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Susan B. Cassidy

Ms. Cassidy represents clients in the defense, intelligence, and information technologies sectors.  She works with clients to navigate the complex rules and regulations that govern federal procurement and her practice includes both counseling and litigation components.  Ms. Cassidy conducts internal investigations for government contractors and represents her clients before the Defense Contract Audit Agency (DCAA), Inspectors General (IG), and the Department of Justice with regard to those investigations.  From 2008 to 2012, Ms. Cassidy served as in-house counsel at Northrop Grumman Corporation, one of the world’s largest defense contractors, supporting both defense and intelligence programs. Previously, Ms. Cassidy held an in-house position with Motorola Inc., leading a team of lawyers supporting sales of commercial communications products and services to US government defense and civilian agencies. Prior to going in-house, Ms. Cassidy was a litigation and government contracts partner in an international law firm headquartered in Washington, DC.

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 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

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

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

This is the sixth in the series of Covington blogs on implementation of Executive Order 14028, “Improving the Nation’s Cybersecurity,” issued by President Biden on May 12, 2021 (the “Cyber EO”).  The first blog summarized the Cyber EO’s key provisions and timelines, and the second, third, fourth, and fifth blogs described the actions taken by various federal agencies to implement the EO during June, July, August, and September 2021, respectively.  This blog summarizes key actions taken to implement the Cyber EO during October 2021.

Although the recent developments this month are directly applicable to the U.S. Government, the standards being established for U.S. Government agencies could be adopted as industry standards for all organizations that develop or acquire software similar to various industries adopting the NIST Cybersecurity Framework as a security controls baseline.
Continue Reading October 2021 Developments Under President Biden’s Cybersecurity Executive Order

On May 12, the Biden Administration issued an “Executive Order on Improving the Nation’s Cybersecurity.”  The Order seeks to strengthen the federal government’s ability to respond to and prevent cybersecurity threats, including by modernizing federal networks, enhancing the federal government’s software supply chain security, implementing enhanced cybersecurity practices and procedures in the federal government, and creating government-wide plans for incident response.  The Order covers a wide array of issues and processes, setting numerous deadlines for recommendations and actions by federal agencies, and focusing on enhancing the protection of federal networks in partnership with the service providers on which federal agencies rely.  Private sector entities, including federal contractors and service providers, will have opportunities to provide input to some of these actions.
Continue Reading President Biden Signs Executive Order Aimed at Improving Government Cybersecurity

Today, Susan Cassidy, Ashden Fein, Moriah Daugherty, and Melinda Lewis posted an article on Inside Government Contracts about the June 19, 2019 announcement by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (“NIST”) of the long-awaited update to Special Publication (“SP”) 800-171 Rev. 1, Protecting Controlled Unclassified Information in Nonfederal Systems and Organizations.

The update

On March 26, 2019, the Senate Armed Services’ Subcommittee on Cybersecurity held a hearing to receive testimony assessing how the Department of Defense’s (“DOD”) cybersecurity policies and regulations have affected the Defense Industrial Base (“DIB”).

To gain a better understanding of the DIB’s cybersecurity concerns, the Subcommittee invited William LaPlante, Senior Vice President and General

[The referenced article was originally published in Law360.]

Since August 2015, defense contractors have been on notice that they were required to implement the security controls in National Institute of Standards and Technology (“NIST”) Special Publication (“SP”) 800-171 no later than December 31, 2017 on covered contractor information systems. Although the focus has been

On December 20, 2017, the National Institute of Standards and Technology (“NIST”) held a live webcast to discuss the draft updates to the Framework for Improving Critical Infrastructure Cybersecurity (“the Cybersecurity Framework”) and the Roadmap for Improving Critical Infrastructure Cybersecurity (“the Roadmap”). Although the webcast is not currently available online, NIST plans to publish a recording of the live webcast in early January 2018.

During this webcast, NIST provided an overview of the updates to Version 1.1 of the Cybersecurity Framework (“Version 1.1”), which were analyzed in previous blog posts on Inside Privacy and Inside Government Contracts. The webcast included a discussion of the following topics:
Continue Reading NIST Holds Webcast to Discuss Updates to Cybersecurity Framework