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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 8, 2023, the United States Department of Health and Human Services (“HHS”), through the Administration for Strategic Preparedness and Response and the Health Sector Coordinating Counsel Joint Cybersecurity Working Group, released an updated version of its Cybersecurity Framework Implementation Guide (the “Guide”) “to help the public and private health care sectors prevent cybersecurity incidents.”  Specifically, the Guide aims to help healthcare organizations leverage the NIST Cybersecurity Framework to “determine their cybersecurity goals, assess their current cybersecurity practices, or lack thereof, and help identify gaps for remediation.”  Continue Reading HHS Releases Guidance to Help Healthcare Organizations Align with the NIST Cybersecurity Framework

On March 3, 2023, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”) published a memorandum requiring states to evaluate the cybersecurity of operational technology used by public water systems (“PWSs”) “when conducting PWS sanitary surveys or through other state programs.”  EPA’s memorandum “interprets the regulatory requirements relating to the conduct of sanitary surveys to require that

On March 7, 2023, the United States Transportation Security Administration (“TSA”) announced the issuance of new cybersecurity requirements for airport and aircraft operators on an emergency basis.  “The new emergency amendment requires that impacted TSA-regulated entities develop an approved implementation plan that describes measures they are taking to improve their cybersecurity resilience and prevent disruption and degradation to their infrastructure.”Continue Reading TSA Issues New Cybersecurity Requirements for Airport and Aircraft Operators

The United States National Cybersecurity Strategy, released on March 2, 2023, is poised to place significant responsibility for cybersecurity on technology companies, federal contractors, and critical infrastructure owners and operators.  The Strategy articulates a series of objectives and recommended executive and legislative actions that, if implemented, would increase the cybersecurity responsibilities and requirements of these types of entities.  The overall goal of the Strategy is to create a “defensible, resilient digital ecosystem” where the costs of an attack are more than the cost of defending those systems and where “neither incidents nor errors cascade into catastrophic, systemic consequences.”  The Strategy outlines two fundamental shifts to how the federal government will attempt to allocate roles, responsibilities, and resources in cyberspace. Continue Reading White House Releases National Cybersecurity Strategy

In February, the Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) published a blog post that elucidated key security principles from recent FTC data security and privacy orders.  Specifically, the FTC highlighted three practices that the Commission regards as “effectively protect[ing] user data.”  These practices include: (1) offering multi-factor authentication (“MFA”) for consumers and requiring it for employees; (2) requiring that connections within a company’s system be both encrypted and authenticated (e.g., deploying a “zero trust” methodology); and (3) requiring companies to develop data retention schedules.  The FTC noted that while these measures “are not the sum-total of everything the FTC expects from an effective security program, they are a sample of provisions [that the FTC has] seen recently that speak directly to the idea of attacking things at their root cause to produce uniquely effective results.”Continue Reading FTC Publishes Blog Post on Data Security Practices for Complex Systems

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (“FERC”) issued a final rule (Order No. 887) directing the North American Electric Reliability Corporation (“NERC”) to develop new or modified Reliability Standards that require internal network security monitoring (“INSM”) within Critical Infrastructure Protection (“CIP”) networked environments.  This Order may be of interest to entities that develop, implement, or maintain hardware or software for operational technologies associated with bulk electric systems (“BES”).Continue Reading FERC Orders Development of New Internal Network Security Monitoring Standards

On January 19, 2023, the National Institute of Standards and Technology (“NIST”) published a Concept Paper setting out “Potential Significant Updates to the Cybersecurity Framework.”  Originally released in 2014, the NIST Cybersecurity Framework (“CSF” or “Framework”) is a framework designed to assist organizations with developing, aligning, and prioritizing “cybersecurity activities with [] business/mission requirements, risk tolerances, and resources.”  Globally, organizations, industries, and government agencies have increasingly relied upon the Framework to establish cybersecurity programs and measure their maturity.  The NIST CSF was previously updated in 2018, and NIST now seeks public comment on the latest changes outlined in the Concept Paper.Continue Reading NIST Requests Comments on Potential Significant Updates to the Cybersecurity Framework

The New York Department of Financial Services (“NYDFS”) published the latest draft of its Proposed Second Amendment to its landmark Cybersecurity Regulation (23 NYCRR 500) on November 9, 2022.  The proposed second amendment comes after an initial comment period on an earlier-released draft amendment released on July 29, 2022.  NYDFS is accepting comments on the proposed second amendment through January 9, 2023. Continue Reading New York Department of Financial Services Proposed Second Amendment to Cybersecurity Regulation – Comments Close January 9, 2023

On September 14, 2022, the Director of the Office of Management and Budget (“OMB”) issued a memorandum to the heads of executive branch departments and agencies addressing the enhancement of security of the federal software supply chain.  The memorandum applies to all software (other than agency-developed software) developed or experiencing major version changes to be operated “on the agency’s information systems or otherwise affecting the agency’s information,” and requires new self-attestations from software vendors before that software can be used by agencies.  Continue Reading OMB Issues Memorandum on Self-Attestations by Software Developers of Secure Software Development Practices and Collection of Software Bill of Materials

On September 12, 2022, the U.S. Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (“CISA”) published a Request for Information, seeking public comment on how to structure implementing regulations for reporting requirements under the Cyber Incident Reporting for Critical Infrastructure Act of 2022 (“CIRCIA”).  Written comments are requested on or before November 14, 2022 and may be submitted through the Federal eRulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov.Continue Reading CISA Requests Public Comment on Implementing Regulations for the Cyber Incident Reporting for Critical Infrastructure Act