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Posts Tagged ‘#cybersecurity’


Experienced IP Litigator, Cybersecurity & Data Privacy Lawyer Gabriel Ramsey Joins Crowell & Moring

November 13, 2017

SAN FRANCISCO, Nov. 13, 2017 /PRNewswire/ — Crowell & Moring LLP is pleased to announce the addition of Gabriel Ramsey as a partner in the firm’s Litigation and Privacy & Cybersecurity Practice groups in San Francisco. Ramsey is a leading California trial lawyer who brings more than 17 years of experience handling complex technology litigation, with a particular focus on intellectual property and cybersecurity. He advises clients on investigations and litigation concerning cybercrime, as well as enforcement matters involving patents, trade secrets, fraud, and other commercial disputes.
Ramsey has extensive experience handling high-tech and entertainment-related matters involving copyright, trademark, trade secret, and patent law. A notable aspect of Ramsey’s practice includes representing Microsoft and other leading companies in investigations and civil litigation involving cybercrime, data breaches, trade secret misappropriation, and brand violations. He also handles licensing matters, open-source licensing disputes, and general commercial disputes. He has significant experience in matters concerning computer software, hardware, Internet and networking technologies, videogames, cloud computing, new media, and entertainment content. He has represented major technology and entertainment companies, including Facebook, EMC Corp., NVIDIA Corp., NCSoft, Fox Entertainment Group, and The Walt Disney Company.

“Gabe is well known among technology companies for litigating matters of great consequence across a range of IP and licensing issues,” said Philip T. Inglima, chair of the firm’s executive committee. “We are building a litigation powerhouse in California, and Gabe’s arrival provides another important boost to those efforts, while also further solidifying the West Coast presence of our Privacy & Cybersecurity Group. We are pleased to welcome him to the firm.”

Ramsey joins the firm from Orrick, where he most recently served as a leader of its Cybersecurity & Data Privacy Group. He has been recognized as one of the top 75 IP litigators in California by the Daily Journal and as an “IP Star” by Managing Intellectual Property magazine.

“Gabe’s significant experience in matters involving cybercrime and data breaches will be of great benefit to clients,” said Evan D. Wolff, co-chair of the firm’s Privacy and Cybersecurity Group. “Of particular note is his work defending companies from cyberattacks by proactively pursuing enforcement actions against criminal organizations.”

Ramsey is among several notable California litigators who have joined Crowell & Moring in recent months. Last month, IP and commercial litigation partners Arthur Beeman and Joel Muchmore (San Francisco) arrived from Arent Fox LLP. In June, Kent B. Goss and Valerie M. Goo (Los Angeles), also both IP and commercial litigation partners, arrived from Orrick.

“Gabe has successfully represented a range of entertainment and technology companies in litigation involving trade secret, patent, copyright and trademark law,” said Jennifer Romano, co-chair of the firm’s Litigation Group. “His experience further strengthens the Litigation Group’s capabilities to handle significant technology-related disputes in California and throughout the country.”

Ramsey said, “Crowell & Moring is a leader in trade secrets litigation and has a notable presence in the privacy and cyber space. The firm is the right fit for my clients, providing a broad platform to help them solve their most challenging issues. I am thrilled to join the firm.”

Ramsey earned his J.D. from the University of California, Berkeley School of Law and his B.A., cum laude, from the University of Massachusetts. He is a member of the Trade Secret Committee of the American Intellectual Property Law Association and a member of Microsoft’s Digital Crimes Community, a private network of individuals in the public and private sectors who specialize in digital crimes and security. He is admitted to practice in California and the District of Columbia.

About Crowell & Moring’s Privacy & Cybersecurity Group
Crowell & Moring’s Privacy & Cybersecurity Group guides clients across multiple industries through the myriad federal, state, and international laws governing the collection, use, transfer, and protection of data. The Group understands the internal and external threats that clients face to their data and systems and provides end-to-end support, from risk mitigation to incident response and litigation defense. The Group provides practical advice that permits our clients to address privacy and cybersecurity issues in a manner that reflects their business needs and risk exposure. The Group integrates with nearly every other practice group in the firm, including intellectual property, corporate, insurance, white collar, trade secrets, health care, energy, transportation, and government contracts to address the full range of privacy, cybersecurity, and litigation risks faced by clients. The Group publishes the Data Law Insights blog, which includes legal insights on navigating privacy, data protection, cybersecurity, information governance, and e-discovery.

About Crowell & Moring’s Litigation Group
Crowell & Moring’s Litigation Group is known for handling high-stakes, bet-the-company litigation. The group’s litigators handle numerous types of disputes, including fraud, breach of contract, business tort, class action, and financial services litigation. With a powerful group of trial lawyers located across the United States and Europe, we handle litigation across a variety of industries, including health care companies, hotels and hospitality, financial services, transportation (auto, railroad, and airlines), telecommunications, and chemical manufacturing, among others.

About Crowell & Moring LLP
Crowell & Moring LLP is an international law firm with approximately 500 lawyers representing clients in litigation and arbitration, regulatory, and transactional matters. The firm is internationally recognized for its representation of Fortune 500 companies in high-stakes litigation, as well as its ongoing commitment to pro bono service and diversity. The firm has offices in Washington, D.C., New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Orange County, London, and Brussels.

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SCOTUS Pick Neil Gorsuch Will Have Important Voice on Data Privacy

February 14, 2017

Neil Gorsuch has been nominated as the new president’s choice for the Supreme Court. He still has to go through Senate confirmation hearings before officially becoming the ninth Justice on the highest court, but some are already discussing his potential impact on cybersecurity and privacy law.

Data security expert Richard Stiennon, chief strategy officer at Blancco Technology Group, said that Gorsuch’s record indicates a preference for accountability in breaches and the like.

“SCOTUS pick Neil Gorsuch is a staunch conservative and is better known for ruling on cases related to religious liberty, criminal law, reproductive/contraception and administrative law,” he told us via email. “But in the few cases that involved technology and digital rights, he hasn’t been very lenient on businesses and held them to a higher standard of accountability.”

One such example is his ruling to uphold a Colorado law requiring retailers who don’t have a physical presence in the state to notify their customers what they owe in taxes. This seems to indicate that he holds businesses to a higher standard of accountability and places the burden of proof on them to demonstrate how they collect, store and manage customer data—and ensure customers’ data privacy isn’t unnecessarily compromised.

“If you look at this ruling, it would suggest that Gorsuch puts customers’ rights first ahead of businesses,” Stiennon said. “In future cases related to violations of the EU GDPR’s ‘right to be forgotten,’ it will be interesting to see whether he brings down a heavy gavel of accountability on businesses.”

Gorsuch, if confirmed, will have a part to play in ongoing privacy and cybersecurity issues. That includes the case of Microsoft v. United States of America, which began in 2013 when a federal judge in New York ordered Microsoft to produce emails associated with a user’s account. The context of the case is that the emails were stored on servers in Dublin, and Microsoft argued that the US courts don’t have authority over servers in other countries.

“If Microsoft loses and the case is sent up to the Supreme Court, it’ll be interesting to see how Gorsuch weighs in on if, when and how government should step in and demand tech companies to prove data is managed and erased properly,” Stiennon said.

Another issue may be net neutrality. Ajit Pai, the senior Republican on the Federal Communications Commission, was recently named chair of the regulators. He’s best-known for his opposition to net neutrality regulation, support for mega-mergers and opposition to data-privacy regulation for ISPs.

Working with his fellow Republican FCC commissioner Mike O’Rielly, Pai has indicated plans to revisit internet regulation.

In March 2015, the FCC voted in a 3-2 vote along party lines to reclassify broadband as a public utility—the result of a rocky year at the US’s top regulator. In January 2014, Verizon won its challenge of the Open Internet Order in the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. Verizon argued that the FCC lacked the authority to enforce net neutrality because, it claimed, Congress did not grant the agency the ability to do so. And that’s because broadband is not classified as a public utility, the way telecoms are.

After a series of legal challenges, the US Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit in June 2016 broadly upheld the FCC’s reclassification of broadband as a Title II service. Justices Tatel and Srinivasan, writing for the majority, affirmed the FCC’s broad discretion to reclassify wired broadband service as a telecommunications service, and found that none of the challenges raised to FCC authority had merit.

With Pai at the top however, there are likely to be changes in policy and new legal challenges.

“With a new head of the FCC who does not support net neutrality this may be an issue in coming years. Judge Gorsuch, being the strict Consitutionalist that he is, may rule to strike down net neutrality regulations,” Stiennon added.

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Trump order may give Pentagon bigger role in civilian cybersecurity

February 6, 2017

The Department of Homeland Security fears losing its primacy in civilian cybersecurity through an impending White House executive order, according to current and former officials, raising concerns about digital security in the Donald Trump era becoming a stalking horse for surveillance.

Trump had been expected on Tuesday afternoon to issue an executive order on cybersecurity, a long-forecast first venture into a subject central to rising public, security and international anxieties after mass hacks of big companies and the US government itself. But the White House abruptly told pool reporters that the signing was cancelled without explanation.

Draft versions of the order that have leaked have elevated the Pentagon to a co-equal role with DHS over cybersecurity, which would give the military, with its capabilities and interests in surveillance, a deeper role into civilian digital protection than ever before.

Officials suggested the order would be significantly different from the draft. But as of Monday night, senior DHS officials had yet to see a finalized order, the Guardian has learned, though drafts have circulated within the department.

But some internal sources said the cybersecurity decision-making process, though opaque to them, looks relatively sober compared to the mass turmoil resulting from Trump’s Friday immigration halt, which has roiled the department, aroused international fury at the White House and on Monday resulted in the late-night firing of the acting attorney general for her unwillingness to defend the order in court.

Some across the administration – none of whom would speak for the record or for the identification of their agencies, for fear of reprisal – believe the recent orders are moving the mammoth homeland security department, reluctantly created by George W Bush after the 9/11 attacks, into an immigration enforcement agency with vestigial roles in counterterrorism, cybersecurity and natural disaster response.

Others consider that fear overblown. They believe Trump is focusing the department first on central campaign promises – an immigration crackdown and a de facto Muslim ban – though not at permanent expense of the department’s other responsibilities.

But both camps attributed the confusion to a policymaking process directed by the White House and left to the cabinet departments to belatedly implement.

“None of these executive orders have been the product of an interagency process,” said a senior administration official.

Some DHS officials think private companies would prefer to deal with them rather than the military.

“Cybersecurity is about more than attacks and nation-states,” said Denelle Dixon, the chief lawyer for the Mozilla Foundation.

A former senior DHS official said the department’s apparent downgrading would lead to surveillance fears among companies concerned with customer privacy, as well as interrupting relationships built by the department’s undersecretary, Suzanne Spaulding; the deputy undersecretary, Phyllis Schneck; and the assistant secretary for cybersecurity, Andy Ozment, with Silicon Valley firms in the years after the disclosures of Edward Snowden.

“Those aren’t easy things to replicate, and those companies aren’t equipped to deal with the demand from the Pentagon,” the ex-official said.

Trump was scheduled to meet Tuesday with Rudy Giuliani, the former New York City mayor who has thrown his political lot in with the president and whom, on 12 January, Trump unveiled as an informal cybersecurity adviser. Various cybersecurity experts were also slated to discuss the issue with Trump on Tuesday afternoon.

According to a White House official, the order will instruct agency heads to be accountable for their data defenses, with the White House Office of Management and Budget in charge of assessing overall federal vulnerability.

A draft version of the order raised some alarms within DHS and former staff for placing the secretary of defense and the still-unconfirmed director of national intelligence as “co-chairs” of various expected reviews on cybersecurity alongside John Kelly, the new homeland security secretary.

Of particular concern is a “capabilities review” the draft report orders, to identify “an initial set of capabilities needing improvement to adequately protect US critical infrastructure”. Defense secretary Jim Mattis will chair that review, along with Kelly and Adm Mike Rogers, the commander of the surveillance-oriented NSA and its young military twin, US Cyber Command.

During the Obama administration, when cybersecurity was elevated as a concern, DHS was tasked with protecting civilian government data networks and liaising with the private sector, including vulnerable companies. Cyber Command was charged with defending military networks and attacking adversaries.

The NSA, whose tremendous cryptographic capabilities and technical expertise made it the incubator for Cyber Command, has been the elephant in the room, particularly after Snowden’s disclosures of mass surveillance alarmed tech giants. Legislative efforts to mandate private sector data-sharing with the government, routed through DHS, attracted a significant backlash over the degree of access the NSA would have to data it would otherwise have to acquire with a warrant.

An animating impulse behind the executive order is the escalating scale of data hacks that seem to surpass the current institutional structures for preventing or mitigating them.

A White House official did not respond to a request for comment about the future of DHS within the new cybersecurity structure.

Dixon, the chief legal and business officer of the Mozilla Foundation, said it was difficult to evaluate Trump’s cybersecurity policy before its development and looked forward to indications that the subject “will be a priority” for the new administration.

“However, we are concerned with a shift in responsibility for cybersecurity from a civilian agency to the Department of Defense. We’ve talked about how protecting cybersecurity is a shared responsibility and we believe that now more than ever. There is a need for governments, tech companies and users to work together on encryption, fixing security vulnerabilities and responsible surveillance,” Dixon told the Guardian.

“Encryption, secure communications, government surveillance, lawful hacking and even online privacy and data protection, at the end of the day, are fundamentally about securing data and protecting users. It’s about the importance and challenges of the day to day necessities of making systems secure and trustworthy for the internet as a global public resource.”

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Hackers Take Control of a Moving Tesla’s Brakes at a 12 miles distance.

September 26, 2016

Now that cars such as Tesla’s are increasingly high-tech and connected to the internet, cybersecurity has become as big an issue as traditional safety features, and Chinese researchers were able to interfere with the car’s brakes, door locks and other electronic features, demonstrating an attack that could cause havoc.

Three months since the first fatal crash involving a Tesla driving in autopilot mode, hackers have taken remote control of a Tesla Model S from a distance of 12 miles, interfering with the car’s brakes, door locks, dashboard computer screen and other electronically controlled features in the high-tech car.
A team of Chinese security researchers – Samuel LV, Sen Nie, Ling Liu and Wen Lu from Keen Security Lab – were able to target the car wirelessly and remotely in an attack that could cause havoc for any Tesla driver.
The hack targeted the car’s controller area network, or Can bus, the collection of connected computers found inside every modern vehicle that control everything from its indicators to its brakes. In a video demonstrating the vulnerability, the hackers targeted both the Tesla Model S P85 and Model 75D, although they said it would work on other models too.
Three months since the first fatal crash involving a Tesla driving in autopilot mode, hackers have taken remote control of a Tesla Model S from a distance of 12 miles, interfering with the car’s brakes, door locks, dashboard computer screen and other electronically controlled features in the high-tech car.
A team of Chinese security researchers – Samuel LV, Sen Nie, Ling Liu and Wen Lu from Keen Security Lab – were able to target the car wirelessly and remotely in an attack that could cause havoc for any Tesla driver.
The hack targeted the car’s controller area network, or Can bus, the collection of connected computers found inside every modern vehicle that control everything from its indicators to its brakes. In a video demonstrating the vulnerability, the hackers targeted both the Tesla Model S P85 and Model 75D, although they said it would work on other models too.
The researchers acted responsibly in disclosing the vulnerabilities they had discovered to Tesla, and the company created a software update that it delivered over-the-air.
Tesla said of the vulnerability: “The issue demonstrated is only triggered when the web browser is used, and also required the car to be physically near to and connected to a malicious Wi-Fi hotspot. Our realistic estimate is that the risk to our customers was very low, but this did not stop us from responding quickly.”
The hackers said in a blogpost that it “appreciates the proactive attitude and efforts” of Tesla’s security team on fixing the problems efficiently.
This is not the first time that Tesla has been hacked. A group of researchers at the University of South Carolina were able to fool the Tesla Model S’s autopilot system into perceiving objects where none existed or in other cases to miss a real object in Tesla’s path.
Now that cars are increasingly high-tech and connected to the internet, cybersecurity has become as big an issue as more traditional safety features.
Tesla is known for its commitment to this challenge and has hired dozens of security researchers to test its cars. The company also runs a bug bounty program, which invites other hackers to point out vulnerabilities – as happened with Keen Security Lab – in return for cash prizes.

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White House Appoints First Federal Chief Information Security Officer

September 16, 2016

Obama appointee Gregory Touhill has an opportunity to foster a substantive conversation with the public over privacy issues.
The Obama administration recently appointed the United States’ first federal chief information security officer, in the latest of a series of moves aimed at shoring up cybersecurity both within the government and the country at large. Former Air Force general Gregory Touhill has been named to the post, the duties of which were described in the administration’s announcement:
General Touhill is currently the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Cybersecurity and Communications in the Office of Cybersecurity and Communications (CS&C) at the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), where he focuses on the development and implementation of operational programs designed to protect our government networks and critical infrastructure.
In his new role as Federal CISO, Greg will leverage his considerable experience in managing a range of complex and diverse technical solutions at scale with his strong knowledge of both civilian and military best practices, capabilities, and human capital training, development and retention strategies.
Historically, the U.S. government has placed a lot of emphasis on fighting hackers and stopping cybersecurity attacks, but that’s just a small piece of the overall security puzzle, says Constellation Research VP and principal analyst Steve Wilson. There’s a major opportunity for Touhill to drive a much broader and more valuable cybersecurity agenda with a focus on authentication and encryption. (It should be noted that Touhill, as an appointee, could be replaced by the incoming administration.)
“Giving citizens the ability to manage their diverse identities and attributes online is critical when it comes to the digital economy,” Wilson says. “The root cause of so much cyber insecurity right now is stolen passwords and identity theft.”
Moreover, many U.S. government agencies are going toward a mobile-first strategy for service delivery. It makes perfect sense for the government to back efforts such as the FIDO Alliance, an industry consortium working on a set of specifications for advanced authentication leveraging the features of smart devices, such as biometrics.
Last year, the government office charged with implementing the National Strategy for Trusted Identities in Cyberspace joined FIDO. In his high-profile role, Touhill could serve as a strong advocate for more U.S. agencies to join the effort.
Of course, there’s the question of how much the U.S. public would trust stronger advocacy for authentication from the government in light of the domestic surveillance revelations of recent years, and controversial actions such as the FBI’s demands for a security backdoor on a suspected terrorist’s iPhone.
It’s important for the public to take a measured view, Wilson says. While the FBI may have overreached, you have to assume that its general goal is go after the bad guys, he adds.
However, the U.S. government “still has to have a genuine conversation with the public about privacy,” he says. “Ever since 9/11, there has been a thesis that the world has changed and the security-privacy balance needs to be shifted. I don’t know if that’s true but why don’t we have a conversation about it? I don’t see many governments having that discussion in good faith. They’re saying, ‘trust us.'”To that end, Touhill is in a position to kick off just such a conversation.

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