Category Archives: Cyber-Liability

It’s the Little Things That Count in Cybersecurity

Today it seems as though cyber-security protections are always a half-step behind hackers. For every patch that quietly protects from one type of ransomware, there’s another WannaCry infecting a major company or financial institution. Of course, cyber-security is an important concern for all businesses, including professionals, a point which is still gaining awareness across the country. As these less technologically sophisticated businesses learn more about the importance of cyber-security in the modern world, it can be easy to forget that there are many everyday protections that are just as valuable as the software that protects your data.

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IRS Warns CPAs: Beware of Phishing

Businesses are increasingly becoming the targets of sophisticated cyber-attacks, and professionals are no exception. When cyber-criminals breach a professional service firm, they not only may gain access to the firm’s corporate data, but also confidential information from the firm’s clients. Therefore, it is incumbent on all professionals to make data security a priority.

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Liability for Lax Data Security

Clients entrust professionals with personal information. As such, professionals have an ethical duty not to disclose confidential information in a manner not permitted by the client. However, in today’s electronic age, professionals are also expected to take proactive steps to ensure that third-parties do not access confidential client information without authorization. Professionals who fail to prioritize client data security could expose themselves to civil liability.

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Baseball’s Cyber Lesson: The Cyber Field of Dreams

Remember when you chose your first online login credentials? Perhaps it was for your brand new Hotmail account, or that lightning fast AOL dial-up internet. Like many people, it was probably the first time you ever had to choose a password and it was also probably some combination of your kids’ names, your spouse’s name or your mailing address. Like far too many people, your password in 2016 may not be much different from the one you made in 1996. Despite the best efforts of IT, most people are loath to complicate their lives with long and varying passwords. However, corporate espionage is a real threat in today’s computerized society and executives must realize that treating the privacy of your company account is a recipe for liability. While it may not be your job to keep the entire system safe, it is your job to keep your key to it safe.

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Liability for Hacked Emails?

Professionals depend on third-party email services to operate their business. As a result, professionals may assume that the vendor is safeguarding their electronic information and therefore the professional is not exposed. False. Consider an attorney sued recently for malpractice arising from an e-mail hacking scam.

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Cyber Risks for Contractors

Professional have become increasingly reliant on digital technology to run their practices. This digital revolution has reshaped the way that many professionals operate and has allowed professionals to better service their clients. At the same time, reliance on technology has created new areas of exposure for professionals.

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Liability for Failing to Prevent Cyber Risk

Cyber liability threats continue to pose a danger for companies and professionals. In order to help mitigate the damages of cyber breaches, businesses are becoming increasingly reliant on third-party security vendors to provide cyber consulting and to manage their data security risks. While prioritizing data security is an important step for firms to take to minimize their own exposure, it is not always possible to eliminate threats entirely. And when breaches do occur, businesses and their customers may look to hold these third-party data security companies accountable for failing to prevent attacks.

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Recent Survey: You’re Not Cyber Ready

Cyber liability claims are on the rise. Recent breaches against Home Depot, Target and Walmart have grabbed media attention. However, it is not only large retailers who are targets for attack. In fact, the majority of attacks are directed to small businesses. According to a recent study, the average total insurance claim for cyber breaches against small companies is over $600,000 and the average for larger companies is close to $5 million. Are you prepared?

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Attorneys: Don’t Hack Your Adversaries’ Files

Professionals look for ways to gain an edge over their competition. Taking extra time to prepare, investigate claims, and anticipate an adversary’s strategy can often mean the difference between success and failure. However, professionals must ensure that their attempts to gain a tactical advantage do not run afoul of ethics rules. When professionals cross the line, they not only jeopardize their clients’ interests, but also put themselves at risk of litigation or disciplinary action. Some lines are clearer than others. For example, one firm recently learned that it is improper to hack into an adversaries' files to gain a strategic edge.

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Employer Liability for Privacy Breach?

Professionals are often entrusted with confidential information. Ethical rules as well as federal and state laws limit when such information may be accessed by professionals and under what circumstances it may be disseminated. Sure, professionals may be held accountable for errors that result in the unintended disclosure of confidential or sensitive data. However, liability is not limited to the professional directly responsible for the breach; rather, employers may be on the hook too. In fact, the employer may be responsible even if the employee’s conduct was illegal or in violation of company policy.

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