Why do you need a cyber attorney? Shawn Tuma explains in Ethical Boardroom

spring2018In my latest article in Ethical Boardroom article, I explain some of the not-so-obvious reasons why you need an experienced cyber attorney on your team: Why you need a cyber attorney (Spring 2018)

Here are other Ethical Boardroom (@EthicalBoard) articles that I have written or contributed to that are also available for free:

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Shawn Tuma (@shawnetuma) is a business lawyer with an internationally recognized reputation in cybersecurity, computer fraud, and data privacy law. He is a Cybersecurity & Data Privacy Partner at Scheef & Stone, LLP, a full-service commercial law firm in Texas that represents businesses of all sizes throughout the United States and, through its Mackrell International network, around the world.

What does it mean to “hack back” and is it a good idea?

There is more and more talk about companies hacking back against those who attack them in cyber space and whether allowing them to take such measures is a good idea. Right now, hacking back, or active defense, as it is often called, is illegal under the federal unauthorized access law, the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act. There are current federal efforts to change this, along with some woefully misguided rumblings by some state legislators (who do not seem to understand that the CFAA supersedes anything they pass to the contrary).

So, the question is whether hacking back a good idea or will it cause more harm than good? Shawn Tuma was a guest on the KLIF morning show to discuss this issue. Go here to listen to what he had to say about it.

What are your thoughts?

Can your company do business without its computer system? Let’s ask Atlanta!

Atlanta RansomwareIn the world of cybersecurity and data protection, we tend to think about most cyber incidents as being “data breaches” because that’s the term de jour that occupies news headlines. Because of this, far too many companies think that if they do not have valuable data that hackers would want to “breach,” so to speak, they do not need to be concerned about cybersecurity. While this is wrong on one level because all data has value to hackers, it is even more wrong on a much greater level.

There is a lot more to cybersecurity and data protection than just breaches of the confidentiality of data (i.e., “data breaches“). Hackers have shown a strong trend over the last couple of years of attacking the computer system itself and, as some call it, “bricking” company’s computers and/or data and demanding an extortion payment in exchange for their promise to honor their word and undo the damage (if they even can). This is the process underlying what is often called ransomware.

Do you see where I’m going with this? If not, let me see if I can simplify this process for you a bit with the question below: (1) If you still think your company does not have data that is valuable to hackers, and (2) You still think that means that your company does not need to focus on cybersecurity,

Can your company continue to do business if it is not able to use its computer system?

If you’ve seen the news today you see that the City of Atlanta has had many of its computer systems bricked by ransomware and those business operations that require the use of those systems are now shut down.

Now, let me ask you, “how many days can your company go without doing whatever it is that it does before it really begins to hurt?”

Still need more convincing? Ok, I addressed this issue in more detail in Chapter 5 of The #CyberAvengers Playbook (free to download) — go give it a read.

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Shawn Tuma (@shawnetuma) is an attorney with an internationally recognized reputation in cybersecurity, computer fraud, and data privacy law. He is a Cybersecurity & Data Privacy Attorney at Scheef & Stone, LLP, a full-service commercial law firm in Texas that represents businesses of all sizes throughout the United States and, through its Mackrell International network, around the world.

Down the Security Rabbithole Podcast #DtSR with Los and Tuma talking all things #cybersecurity

DtSR ImageThis week’s #DtSR Podcast featured Raf Los and guest Shawn Tuma talking about all things cybersecurity. Check out more of what was covered and listen to the podcast here!

Check out some of the past episodes with Tuma as a guest.

 

Share on social media and join in the discussion!

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Shawn Tuma (@shawnetuma) is an attorney with an internationally recognized reputation in cybersecurity, computer fraud, and data privacy law. He is a Cybersecurity & Data Privacy Attorney at Scheef & Stone, LLP, a full-service commercial law firm in Texas that represents businesses of all sizes throughout the United States and, through its Mackrell International network, around the world.

Security Weekly guest Shawn Tuma discusses “what is reasonable cybersecurity?”

Share on social media and join in the discussion!

LinkedIn Post

 

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Shawn Tuma (@shawnetuma) is an attorney with an internationally recognized reputation in cybersecurity, computer fraud, and data privacy law. He is a Cybersecurity & Data Privacy Attorney at Scheef & Stone, LLP, a full-service commercial law firm in Texas that represents businesses of all sizes throughout the United States and, through its Mackrell International network, around the world.

Marine corp data breach lesson: human error is often the cause and is preventable

There has been a data breach emanating from the U.S. Marine Corps Forces Reserve that impacted 21,426 individuals. The breach exposed their sensitive personal information such as truncated social security numbers, bank electronic funds transfer and bank routing numbers, truncated credit card information, mailing address, residential address and emergency contact information.

Calm down and press the pause button on the hysteria hype machine — it was not the Russians behind it! It was something far more treacherous when it comes to the real world of data breaches: it was human error.

In this case, it happened when an individual sent an email to the wrong email distribution list and the email was unencrypted and included an attachment that contained the personal information described above. You can read more about the breach here: Major data breach at Marine Forces Reserve impacts thousands

THE TAKEAWAY:  The important lesson to take away is that scenarios such as this are far more common than all of the super-sophisticated “hacking” type over-politicised stuff that we usually hear about through the media. This is the real world of data breach that most companies face far more often than they face state-sponsored espionage. In fact, research into actual data breaches reveals that 90% of all claims made on cyber insurance stemmed from some type of human error and, as reported by the highly reputable Online Trust Alliance, “in 2017, 93 percent of all breaches could have been avoided had simple steps been taken such as regularly updating software, blocking fake email messages using email authentication and training people to recognize phishing attacks.” The good news is this type of problem is preventable with some effort.

Below is a checklist of good cyber hygiene that, in reality, all companies should be doing these days. How do you make sure you’re doing it? You develop and implement a cyber risk management program that is tailor-made for your company and is continuously maturing to address the risks your company face — such as my CyberGard™ program.

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Shawn Tuma (@shawnetuma) is an attorney with an internationally recognized reputation in cybersecurity, computer fraud, and data privacy law. He is a Cybersecurity & Data Privacy Attorney at Scheef & Stone, LLP, a full-service commercial law firm in Texas that represents businesses of all sizes throughout the United States and, through its Mackrell International network, around the world.

What is “reasonable cybersecurity” and how do courts view it? (SecureWorld interviews)

What is “reasonable cybersecurity” and how do courts view “reasonable cybersecurity”?

See KnowB4’s discussion of these interviews

These are two excellent questions that I was asked and I answered, as succinctly as I could, in two short interviews with SecureWorld. Tell me what you think about my answers.

What Is Reasonable Cybersecurity? – SecureWorld article

How Courts & Attorneys View ‘Reasonable Cybersecurity’ in 2018 – SecureWorld article

Here are the videos.

 

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Shawn Tuma (@shawnetuma) is an attorney with an internationally recognized reputation in cybersecurity, computer fraud, and data privacy law. He is a Cybersecurity & Data Privacy Attorney at Scheef & Stone, LLP, a full-service commercial law firm in Texas that represents businesses of all sizes throughout the United States and, through its Mackrell International network, around the world.

Uber CISO’s Testimony Clarifies Payment to Hackers was Not Legitimate Use of Bug Bounty Program

As bits of information about the Uber data breach have trickled out, including the purported payment through a bug bounty program, I have been concerned about the implications on legitimate corporate bug bounty programs. My concerns grew when I read the New York Times article, Inside Uber’s $100,000 Payment to a Hacker, and the Fallout

The February 6, 2018, testimony by John Flynn, Uber’s Chief Information Security Officer, makes me feel better because it finally made clear (to me, anyway) that this was not a legitimate bug bounty program situation (see full written testimony):

As you know, Uber paid the intruders $100,000 through HackerOne and our bug bounty program. Our primary goal in paying the intruders was to protect our consumers’ data. This was not done in a way that is consistent with the way our bounty program normally operates, however. In my view, the key distinction regarding this incident is that the intruders not only found a weakness, they also exploited the vulnerability in a malicious fashion to access and download data.

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We recognize that the bug bounty program is not an appropriate vehicle for dealing with intruders who seek to extort funds from the company. The approach that these intruders took was separate and distinct from those of the researchers in the security community for whom bug bounty programs are designed. While the use of the bug bounty program assisted in the effort to gain attribution and, ultimately, assurances that our users’ data were secure, at the end of the day, these intruders were fundamentally different from legitimate bug bounty recipients.

When dealing with something like this, in the world of data breach reporting and notification, details, motive, and the order of events matter. It appears that Uber attempted to take an existing incident (that was likely a data breach requiring reporting and notification) and mitigate it by running it through its bug bounty program in an effort to de-breach it, so to speak. While this was a creative approach and one that could raise issues about other mitigation efforts that companies may try for dealing with incidents, such discussions are beyond the scope of this post.

What is important, to me anyway, is that this was not a legitimate use of Uber’s bug bounty program that is now being second-guessed. I think that should help corporate security and legal professionals sleep a little better.

In Flynn’s testimony, he does an excellent job of explaining bug bounty programs and, specifically, Uber’s bug bounty program and the success it has had since implementation. He also explains Uber’s incident response process in this particular situation and offers insight into just how quickly an IR team must act — something everyone should understand. I strongly encourage anyone interested to read his full testimony.

See Uber: ‘No justification’ for covering up data breach

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Shawn Tuma (@shawnetuma) is an attorney with an internationally recognized reputation in cybersecurity, computer fraud, and data privacy law. He is a Cybersecurity & Data Privacy Attorney at Scheef & Stone, LLP, a full-service commercial law firm in Texas that represents businesses of all sizes throughout the United States and, through its Mackrell International network, around the world.

Helpful FTC Guidance on Cybersecurity for Small and Midsize Companies

FTCIt is important for all companies — especially small and midsize companies — to have a basic understanding of what the FTC considers to be reasonable cybersecurity. The FTC is known for being one of the more aggressive regulators that are investigating and enforcing (what it views as) inadequate cybersecurity by companies doing business in the United States. In the watershed case solidifying the FTC’s authority to regulate companies’ cybersecurity under the FTC Act, F.T.C. v. Wyndham Worldwide Corp.,  the U.S. Third Circuit Court of Appeals looked to resources published on the FTC’s website and found that Wyndham’s cybersecurity was very rudimentary and contravened recommendations in the FTC’s 2007 guidebook, Protecting Personal Information: A Guide for Businesses.

The FTC recently published a couple of helpful resources on its website and companies of all sizes would be well-served to spend some time reviewing the recommendations in these resources:

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Shawn Tuma (@shawnetuma) is an attorney with an internationally recognized reputation in cybersecurity, computer fraud, and data privacy law. He is a Cybersecurity & Data Privacy Attorney at Scheef & Stone, LLP, a full-service commercial law firm in Texas that represents businesses of all sizes throughout the United States and, through its Mackrell International network, around the world.

Y2K18? Are #Spectre and #Meltdown the Y2K Apocalypse, Eighteen Years Late?

Hear Shawn Tuma interviewed on News Radio 570 KLIF – Experts: Update Settings and Download Updates to Protect from “Meltdown” and “Spectre”

CLICK HERE if you are impatient and only want to know what you should do ASAP to protect against Spectre and Meltdown

With Y2K we had a warning. So much of a warning that it pushed me into cyber law in 1998. We were told of an apocalypse if we did not heed the warning and fix the problem. Whether we did, or whether it was a lot of hype is still being debated, but the problem was averted. When the ball dropped on NYE 2000, the planes were still flying, power grid still operating, and banks still banking.

Fast forward eighteen years, NYE 2018, the ball drops and, while we are closing out a year when the word cybersecurity (yes, it is one word, not two) has become a part of everybody’s vernacular, the only thing we were thinking of when hearing the words “Spectre” and “Meltdown” was a James Bond movie marathon on New Year’s Day.

Just a few days later we are now talking about a global threat to the world’s computers — all of them from the most powerful supercomputers to, yes, even Apple computers, all the way to the computer you carry in your pocket (i.e., your smartphone) — that isn’t just a programming or software glitch, but is also a hardware problem, going to the very heart of the computer: it’s CPU.

The threat timing? Imminent — this isn’t something that is going to happen, this is something that has already happened and has just recently been discovered.

Now unlike with Y2K, the problem in and of itself will not directly cause a failure but is a vulnerability that has been exposed that will allow others — the bad guys (whoever they may be) — to exploit the vulnerability. But take no comfort in this because you can bet, to the bad guys, the revelation of this vulnerability made this exploit Target of Opportunity #1 for all.

The fix? This where it gets good. “Meltdown” can likely be mitigated with software patches, which programmers at major companies are fervently writing as I write. The problem is, these patches will lead to a degradation of computer performance by 20% to 30% — but they are not optional. You must install them.

“Spectre” is where it could get really nasty. This will likely require a redesign of the computer processors themselves — a wholesale hardware redesign that focuses more on security vis-a-vis performance. Then, in order to implement the fix, the hardware will have to be replaced — the CPUs in all of the world’s computers upgraded.

Sounds pretty bad, doesn’t it? Is this the real Y2K apocalypse arriving eighteen years late — Y2K18 or Y2K8teen? It could be.

But, if history is any indication it will not reach worst-case scenario levels, but things could still get really, really bad even if worst-case scenarios are not even on the radar. In fact, as this post is being written some researchers with clout are saying that the fix may not require the wholesale replacement of hardware — and I’m sure there will be more softening of this as we go along.

However, remember, “Wanna Cry” was only one exploit to a specific outdated Windows operating system that was revealed and had a patch issued for months before it actually hit. We all had better take this one seriously.

What can you do? When the patches come out from Microsoft, Apple, etc. and they tell you to install the patch to protect your computer, do it, immediately, and with a smile because losing 20% to 30% of your computing power is far better than losing 100%!