Establishing and maintaining effective systems to protect sensitive personal data and confidential business information from outside interference while also assuring that privacy interests are protected is among an organization’s highest priorities. Our security and privacy team at Epstein Becker & Green has written extensively about the guidance and best practices issued by federal and state regulatory and enforcement agencies. Execution, monitoring and continually updating these preventive practices define an organization’s first line of defense. But what happens in the event that an organization actually suffers a breach? Is there guidance that might be available, particularly to healthcare organizations, to deal with continuity and disaster planning (BC/DR) directed towards assuring resilience and recovery in the event of a potentially-disastrous cyberattack?

Continue Reading Hacking Healthcare: Cyberattack Contingency Planning and Response

The past several years have proven difficult for healthcare entities due to increasing cybersecurity threats, breaches and regulatory enforcement. Following these trends, on April 6, 2022, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office for Civil Rights (OCR) released a Request for Information (RFI) soliciting public comment on how regulated entities are voluntarily implementing security practices under the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act of 2009 (HITECH Act) and also seeking public input on sharing funds collected through enforcement with individuals who are harmed by Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) rule violations.

Continue Reading HIPAA Enforcers Seek Public Input on Recognized Security Practices and Sharing Enforcement Recoveries with Affected Individuals

On March 15, 2022, President Biden signed into law the 2022 Consolidated Appropriations Act containing the Cyber Incident Reporting for Critical Infrastructure Act of 2022 (the “Cyber Incident Reporting Act”). While President Biden’s remarks highlighted the $13.6 billion in funding “to address Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the impact on surrounding countries,” the 2022 Consolidated Appropriations Act contained numerous other laws, including the Cyber Incident Reporting Act, which should not be overlooked. The Cyber Incident Reporting Act puts in motion important new cybersecurity reporting requirements that will likely apply to businesses in almost every major sector of the economy, including health care, financial services, energy, transportation and commercial facilities. Critical infrastructure entities should monitor the upcoming rule-making by the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (“CISA”), as the final regulations will clarify the scope and application of the new law.

Continue Reading President Biden Signs into Law the Cyber Incident Reporting Act, Imposing Reporting Requirements for Cyber Incidents and Ransomware Payments

Recent decisions from the European Union (EU) have placed renewed focus on the use of common cookies used on ecommerce and other websites used by consumers and employees and transfers of personal data collected through cookies to the United States. The EU Data Protection Authorities (DPAs) found that the use of widely used website technologies (i.e., cookies and java script) to automatically collect identifiers from the users’ devices or through their use of internet protocols (e.g., IP addresses) resulted in the collection of personal data. The DPAs further found that the subsequent transfer of this data to Google servers located in the United States violated EU cross-border data transfer requirements because there were inadequate safeguards under the Schrems II decision invalidating the EU-US Privacy Shield. One notable impact of the decisions is to dismiss the adequacy of encryption technologies where the service provider (such as Google) has access to the cryptographic key and can be compelled to surrender it in order for the data to be decrypted and read by U.S. surveillance authorities. Consideration of the impact of these decisions is critically important for ecommerce and other websites operating in the EU, as well as more generally for organizations that transfer personal data of consumers and employees to the U.S.

Continue Reading Cookies Resulting in Cross Border Transfers of Personal Data to the United States Draw Scrutiny from European Data Privacy Regulators

The U.S. Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Agency (CISA) has urged a “Shields Up” defense in depth approach, as Russian use of wiper malware in the Ukrainian war escalates. The Russian malware “HermeticWiper” and “Whispergate” are destructive attacks that corrupt the infected computers’ master boot record rendering the device inoperable. The wipers effectuate a denial of service attack designed to render the device’s data permanently unavailable or destroyed. Although the malware to date appears to be manually targeted at selected Ukrainian systems, the risks now escalate of a spillover effect to Europe and the United States particularly as to: (i) targeted cyber attacks including on critical infrastructure and financial organizations; and (ii) use of a rapidly spreading indiscriminate wiper like the devastating “NotPetya” that quickly moves across trusted networks. Indeed, Talos researchers have found functional similarities between the current malware and “NotPetya” which was attributed to the Russian military to target Ukranian organizations in 2017, but then quickly spread around the world reportedly resulting in over $10 billion dollars in damage.[1] The researchers added that the current wiper has included even further components designed to inflict damage.

Continue Reading CISA Encourages “Shields Up” to Protect Operations and Workers as Cyber War Ramps Up

Throughout 2021, we closely monitored the latest privacy laws and a surge of privacy, cybersecurity, and data asset management risks that affect organizations, small and large. As these laws continue to evolve, it is important for companies to be aware and compliant. We will continue to monitor these trends for 2022.

The attorneys of the Privacy, Cybersecurity & Data Asset Management group have written on a wide range of notable developments and trends that affect employers and health care providers. In case you missed any, we have assembled a recap of our top 10 blog posts of 2021, with links to each, below:

Continue Reading A Year in Review: Top 10 Privacy, Cybersecurity & Data Asset Management Issues in 2021

Recent data thefts and systems intrusions, particularly with respect to ransomware, have assured that cybersecurity is top of mind for corporate executives and compliance officials. We at EBG have tried to keep you up to date with respect to legislative, regulatory and litigation developments and recommended best practices and procedures.

As we close out the year, we all should remain mindful that cyber criminals, especially those who are supported or protected by foreign adversaries, have little incentive to rest up during the holidays.

Continue Reading Holiday Cyber Storm Warnings

On Tuesday, August 24, 2021, California Attorney General Rob Bonta issued a guidance bulletin (the “Guidance”) to health care providers reminding them of their compliance obligations under California’s health data privacy laws, and urging providers to take proactive steps to protect against cybersecurity threats. This Guidance comes, in part, as a response to federal regulators