Welcome back to our three-part series examining cyber vulnerabilities surrounding family offices and steps they can take to mitigate those risks. In Part One we discussed how family offices are particularly vulnerable to cyber-crime. In Part Two, we reviewed different types and  trends of cyberattacks. Here, we will outline how family offices can defend against cyberattacks.

How Family Offices Can Defend Against Cyberattacks

Over a quarter of multi-million dollar family offices do not have dedicated cybersecurity policies in place to protect their systems. This may be because they do not view themselves as needing an onerous cybersecurity policy. However, this view is short-sighted and can leave family offices subject to heavy losses. Family offices do not need to implement large scale or particularly burdensome policies or procedures. Rather, they can build specialized, flexible programs by utilizing a consultant that is reactive to ongoing and updating threats.
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Welcome back to our three-part series examining vulnerabilities surrounding family offices and steps they can take to mitigate those risks. In Part One we discussed how family offices are particularly vulnerable to cyber-crime. Here, we will review different types and trends of cyberattacks.

Cyberattack Trends

Most cyberattacks are the result of “phishing” emails. “Phishing” refers to a deceptive effort to obtain the recipient’s sensitive information by disguising the sender as someone the recipient knows and would trust. Phishing recipients can be deceived into downloading malicious software, providing personal information like account numbers or PINs, wiring funds or paying invoices to cyber-criminals. Ransomware is malware that denies the victim access to their system’s files until the victim pays a ransom. While malware can also take the form of “drive-by” downloading when a victim visits a website prompting the malware to download, over 90% of malware is still delivered via email.
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At least 25% of family offices have been subjects of cyberattacks, and nearly 40% of them lack a cyber security policy. Welcome to a three-part series that will examine the cyber vulnerabilities surrounding family offices and steps they can take to mitigate those risks.

Family Offices Are Particularly Vulnerable to Cyber-Crime

As part of the global increase in the number of billionaires worldwide, family offices have evolved from little more than holding companies to highly sophisticated financial firms managing family wealth, administering assets and acting like a typical private equity or debt fund. Family offices are managing almost 50% of Ultra High Net Worth family wealth. Given the vast amount of wealth that family offices support, they are prime targets for cyber crime, which some analysts project will account for a global $6 trillion cost by 2021.  The fact that nearly 40% of family offices do not even have a cybersecurity policy in place highlights the need for improvement when it comes to making themselves less vulnerable to cybercrime. 
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The European Union’s (EU) ambitious and far-reaching regulation, the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), became effective on 25 May 2018. On the one-year anniversary, we reflect on some of the principal developments following the implementation of the GDPR

European privacy values: a cultural shift

Critics have derided the GDPR for placing an onerous and expensive compliance burden on businesses, causing confusion and creating ‘data privacy fatigue’ amongst consumers and businesses alike.

Conversely, the furore has generated significant publicity around the GDPR, contributing to a cultural shift towards greater consumer empowerment and control over personal information. Public awareness of the GDPR is high – in May 2018, GDPR was searched more often on Google than either Beyoncé or Kim Kardashian. Individuals have a better understanding of their rights in respect of their personal data – which presents more of a risk to data controllers.

Equally, GDPR has completely changed the risk profile of data protection for most businesses. Under the previous, weakly enforced regime, most businesses treated data protection as a low risk issue. Under the new regime, data protection has become a high-risk issue.
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The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) imposes strict obligations upon organizations that process the “personal data” of European individuals. Failure to comply with GDPR can result in large fines. The UK’s Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO), in recent months, issued a number of fines of £500,000 on global businesses with household names, and such fines have generated a lot of publicity. Many onlookers would be shocked by the magnitude of those fines but may not have appreciated that they were imposed under the Data Protection Act 1998, which was in force when the offending breaches occurred. Had the breaches taken place after May 25th of this year, when the GDPR took effect, those fines would more than likely have been significantly higher.

Businesses have therefore invested significant resources and money to make sure that they do not fall foul of the obligations imposed by the GDPR. Yet, within less than a year of the GDPR becoming binding law, those same businesses face further disruption as Brexit looms.
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2018 Best Legal Blog Contest - Click to Vote

Effective October 1, 2018, Connecticut has the most stringent requirement—24 months—for free mitigation services that must be provided to those affected by a data breach of personally identifiable information (in the case of Connecticut: (A) Social Security number; (B) driver’s license number or state identification card number; (C) credit or debit card number; or (D)

This post originally appeared in our sister publication, Insurance Recovery Blog.

For the second time in ten days, a federal appeals court ruled a crime insurance policy provides coverage for losses arising from a business email compromise. In American Tooling Center, Inc. v. Travelers Casualty and Surety Company of America, No. 17-2014, 2018 WL 3404708 (Sixth Circuit July 13, 2018), the Sixth Circuit held that Travelers was obligated to provide coverage for a loss the insured suffered when it wired $834,000 to a thief’s bank account, believing that it was transmitting a payment to one of its Chinese subcontractors.

Losses arising from business email compromise exceeded $12.5 billion between October 2013 and May 2018. Business email compromise is a form of social-engineering fraud that targets both businesses and individuals who make payments by wire transfer. Thieves accomplish business email compromise by accessing e-mail accounts of vendors or customers of the insured or by invading the computer system of the insured. The thief then provides fraudulent instructions to the insured to wire funds to the thief’s bank account, usually for the stated purpose of paying legitimate invoices.


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Personal information has become the prey of relentless poachers. In light of the influx of data breaches, state legislatures are taking action.  Not surprisingly, now every state has enacted data breach notification laws, which are triggered when personal information is breached.  Read below for a summary of relevant state legislation recently adopted or laws recently amended that pertaining to data breach notification.

Arizona

Arizona amended its data breach notification law, effective July 21, 2018. This amendment requires companies to notify affected consumers within a 45-day window upon discovery of a data breach. If the data breach impacts more than 1,000 consumers, companies must also notify the state attorney general as well as the three largest consumer credit reporting agencies. The state attorney general can also impose up to $500,000 in penalties for a company’s non-compliance.


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Yesterday Gov. Jerry Brown signed California Consumer Privacy Act of 2018, which grants California residents unprecedented control over the collection, use, and sale of personal information. Many have already speculated that other state legislatures will follow suit and adopt a similar law in their own states, as has occurred in the wake of past California laws on data privacy and security. A copy of the law can be found here.

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South Carolina has become the first state to enact cybersecurity legislation for the insurance industry.

On May 3, Governor McMaster signed a bill requiring South Carolina insurers to “develop, implement, and maintain a comprehensive information security program” for their customers’ data. 2017 SC H.B. 4655 (NS). Based on the insurance industry model rules, the South Carolina Insurance Data Security Act has three primary aims: it requires “licensees” to prevent, detect and remediate insurance customer data breaches.


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