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Ashden Fein

Ashden Fein advises clients on cybersecurity and national security matters, including crisis management and incident response, risk management and governance, government and internal investigations, and regulatory compliance.

For cybersecurity matters, Mr. Fein counsels clients on preparing for and responding to cyber-based attacks, assessing security controls and practices for the protection of data and systems, developing and implementing cybersecurity risk management and governance programs, and complying with federal and state regulatory requirements. Mr. Fein frequently supports clients as the lead investigator and crisis manager for global cyber and data security incidents, including data breaches involving personal data, advanced persistent threats targeting intellectual property across industries, state-sponsored theft of sensitive U.S. government information, and destructive attacks.

Additionally, Mr. Fein assists clients from across industries with leading internal investigations and responding to government inquiries related to the U.S. national security. He also advises aerospace, defense, and intelligence contractors on security compliance under U.S. national security laws and regulations including, among others, the National Industrial Security Program (NISPOM), U.S. government cybersecurity regulations, and requirements related to supply chain security.

Before joining Covington, Mr. Fein served on active duty in the U.S. Army as a Military Intelligence officer and prosecutor specializing in cybercrime and national security investigations and prosecutions -- to include serving as the lead trial lawyer in the prosecution of Private Chelsea (Bradley) Manning for the unlawful disclosure of classified information to Wikileaks.

Mr. Fein currently serves as a Judge Advocate in the U.S. Army Reserve.

On March 27, 2024, the U.S. Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency’s (“CISA”) Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (“Proposed Rule”) related to the Cyber Incident Reporting for Critical Infrastructure Act of 2022 (“CIRCIA”) was released on the Federal Register website.  The Proposed Rule, which will be formally published in the Federal Register on April 4, 2024, proposes draft regulations to implement the incident reporting requirements for critical infrastructure entities from CIRCIA, which President Biden signed into law in March 2022.  CIRCIA established two cyber incident reporting requirements for covered critical infrastructure entities: a 24-hour requirement to report ransomware payments and a 72-hour requirement to report covered cyber incidents to CISA.  While the overarching requirements and structure of the reporting process were established under the law, CIRCIA also directed CISA to issue the Proposed Rule within 24 months of the law’s enactment to provide further detail on the scope and implementation of these requirements.  Under CIRCIA, the final rule must be published by September 2025.

The Proposed Rule addresses various elements of CIRCIA, which will be covered in a forthcoming Client Alert.  This blog post focuses primarily on the proposed definitions of two pivotal terms that were left to further rulemaking under CIRCIA (Covered Entity and Covered Cyber Incident), which illustrate the broad scope of CIRCIA’s reporting requirements, as well as certain proposed exceptions to the reporting requirements.  The Proposed Rule will be subject to a review and comment period for 60 days after publication in the Federal Register. Continue Reading CISA Issues Notice of Proposed Rulemaking for Critical Infrastructure Cybersecurity Incident Reporting

On February 26, 2024, the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology (“NIST”) published version 2.0 of its Cybersecurity Framework.  Originally released in 2014 and updated in 2018 and now 2024, the NIST Cybersecurity Framework (“CSF” or “Framework”) “offers a taxonomy of high-level cybersecurity outcomes that can be used by any organization — regardless of its size, sector, or maturity — to better understand, assess, prioritize, and communicate its cybersecurity efforts.”  Globally, organizations, industries, and government agencies have increasingly relied upon the Framework to establish cybersecurity programs and measure their maturity.  NIST had proposed some potentially significant updates to the Framework in a Concept Paper published on January 19, 2023, which this Version 2.0 follows. Continue Reading NIST Publishes the Cybersecurity Framework 2.0

On January 29, 2024, the Department of Commerce (“Department”) published a proposed rule (“Proposed Rule”) to require providers and foreign resellers of U.S. Infrastructure-as-a-Service (“IaaS”) products to (i) verify the identity of their foreign customers and (ii) notify the Department when a foreign person transacts with that provider or reseller to train a large artificial intelligence (“AI”) model with potential capabilities that could be used in malicious cyber-enabled activity. The proposed rule also contemplates that the Department may impose special measures to be undertaken by U.S. IaaS providers to deter foreign malicious cyber actors’ use of U.S. IaaS products.  The accompanying request for comments has a deadline of April 29, 2024.Continue Reading Department of Commerce Issues Proposed Rule to Regulate Infrastructure-as-a-Service Providers and Resellers

Earlier this month, the New York Department of Financial Services (“NYDFS”) announced that it had finalized the Second Amendment to its “first-in-the-nation” cybersecurity regulation, 23 NYCRR Part 500.  This Amendment implements many of the changes that NYDFS originally proposed in prior versions of the Second Amendment released for public comment in November 2022 and

According to a recently-released meeting agenda, the Securities and Exchange Commission’s (“SEC”) upcoming July 26, 2023 meeting will include consideration of adopting rules to enhance disclosures regarding cybersecurity risk management, governance, and incidents by publicly traded companies. 

The SEC initially proposed these rules in March 2022.  If adopted as proposed, the new rules would

On July 13, 2023 the White House issued the National Cybersecurity Strategy Implementation Plan (“NCSIP”).  The NCSIP identifies 65 initiatives – to be led by 18 different departments and agencies – that are designed as a roadmap for implementing the U.S. National Cybersecurity Strategy released earlier this year.  This is the first iteration of the plan, which is intended to be an evolving document that the Administration plans to update annually.  Consistent with the Strategy, the NCSIP contemplates five broad lines of effort (“pillars”):

  • Defending critical infrastructure;
  • Disrupting and dismantling threat actors;
  • Shaping market forces to drive security and resilience;
  • Investing in a resilient future; and
  • Forging international partnerships to pursue shared goals.

Among the many initiatives, the Administration has outlined several specific efforts over the next three years that will be of interest to technology companies, federal contractors, and critical infrastructure owners and operators.Continue Reading White House Releases Implementation Plan for the National Cybersecurity Strategy

Earlier this week, the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) published an update to its rulemaking agenda indicating that two previously-proposed cyber rules might not be approved until October 2023 (although the agenda’s timeframe is an estimate and the rules could be finalized sooner, or later). The proposed rules in question address disclosure requirements regarding cybersecurity

Last week, the U.S. Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (“CISA”) released guidance on Security-by-Design and Security-by-Default principles for technology manufacturers that was jointly developed by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the National Security Agency, as well as cybersecurity authorities in Australia, Canada, United Kingdom, Germany, Netherlands, and New Zealand.  While similar principles have been published in the past, such as those released by the U.S. Federal Trade Commission, this guidance builds on the White House’s recent roll-out of the U.S. National Cybersecurity Strategy and is in line with efforts to encourage a consistent, international approach to software security that emphasizes the responsibilities of software manufacturers across various jurisdictions.  While the guidance primarily focuses on recommendations for technology manufacturers, it also includes recommendations for enterprise customers to “hold their supplying technology manufacturers accountable for the security outcomes of their products.”  CISA and the authoring agencies are seeking feedback on the guidance, and indicated plans to hold future listening sessions to collect feedback. Continue Reading CISA Publishes International Guidance on Implementing Security-by-Design and Security-by-Default Principles for Software Manufacturers and Customers

On March 16, 2023, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (“FERC”) approved a new Reliability Standard “adding new requirements focused on supply chain risk management for low impact bulk electric system (“BES”) Cyber Systems.”  Continue Reading FERC Approves New Cybersecurity Requirements for Low Impact Bulk Electric Systems

On March 21, 2023, the United States Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (“CISA”) announced the issuance of updated Cybersecurity Performance Goals (“CPGs”).  The CPGs, which were originally released in October 2022, are intended to establish a set of fundamental cybersecurity practices to be voluntarily implemented by critical infrastructure owners and operators across all critical infrastructure sectors.  The CPGs apply to both information technology (“IT”) and operational technology (“OT”) and are designed to reduce risk related to known, high-impact cyber threats and adversarial tactics, techniques, and procedures (“TTPs”).Continue Reading CISA Releases Revised Cybersecurity Performance Goals for Critical Infrastructure