The Securities and Exchange Commission sanctioned eight registered broker-dealer and investment advisory firms this week for failures in their cybersecurity policies and procedures. Those failures resulted in email account takeovers, which exposed the personal information of thousands of customers and clients at each firm. Those firms paid penalties ranging from $200,000 to $300,000.
The threat of ransomware attacks against all American businesses is so great that on June 2, 2021, the White House issued a memo to all corporate executives and business leaders with the subject “What We Urge You To Do To Protect Against The Threat of Ransomware.” This is the first time such a memo has ever been issued. That is how serious the threat of ransomware attacks is to our nation.
On April 14, 2021, the Department of Labor’s Employee Benefits Security Administration (“EBSA”) issued cybersecurity guidance for retirement plan fiduciaries and service providers, as well as plan participants. In the guidance, the EBSA states that ERISA fiduciaries are required to take appropriate steps to mitigate internal and external cybersecurity threats to plan participants and retirement plan assets. To assist fiduciaries and service providers in fulfilling this obligation, the EBSA issued two documents that describe cybersecurity best practices – Cybersecurity Program Best Practices and Tips for Hiring a Service Provider. The EBSA also issued some basic rules – Online Security Tips – to help participants reduce the risk of fraud and loss to their retirement accounts.
Nearly Half of all Businesses hit by Cyber Attacks in 2020
43% of businesses in the United States and Europe were hit with a cyber attack in 2020, an increase of 5% from 2019 which was 38%, according to Hiscox’s Cyber Readiness Report. Businesses cannot ignore this threat and must face it head-on. All businesses should now have an operational and maturing cyber risk management program in place that is led by their trusted cyber legal counsel.
The United States Department of Health and Human Services reached an agreement with Lifespan Health System Affiliated Covered Entity (Lifespan ACE) in which Lifespan agreed to pay $1,040,000 and adopt a corrective action plan in the wake of its data breach that exposed over 20,431 patients’ protected health information. The breach occurred when an employee’s unencrypted laptop was stolen which contained electronic protected health information (ePHI) including: patients’ names, medical record numbers, demographic information, and medication information.
Section 3221 of the CARES Act, signed into law on March 27, 2020, sets the stage for HHS to make significant changes to 42 C.F.R. Part 2, governing the confidentiality of Substance Use Disorder (“SUD”) records. Under the Act, HHS has 12 months to work with appropriate Federal agencies to make revisions to 42 C.F.R. Part 2 consistent with Section 3221’s mandates.
By now everyone has now heard of — and likely used — Zoom for staying connected during the COVID-19 pandemic. In what may have been a brilliant strategy to gain market share during adverse times, Zoom offered its videoconferencing service for free to schools, organizations, businesses, and individuals as a means of staying connected while the world is exercising social distancing and it seems as if everyone is now using Zoom.
The DC Federal District Court issued an opinion in Ciox Health, LLC v. Azar, et al., Case No. 18-CV-00040 (D.D.C. January 23, 2020) that reverses portions of guidance issued by the Office for Civil Rights (“OCR”) in 2016 related to the fees that a healthcare provider may charge for medical records that are requested by a patient and directed to a third party. The original HIPAA Privacy Rule included provisions that a “covered entity” (1) must provide patients the right to access his or her protected health information (“PHI”) within a designated record set and (2) could only charge a reasonable cost-based fee for such access. In 2009, the HITECH Act amended HIPAA to provide that a patient could request that the patient’s access to PHI maintained in an electronic health record (“EHR”) be directed to a third party. In 2013, the Omnibus Rule further broadened the third party directive and allowed patients to make this third party directive for access to PHI contained in any format. Lastly, in 2016, OCR issued guidance that applied the fee limitation from the original HIPAA Privacy Rule to situations in which the patient directs the PHI to a third party.
Our previous article “Does the CCPA Apply to My Company?”[i] outlined some questions to help determine if your company is included in the definition of business for the CCPA. Here, we give a brief overview of the law and discuss both its potential effects and enforcement.
The United States Department of Health and Human Services reached an agreement with Touchstone Medical Imaging in which Touchstone agreed to pay $3 million and adopt a corrective action plan in the wake of its data breach that exposed over 300,000 patients’ protected health information.