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Top 5 Cybersecurity Articles of 2014

Welcome to Offit Kurman’s year-end countdown series, a look back at the top articles, news, and blog posts written by and about our team of attorneys over the past year. These lists collect the most thought-provoking content we had to offer in 2014, as chosen by our readers. This past year marked a turning point in cybersecurity: digital threats are now every organization’s problem. No longer confined to the technology sector, online hackers and cybercriminals target firms of all sizes including—increasingly—small businesses. With potential damages in the millions of dollars, limiting cyber liability is a leading concern for many companies. Fortunately, Offit Kurman’s attorneys can help. Our Cybersecurity group is dedicated to tackling the complex issues arising from this emerging field. Check out our top 5 most shared and liked Cybersecurity articles of 2014:

5. International Cooperation In Combating Cyberthreats: The U.S.- Israel Example

In recent years, two significant developments—(1) the sabotage of centrifuges and Programmable Logic Controllers at Iran’s secret Natanz nuclear fuel-enrichment facility by the Stuxnet worm, and (2) the accelerating growth in the tremendous investment by American information technology (“IT”) giants in Israel—have come to epitomize the close cooperation between the U.S. and Israel in cyberspace. Although neither the U.S. nor Israeli government has claimed responsibility for the Stuxnet attack on Iran, it has been widely reported as the work of a collaborative effort between the two governments. Moreover, a 2013 NSA document, which surely would not have become public but for Edward Snowden, reports that the U.S. National Security Agency (“NSA”) “maintains a far-reaching technical and analytic relationship” with its Israeli counterpart, “sharing information on access, intercept, targeting, language, analysis and reporting.” Click here to read the full article.

4. Cyber Deals Deconstructed: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly of Cybersecurity Mergers & Acquisitions by Michael N. Mercurio

It’s sales season in the cybersecurity industry. Why? Just take a look at the headlines. Edward Snowden leaked classified national security documents last year, prompting global interest in privacy matters. Retail chain Target suffered a devastating customer data breach months later. Then emerged the Heartbleed bug, which cyber-criminals exploited to obtain user passwords kept by many of the tech’s leading companies—including consumer-facing giants such as Google, Netflix, Facebook, and Yahoo. These news-making events, coupled with high-profile deals such as FireEye’s acquisitions of Mandiant in January (for $1 billion) and nPulse Technologies in May ($70 million), have lead to a perfect storm of opportunity for cybersecurity firms and startups looking to sell. With every goldrush, however, comes danger. Click here to read the full article.

3. Why Do I Need an Attorney for a Cybersecurity Issue? by Edward Tolchin

Cybersecurity risk is the number one issue keeping company directors up at night, according to a recent FTI Consulting survey. Cybersecurity, it turns out, is not infallible—not even close. And its use presents several unfamiliar legal matters, such as compliance with national security requirements, civil litigation over data and privacy breaches, and corporate governance. The bottom line: Even with a rock-solid cybersecurity system, you still need an attorney. Legal counsel can help you reduce your company’s cybersecurity legal risks. Click here to read the full article.

2. Cybersecurity for the Non-Cyber Company

You can’t pick up a magazine, read a newspaper or log onto a newsfeed without being bombarded with stories about cyber threats. The recent attack on Target’s database and Edward Snowden’s removal of confidential information from NSA are just two of many examples of the on-going attack on our nation’s data networks. These attacks prove that even the most costly systems can fail against this onslaught of threats from increasingly sophisticated hackers worldwide. Federal contractors have become accustomed to the need for vigilance and have been immersed in actively identifying and thwarting invasions to their computer system. Unfortunately, cyber attacks are not limited to federal contractors or even to large companies; recent studies reveal that hackers regularly attack businesses with far smaller revenue. In fact, smaller businesses have become favorite targets for hackers precisely because security is typically more lax. Click here to read the full article.

1. Social Media Policy and Cybersecurity by Edward Tolchin

The overlap between a company’s social media policy and the security of its business and information systems may not seem readily apparent. But, the overlap is real. A bad social media policy, or none at all, can cost your company money. Why? Social media, in addition to being a great mover of opinion and creator of ideas, also can be a valuable source of sensitive business information, which bad actors can and will exploit. Cyber spies troll social media sites for information ranging from salaries, to profit margins, to contract performance issues, and everything in between. Bloomberg, for example, has reported about how an HP executive inadvertently told competitors on a social media site “previously undisclosed details of Hewlett-Packard’s cloud-computing services. The information was later removed, though not before rivals got a look at the plans.” Click here to read the full article.

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