Seyfarth Synopsis: In the past week, the cybersecurity community has seen a dramatic increase in the number of attacks being made on healthcare organizations around the globe. Despite the despicable nature of these attacks by malicious attackers trying to get rich off the suffering of others, there is a force of good that’s arisen from the cybersecurity community recently to help combat the threats.

The COVID-19 Cybersecurity Threat Intelligence League was formed by Ohad Zaidenberg last week, and has quickly grown into over 900 cybersecurity experts who are volunteering their time and experience to help healthcare organizations defend against the malicious threat actors. The group is comprised of malware researchers, white hat hackers, CISOs, cyber consultants, reverse engineers, coders, software providers, etc. Seyfarth’s own Richard Lutkus is involved with the group and is helping with cybersecurity related legal issues that members have. As part of the FBI’s InfraGard Special Interest Group for Legal, Richard is helping information be shared between law enforcement (including DHS, FBI, etc.) and private sector organizations.

One of the immediately useful results of the group’s collective wisdom is a publicly available list of IP addresses, URLs, file (hashes), and domains that are known to be related to COVID malware, ransomware, phishing, or other malfeasance. The link below contains each categorical list. Network administrators or cyber professionals can use these links to help protect their networks from these growing threats. It’s likely this list will be updated frequently. The list works by helping block malicious sites and applications from connecting the victim to the threat actor. When that connection fails, the malicious intent is frustrated. Thus, even when an employee accidentally clicks a malicious link, this can serve as a first line of defense to stop the malicious website from opening.

https://github.com/COVID-19-CTI-LEAGUE/PUBLIC_RELEASE

Beyond the list above, there is a major threat that has bubbled up to the surface recently.  In our prior article, we discussed the increase in remote workers being a threat to organizations. It appears that threat is being acted upon by malicious threat actors already. Seyfarth’s cybersecurity team is aware of over 767,000 computers around the world currently online that have exposed Remote Desktop Protocol (aka “RDP”) sessions and whose login credentials are being actively sold on the DarkWeb.  Typically, this service operates on port 3389 or 3390. Normally, having this exposed to the Internet is bad enough without source-IP limitations at the firewall level. However, because of a Microsoft bug (CVE-2019-0708) from last year relating to Remote Desktop, certain unpatched systems are extremely high risk if not patched.  We are seeing many unpatched systems, unfortunately, and now we have evidence of active exploitation of those systems.

While the list of currently vulnerable and exploited systems mentioned above cannot be shared publicly, if you are a firm client, we can search the list for you and report back. Please share the above information with your CISO, CIO, CTO, or CSO (or anyone who fills that role for your organization) so that you can better defend against these ongoing threats.

Seyfarth Synopsis: As individuals and businesses continue to focus on the rising number of confirmed Coronavirus cases throughout the world and what steps they can take to guard against infection, malicious actors are exploiting those very same fears for their own profit. A dramatic increase in the number of employees working from home coupled with overworked business and commercial IT staff has resulted in a higher likelihood that security best practices may be forgotten or disregarded entirely.

A number of recent examples are discussed below:

1. Phishing

While the U.S. Treasury[1] has issued a relatively simplistic notice warning of an increase in phishing communications with instruction to simply disregard them, the FCC[2] has provided a number of recordings of phishing attempts related to obtaining a complimentary COVID-19 testing kit and scheduling HVAC cleaning to protect against the spread of COVID-19.

Other phishing attempts seen in recent weeks involve the threat actor posing as members of the Center for Disease Control and Prevention or the World Health Organization in an attempt to legitimize their scams.  A common tactic is for these scammers to register malicious domain names (cdc-gov.org and cdcgov.org) that are similar to valid domains (cdc.gov) in order to confuse already worried recipients. Continue Reading The Impact of COVID-19 on Cybersecurity

In this unprecedented time, businesses are, more than ever, implementing and rapidly rolling out programs for remote or at-home work by employees. The quick changes in local and state governmental “shelter in place” instructions and Public Heath directives have placed significant strains on remote networks and caused local shortages of laptop computers at office supply and electronic stores across the country.

With this unexpected increase in remote workers, many companies are pushing the limits of their existing remote access technology, or deploying ad hoc technology and access solutions as quickly as possible. Some of those companies are not taking the time to consider potential information security, privacy, and other compliance ramifications for those same remote workers.

It is entirely appropriate and necessary for companies to adapt their technology and work networks are utilized to the greatest degree possible to remain in operation and serve business and customer needs. But as always, data security and privacy should always be part of the equation.

Below are some essential things to know about the security risks posed by remote or at-home worker, and a Technical Checklist for Remote employees to make sure your corporate data is safe, and you do not risk compliance challenges with data privacy law and requirements. Continue Reading Cybersecurity, Data Privacy, and Compliance Issues Related to Remote Workers

At the end of 2019, the Second Circuit finally weighed in on an issue that has divided federal courts considering applications for discovery pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1782, through which a litigant can obtain an order from a federal court for discovery to be used in a foreign proceeding. (You can read more about Section 1782 here and here). Federal courts have split over whether Section 1782 allows a party to obtain documents controlled by an entity in the United States but that are held overseas—for example, records held in the London office of a corporation headquartered in New York.1 In a pair of recent decisions, the Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit joined the Eleventh Circuit in holding that Section 1782 does permit discovery of documents held outside the United States and that are within the control of a US individual or entity. Continue Reading Second Circuit Weighs in on the Extraterritorial Application of 28 U.S.C. § 1782

At Seyfarth, I’m not just an attorney—I’m also an ethical hacker and digital forensic expert, and I’m proud to be one of several “attorneys who code” at Seyfarth. Here, we’re passionate about technology, and we routinely seek creative ways to leverage innovations that enhance client services.

I’ve found that one area where emerging technology can make an enormous impact is in the data breach notification assessment space. Specifically, I’ve found that artificial intelligence can power the evaluation of implicated data for personal information like PII and PHI to determine notice requirements in the various implied jurisdictions. While there are many ways to accomplish that evaluation, I wanted to share my experience partnering with Text IQ, a company that builds AI for sensitive information, to power a data breach response in a blind study alongside the traditional document review and coding approach. The result was reduced risk, quicker turnaround time, and cost reduction for Seyfarth’s client. Continue Reading Powering Data Breach Response with AI: A Case Study

In a much-anticipated opinion, Judge George B. Daniels of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York recently affirmed the decision of a magistrate judge regarding the scope of discovery in aid of a foreign litigation pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1782.  (You can read more about Section 1782 and the magistrate judge’s underlying decision in our prior blog post, here).  Briefly, Magistrate Judge Gabriel W. Gorenstein grappled with an issue that has divided federal courts: whether Section 1782 can be used to compel the production of documents maintained outside the United States.[1]  Magistrate Judge Gorenstein held that the fact that documents were maintained overseas did not bar the discovery sought so long as the documents were within the control of a discovery target located in the U.S.—in this case, a New York-based law firm with a branch office in Russia.  Continue Reading New Decision Regarding Discovery in Aid of Foreign Litigation

This is what it sounds like, when sanctions are granted.

In March 2019, a federal judge in Minnesota sanctioned Defendants for their failure to preserve text messages in a copyright infringement suit brought in part by the estate of the late musician commonly known as “Prince”.

Representatives for Prince’s estate brought suit against Defendants George Ian Boxill, Rogue Music Alliance (“RMA”), Deliverance LLC (“Deliverance”), David Staley, Gabriel Solomon Wilson, and other parties alleging copyright infringement.  Plaintiffs filed suit for copyright infringement after learning that Defendants Boxill and RMA created Deliverance to market and release previously unreleased recordings that Prince created during recording sessions in 2006.  Defendant Boxill worked as Prince’s sound engineer during the 2006 recording sessions. Plaintiffs allege that a confidentiality agreement with Boxill placed ownership of the recordings solely on Prince.

Before releasing the music, Defendant Staley sent an email to Sensibility Music indicating that Defendant Boxill would indemnify RMA if Plaintiffs challenged the release. Shortly thereafter, Plaintiff’s estate sent a cease and desist letter, then filed suit.

The parties agreed to certain stipulations regarding discovery of ESI including taking “reasonable steps to preserve reasonably accessible sources of ESI.” The court did not enter an order concerning the stipulation but noted that it will enforce the agreement and warned that any non-compliance will be met with all available remedies, including sanctions. The Court also issued a pretrial scheduling order for both parties to preserve “all electronic documents that bear on any claims, defenses, or the subject matter of this lawsuit.” The court issued two additional pretrial scheduling orders each containing similar language to the first regarding preservation and warnings regarding consequences for violations. Continue Reading Court Sanctions Defendant for Failure to Preserve Text Messages in Copyright Infringement Suit Brought by Prince’s Estate

For Marvel Entertainment fans, this one’s for you: Step aside Nick Fury, New York has a new SHIELD.  New York state recently passed a new law extending protections against cyber-attacks for its residents with NY Senate Bill S5575B, also known as the “Stop Hacks and Improve Electronic Data Security Act” or SHIELD Act, for short.  This Act expands New York’s data breach notification statute in definition, notice, scope, and compliance requirements of any individual or business handling New York residents’ computerized private information.

The SHIELD Act first redefines “private information” to include username or e-mail address in combination with a password or security question and answer for online accounts as well as biometric information.  It also allows for reporting a breach if an account or credit card number alone (i.e. without an account access code or password) is compromised “if circumstances exist wherein such number could be used to access an individual’s financial account without additional identifying information, security code, access code, or password.”  Slightly more nuanced, it expands the definition of “breach of security of the system” to include an unauthorized access of private information as well as an unauthorized acquisition.  Addition of “access” means the statute will be triggered without an incident having to reach “acquisition,” a term more readily applicable in scenarios impacting control, possession and use of that private information. Continue Reading Look Out Marvel, There’s a NEW SHIELD in Town

Cross-posted from The Global Privacy Watch blog.

Attorney General Becerra’s office posted the long-awaited draft CCPA regulations a little before 2:00 pm (PST) October 10th. It was a bit of a curve ball, to be perfectly honest (considering the final swath of amendments to the CCPA are not even final until Governor Newsom signs them, or on October 13th). Tellingly, the California Administrative Procedure Act requires the California Department of Finance to approve “major regulations” (and they have 30 days to do that) prior to publication. Based on this, it would seem that these regulations were drafted prior to the amendments to the CCPA going through the legislature. This does not seem like an effective way to draft regulations, but hey, no one should tell the AG he shouldn’t jump the gun! They are now out there so, one reviews anyway.

Topping out at a modest 24 pages (the CCPA itself is 19 pages), the regulations are organized into seven articles. We’re directing our comments to the issues that pop out to us initially, and as always, we’ll post further observations as things progress. Continue Reading And the Wait for CCPA Rules is Over …. Kind Of

This month, the Federal Bureau of Investigation published information and guidance for organizations about ransomware attacks, along with some suggested preventative measures.  There is a section in the bulletin discussing whether victims should consider paying ransom to attackers.  According to the statement, the FBI “does not advocate paying a ransom, in part because it does not guarantee and organization will regain access to its data,” and paying ransoms emboldens criminals to target others.

Several of the suggested “best practices” are somewhat generalized, such as increased employee awareness about how ransomware is delivered, and basic security techniques (we would recommend adding anti-phishing training and tests to the list).  However, several others are more specific.  All of the measures listed should be considered as parts of a comprehensive standard information security program.

Among the list of the FBI’s “Cyber Defense Best Practices” recommended are: Continue Reading FBI Public Service Announcement on Ransomware