divided as to the meaning of these phrases, yet the U.S. Supreme Court recently declined the opportunity to resolve the circuit split that has developed, leaving the exact scope of this important statute in question.
A financial index provider foretold the Equifax Inc. data breach more than a year ago, warning that the rating agency “is vulnerable to data theft and security breaches.”
A data breach of the National Football League Players Association’s (“NFLPA”) website has exposed the personal information of nearly 1,200 players and agents.
The ongoing dispute between the government and Google concerning the company’s refusal to hand over customer data stored on foreign servers has taken an odd twist. Now, the Justice Department is demanding that Google be sanctioned for not abiding by the court’s most recent decision—ordering it to produce data associated with 22 email accounts—and calling Google’s conduct “a willful and contemptuous disregard of various court orders.” The case is In the Matter of the Search of Content that Is Stored at Premises Controlled by Google, No. 16-mc-80263 (N.D. Cal.).
It’s difficult to imagine things getting much worse for Equifax Inc.
Richard F. Smith – who presided over Equifax Inc. as CEO during one of the largest data breaches in a generation – will testify before two congressional committees next week.
Equifax Inc.’s interim CEO, Paulino do Rego Barros Jr., issued the company’s second public apology this morning for the massive data breach that has affected as many as 143 million U.S. consumers.
In a Wall Street Journal op-ed, Barros acknowledged the company’s ball drop in handling the breach and promised to “act quickly and forcefully to correct our mistakes.” He said the company will introduce a new service that would permit consumers to control access to their personal credit data.
As we start the new week, a recap of major cybersecurity developments:
Yesterday, a District Court in Northern California weighed in on the U.S. Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) authority to protect consumers from “unfair” and “deceptive” data security practices. The decision, which granted in part and denied in part the defendant’s motion to dismiss, is a mixed bag for the Commission.
The barrage of bad news for Equifax Inc. keeps getting worse.
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