U.S. Department of Labor Issues Cybersecurity Guidance for ERISA-Covered Plans

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There have been a rash of high-profile cyberattacks in the United States recently. Some of the more visible public attacks include SolarWinds, the Microsoft Exchange attack, Accellion, the Florida Water Treatment Plant and, more recently, the devastating cyber-attacks against Colonial Pipeline. These attacks, while disruptive, also yielded high-dollar payments to the cyber-threat actors.

ERISA-covered plans hold just under $10 trillion in assets and these plans are particularly enticing for cyber-threat actors. Although the Colonial Pipeline cyberattacks was executed by a coordinated hacking group, cyberattacks on ERISA-covered plans have historically been less complex. A typical scenario involves a retired employee’s ERISA account being accessed by an imposter, who then steals the account balance.

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Department of Homeland Security Announces New Cybersecurity Requirements for Pipelines

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The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) recently announced a new Security Directive requiring companies in the pipeline sector “to better identify, protect against, and respond to” cyber threats. Among other things, the Security Directive requires pipeline operators to report cyberattacks against their pipelines to DHS. This new requirement replaces the voluntary reporting guidelines that had been in place since 2010.

The new Security Directive is a response to the May 2021 ransomware attack on Colonial Pipeline that shut down much of the oil and gas distribution to the East Coast of the United States for approximately six days. According to various media reports, Colonial Pipeline ultimately elected to pay a Russian ransomware gang that claimed responsibility for the attack over four million dollars to re-open the crippled pipeline.

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Faegre Drinker on Law and Technology Podcast: Computer Forensics

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Computer Forensics: What is it? How is it Used in Civil and Criminal Incident Response Work? In this episode of the Faegre Drinker on Law and Technology Podcast, host Jason G. Weiss talks with Supervisory Special Agent Steve Crist of the FBI and former Orange County DA Investigator Dave White about the importance of using computer forensics in private sector and government cyber and incident response investigations. They explore the differences between computer forensics and traditional “wet” forensics; how computer forensics has grown to play a significant role in civil investigative and legal matters; the importance of digital evidence in criminal cases; and how a digital investigator works their way through a case.

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Federal Legislation Considers Banning Ransom Payments to Hackers

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The year 2021 continues to reveal an alarming rise in ransomware attacks. Two of the most notable of such attacks include the ransomware attack on CNA Financial Corp., with resulting payment of $40 million in ransom, and the attack on Colonial Pipeline Co., with a ransom payment of $4.4 million.

With these two recent ransomware attacks—and subsequent payments—receiving massive publicity, congressional law makers have begun to question whether ransom payments should be permitted or remain legal, or if federal law makers should step in to prohibit such ransom payments as a means to curtail these forms of attacks. Although no bill taking that approach has been introduced yet, recent discussions of such a law have given rise to debate on the issue.

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Faegre Drinker on Law and Technology Podcast: Privacy Issues and COVID-19

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Privacy issues and COVID-19: what do they mean to you and your business? In this episode of the Faegre Drinker on Law and Technology Podcast, host Jason G. Weiss talks with Faegre Drinker’s Reed Abrahamson about the pandemic’s impact on privacy and data security. They examine how organizations are working to balance obligations to simultaneously protect data and their employees’ well-being — along with the risks employers should consider when collecting COVID-related employee information.

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Faegre Drinker on Law and Technology Podcast: What Brexit Means for Law, Technology and Your Data

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Earlier this year — and five years after the Brexit referendum — the U.K. officially left the EU, giving rise to a new era of international commerce. As businesses work to adapt to this new paradigm, one question should not be overlooked: how does Brexit impact the international movement of data? In the first international episode of the Faegre Drinker on Law and Technology Podcast, host Jason G. Weiss talks with Faegre Drinker’s Huw Beverley-Smith and Jonathon Gunn about the data protection and privacy implications of life after Brexit.

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