Department of Education Posts CyberAdvisory on Extortion and Student Data Threats

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Acknowledging that schools have “long been targets for cyber thieves,” the Federal Student Aid Office (FSA) of the U.S. Department of Education (ED) posted an alert on October 16, warning school districts and other educational institutions of criminal extortion schemes threatening to release sensitive student data. Recent, similar cyberattacks in Montana and Iowa are being investigated by the FBI.

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Tech Companies Issue White Paper Recommending a National IOT Strategy

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Over the course of the last year, a number of U.S. technology companies and associations, including Intel, Samsung and the Information Technology Industry Council (ITIC) initiated a process dubbed “the National IOT Strategy Dialogue” the purpose of which was to develop strategic recommendations for U.S. government policymakers on the Internet of Things.

The group recently issued a white paper capturing the recommendations they advocate that the U.S. government undertake or implement.  These players suggest that for the U.S. to win the global race to test, develop and deploy beneficial IOT technologies, that the U.S. government needs a strategic roadmap.

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Legislative Spotlight: Self-Driving Cars Part 1

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The House of Representatives passed H.R. 3388, the “Safely Ensuring Lives Future Deployment and Research in Vehicle Evolution Act” or the “SELF DRIVE Act” last month. The bill would remove regulatory barriers to develop self-driving or autonomous cars by giving the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHSTA) authority to establish federal safety, design, and performance standards for automated cars, excluding commercial vehicles, such as trucks and buses. States would still be responsible for the vehicle registration, driver’s licensing, insurance, and safety and emissions inspections. The bill would also allow states to impose stricter performance requirements than those set by NHTSA.

We have outlined the privacy and cybersecurity provisions of this bill, as well as the NHTSA’s voluntary security standards for self-driving cars.

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A Top-5 Panel Round-up of the Mobile World Congress Americas

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The Mobile World Congress Americas (MWCA) brought more than 30,000 attendees together from around the world to discuss the latest technologies, telecommunications developments, and policies last month.  The conference, which was held in San Francisco, included a massive exhibition floor, numerous panel events, and countless ancillary networking events.  What follows is a top-five round-up of key takeways from MWCA panels, in no particular order.

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Mark your calendars! FTC Workshop on Information Injury set for December

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The Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) Bureaus of Consumer Protection and Economics will host a workshop to examine consumer injury in the context of privacy and data security on Dec. 12, 2017.   Consumer injury is often difficult to quantify generally and especially challenging when there are allegations of a privacy or data security breach or other types of unauthorized access to personal information.  The FTC’s workshop will explore how to measure accurately such injuries; what frameworks might be used to assess different injuries as well as how consumers and businesses evaluate the benefits and costs associated with providing, collecting and using personal information.

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U.S. Government Restricts the Use of Kaspersky Cybersecurity Software

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Earlier this month, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) issued a binding order restricting the government’s use of cybersecurity software developed by Moscow-based Kaspersky Labs.

Government departments and agencies have 90 days to remove or discontinue use of any Kaspersky Labs software products—but the buck doesn’t stop there. Kaspersky boasts more than 400 million users and 270,000 corporate clients, meaning organizations that provide any services involving federal information systems would be wise to investigate whether they, either directly or indirectly, use Kaspersky products and services. Continue reading “U.S. Government Restricts the Use of Kaspersky Cybersecurity Software”