Category Archives: Cyber Crime

Apple’s DOJ Battle Scratches the Surface of Encryption Debate

By now you are likely aware of Apple’s ongoing battle with the Justice Department over the scope of the All Writs Act and its resistance of a federal court’s order compelling Apple to create special software that would unlock the iPhone used by Syed Rizwan Farook, one of the assailants in a mass shooting in San Bernardino, California. If you haven’t kept up with the story, an excellent walk through of where things stand may be found here. Apple’s case is generating a great deal of public debate over the amount of privacy a person may come to expect when …

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Responsibility Shifting for Cyber Attacks?

When a company’s protected data is compromised, potential litigants generally look to the company itself as the target for damages claims. The list of recent cases filed against the company suffering the data breach is long and, by now, familiar. In addition to potential damages claims, the breached company also must sustain the cost of remediation and attorneys’ fees, both in regard to its “first party” costs and with regard to third party claims. In very large breaches, it’s not uncommon for the company’s cost to far outstrip its insurance coverage, even if it has very good coverage. Historically, the …

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Bitcoin and the Changing Legal Landscape

If your business is contemplating doing something with digital currencies (meaning virtual currencies, like Bitcoin, Ripple, Ethereum, etc.), you need a plan. First, consider how and where your business will use digital currencies. Second, know what laws and regulations apply. Third, implement a compliance plan to ensure your business doesn’t run afoul of the law. Fourth, stick to your plan. This fourth step can be difficult to follow, particularly if your business is a startup trying to quickly establish itself and gain a foothold in the fast-paced, evolving online marketplace. You may think implementing a compliance plan will cost you …

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CISA Gives Leeway in Network Monitoring, But Not Without Risk

As we wrote last week, The Cybersecurity Act of 2015 – better known to some as the Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act of 2015 – was signed into law in December 2015. Privacy advocates had decried CISA in its original form as weakening privacy protections in regard to Internet traffic. When Congress slipped a revised version of CISA into a gigantic omnibus spending bill for the President’s up or down approval, some claimed the revised bill “stripped out even more of its remaining privacy protections.” At the most general level, CISA is intended to make it unequivocally legal for Federal and …

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The Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act of 2015

Protecting the Public from Cyber Threats or Unwanted Surveillance? On December 18, 2015, President Barack Obama signed the much reported omnibus spending bill, which keeps the government running for another year. The controversial Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act of 2015 (“CISA”) was included as a rider to the omnibus spending bill. CISA seeks to create a voluntary cyber threat information sharing process between industry and the federal government. CISA requires that the Department of Homeland Security (“DHS”) develop a process for the federal government to accept cyber threat information from any entity and ensure that appropriate federal entities (i.e., the FBI …

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When it Comes to Privacy Laws, California Leads the Way

California is, by far, the king of states when it comes to privacy laws. California’s constitution is one of only 10 state constitutions that contain an explicit “right to privacy,” recognizing each citizen’s “inalienable right” to privacy. Its state laws in many areas have often been precursors to federal legislation or national legislative movements, and that’s certainly true in privacy law as well. For example, California had health privacy laws before HIPAA even existed, and it had the nation’s first data breach notification law, which spawned copycat legislation in almost every state. Last month, California passed a few more laws …

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What We Know About BitCoin, and What Is Still Unknown (Part II)

In Part I, we gave an overview of Bitcoin and how it’s different from the digital “real currency” that is in widespread use today.  In Part II, we’ll ask and answer the question – Is Bitcoin just a fad?  Is it novel in concept, but not particularly advantageous for the average person, or does it have staying power? Regardless of what you might think about Bitcoin today, its strongest proponents and harshest critics agree on one thing – Bitcoin and its underlying blockchain technology cannot be ignored.  Major players in the financial industry and tech industry are pouring significant money …

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What We Know About BitCoin, and What Is Still Unknown (Part I)

It’s no surprise that, as the way we exchange information continues to evolve at an ever-increasing pace, the way we exchange value is rapidly evolving too.  This two-part series explores the Bitcoin evolution occurring in the world of electronic payments. In today’s business environment, we already mostly exchange value digitally—with payment cards or mobile apps linked to our bank accounts.  Most of the world’s wealth is accounted for by 1s and 0s in computer files, not coins and bills.  As the Internet and mobile converge, paying with physical currency and checks with perforated edges is less and less common. Many …

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US-China Cyber Deal Big on Promises, Short on Action

In the aftermath of recent cyberattacks attributed to China’s government and citizens, many observers prepared for a rather uncomfortable state visit by Chinese President Xi Jinping last week.  Then, as President Xi began his visit, the White House announced on September 25 what appeared to be a significant victory for corporate data security in America.  “We have agreed that neither the U.S. or [sic] the Chinese government will conduct or knowingly support cyber-enabled theft of intellectual property, including trade secrets or other confidential business information for commercial advantage.  In addition, we’ll work together and with other nations to promote international rules …

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Cybersecurity: How Much is Enough?

The year 2015 may go down in history as the year of the hacker. Though not a new phenomenon, high profile hack-related stories have managed to capture headlines almost every month of 2015. On the eve of the New Year, the world was abuzz with news that hackers had committed an unprecedented attack on Sony Corporation that culminated in the publication of thousands of sensitive e-mails. Shortly thereafter, hackers compromised the personal information of nearly 100 million Anthem customers and employees. The United States government also came under attack when hackers managed to steal information from both the IRS and …

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