Financial Institutions

On December 19, 2016, the New York State Assembly Standing Committee on Banks heard testimony about a proposed regulation introduced by the New York State Department of Financial Services that would require financial services companies to develop and implement cybersecurity programs to defend against cyber-attacks.  As we covered when Governor Andrew Cuomo announced this first-in-the-nation

On October 11, 2016, the finance ministers and central bank governors of the Group of 7 (G-7) countries announced the publication of the Fundamental Elements of Cybersecurity for the Financial Sector, a non-binding guidance document for financial sector entities.  The publication  describes eight fundamental “elements” of effective cybersecurity risk management to guide public and private sector entities in designing cyber security programs based on their specific risk profile and culture.  The goal of the G-7 is to provide a common framework for the financial sector to develop security programs that will “help bolster the overall cybersecurity and resiliency of the international financial system.”

The eight elements describe the core components of a comprehensive cybersecurity program, while leaving the strategic and operational details to each entity.  The publication is not intended to serve as a binding, one-size-fits-all set of requirements; rather, it describes high-level programmatic “building blocks” that each entity can customize to its own security strategy and operating structure.  Each entity should tailor its application of the elements based on an evaluation of its “operational and threat landscape, role in the sector, and legal and regulatory requirements,” and be informed by its specific “approach to risk-management and culture.”

Continue Reading G-7 Publishes Fundamental Elements of Cybersecurity for the Financial Sector

On September 13, 2016, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced a proposed regulation that would require financial service institutions to develop and implement cybersecurity programs to prevent and mitigate cyber-attacks.  The proposed regulation will be subject to a 45-day comment period once it is published in the New York State Register. The regulation will

The EU Network and Information Security (NIS) Directive now looks likely to enter into force in August of this year.  Member States will then have 21 months to implement it into national law before the new security and incident notification obligations will start to apply to the following entities:

  • designated* “operators of essential services” within the energy, transport, banking, financial market infrastructures, health, drinking water supply and distribution, and digital infrastructure sectors; and
  • certain “digital service providers” that offer services within the EU, namely online market places, online search engines and cloud computing services, excluding small/micro enterprises.

* Once implemented in national law, Member States will have a further 6 months to apply criteria laid down in the Directive to identify specific operators of essential services covered by national rules; they do not need to undertake this exercise in relation to digital service providers, which shall be deemed to be under the jurisdiction of the Member State in which it has its “main establishment” (i.e., its head office in the Union).
Continue Reading EU Cyber Security Directive To Enter Into Force In August

On March 2, 2016, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) entered into a consent order with online payment systems operator Dwolla, Inc., based on allegations that Dwolla deceived consumers about its data security practices and the safety of its online payment system. The CFPB brought this action under its authority in Sections 1031(a) and 1036(a)(1)

On Wednesday, December 10, 2014, financial industry regulatory and enforcement agencies issued statements that their organizations will increase scrutiny of financial industry cybersecurity practices going forward.

In New York, the State’s Department of Financial Services Superintendent Benjamin Lawsky issued new guidelines to banks, detailing how their cybersecurity practices would be evaluated. The memorandum—sent to all New York chartered or licensed banking institutions—noted that the Department would take a close look at banks’ data breach detection abilities, cybersecurity corporate governance practices, resources devoted to information security, defenses against cyberattacks, management of third-party service providers, and cybersecurity insurance coverage, among other things.

The memorandum further noted that, prior to conducting an examination, the Department intends to request information on 12 information technology- and cybersecurity-related issues, including the qualifications and responsibilities of banks’ Chief Information Security Officers, information security policies, due diligence processes, and software development standards.
Continue Reading Financial Industry Regulators Increase Data Security Oversight

By David Fagan and Sumon Dantiki

Recently several media outlets reported that the New York State Department of Financial Services (“NYDFS”) sent a letter to many of the nation’s banks, regarding the “level of insight financial institutions have into the sufficiency of cybersecurity controls of their third-party service providers.”  The letter requested financial institutions to disclose “any policies and procedures governing relationships with third-party services providers,” and “any due diligence processes used to evaluate” such providers, including law and accounting firms.

Continue Reading Cybersecurity Regulators (Renew) Focus on Outside Vendors of Financial Institutions

In January 2014, a massive data leak of some 104 million credit card accounts shocked South Korea.  The number of affected accounts was twice the number of the population of South Korea’s.  The incident arose when a temporary employee of a personal credit rating agency that manages personal financial data of customers of three major credit card companies allegedly copied personal credit details of millions of people on his portable disk drive and subsequently sold the information to loan marketers and brokers.

On March 10, 2014, the Korean Government announced plans to prevent a recurrence of a large-scale security breach in the financial sector (the “Plan”) (available in Korean here). The Plan contains a number of elements that may be modeled on the EU’s proposed General Data Protection Regulation, such as turnover-based sanctions, limitations on data transfers and data retention and a reinforcement of individuals’ rights.  Some of the proposed measures are supposed to be implemented by amending existing relevant laws. Members of the National Assembly have already tabled legislative proposals for a number of amendments that reflect the Plan at a parliamentary committee meeting on February 24, 2014; however, it is at present unclear when they will be discussed and adopted by the Parliament. By contrast, other measures that do not require legislative changes are likely to be implemented as quickly as possible.

If adopted, the legislative proposals will have a significant impact in particular on financial institutions that handle a large amount of Korean customers’ personal information — such as banks, credit card companies and personal credit rating agencies. However, companies in other sectors are not off the hook, as the Government has indicated the possibility of a comprehensive inquiry to improve general personal information protection beyond the financial sector in the near future.

Continue Reading Is Korea Moving Towards EU-Style Legislation for Financial Institutions?

Routine SEC examinations of investment advisers and investment companies this year will include scrutiny of these entities’ cybersecurity policies, an SEC official told attendees Thursday at a national agency-hosted compliance seminar.

The SEC’s Regulation S-P, which implements the federal Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act, requires brokers, dealers, investment companies, and registered investment advisers to “adopt policies and

Last week, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) published in the Federal Register a joint rule requiring entities regulated by the agencies to adopt programs to detect and prevent identity theft.  The rule is referred to as the “red flags rule” and applies to certain broker-dealers, mutual funds, investment advisers, futures