NIST Cybersecurity Framework

The Department of Commerce’s National Institute of Standards and Technology (“NIST”) has released Version 1.0 of its Privacy Framework.  This voluntary framework aims to provide organizations with strategies to improve their privacy practices, build customer trust, and fulfill compliance obligations.  It is designed to be flexible and non-prescriptive, allowing public and private organizations of all sizes to adapt the framework to their own goals and priorities.

NIST announced its intention to develop this tool in September 2018, and spent the following year collaborating with stakeholders – including corporations, governments, academics, industry groups, and non-profits – to create a draft.  It released a preliminary draft of the framework in September 2019, soliciting comments that were used to create Version 1.0.

The Privacy Framework comes at a time of significant change for organizations endeavoring to manage their privacy risk.  Federal, state, and local governments around the world are issuing first-of-their-kind privacy laws, with more on the horizon, as we have written about here, here, here, here, and here.  This patchwork of untested laws increases the challenge of privacy compliance in the U.S. and abroad.   
Continue Reading NIST Releases Version 1.0 of its Privacy Framework

Pursuant to Executive Order 13636, the National Institute of Standards and Technology (“NIST”) established the Framework for Improving Critical Infrastructure Cybersecurity, Version 1.0, a technology-neutral, voluntary, risk-based cybersecurity framework that includes standards and processes intended to align policy, business, and technological approaches to addressing cybersecurity risks.  Four years later, NIST has released an updated version of the Framework.

Prior to releasing this update, NIST issued a request for information to get a better understanding of how companies were using the Framework, released a draft of the revised Framework for public comment, and held a public webcast to discuss the updates to the Framework.  The key updates in Version 1.1 are summarized below.
Continue Reading NIST Releases Updated Cybersecurity Framework

By Susan Cassidy, Jenny Martin, and Catlin Meade

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (“NIST”) released on August 15, 2017 its proposed update to Special Publication (“SP”) 800-53.  NIST SP 800-53, which was last revised in 2014, provides information security standards and guidelines, including baseline control requirements, for implementation on federal information systems under the Federal Information Systems Management Act of 2002 (“FISMA”).  The revised version will still apply only to federal systems when finalized, but one of the stated objectives of the revised version is to make the cybersecurity and privacy standards and guidelines accessible to non-federal and private sector organizations for voluntary use on their systems.

In its announcement of the draft revision, NIST explains that the update “responds to the need by embarking on a proactive and systemic approach to develop and make available to a broad base of public and private sector organizations, a comprehensive set of safeguarding measures for all types of computing platforms, including general purpose computing systems, cyber-physical systems, cloud and mobile systems, industrial/process control systems, and Internet of Things (IoT) devices.”  In particular, a key purpose of the update process was to assess the relevance and appropriateness of the current security controls and control enhancements designated for each baseline (low, moderate, and high) to ensure that protections are commensurate with the harm that would result from a compromise of applicable government data and systems.  In addition, the revised guidelines recognize the need to secure a much broader universe of “systems,” including industrial control systems, IoT devices, and other cyber physical systems, than the “information systems” that were the focus of the prior iterations of SP 800-53.  Relatedly, the revised publication also identifies those controls that are both security and privacy controls, as well as those controls that are the primary responsibility of privacy programs.
Continue Reading NIST Releases Fifth Revision of Special Publication 800-53

On May 11, 2017, President Trump signed an Executive Order titled “Strengthening the Cybersecurity of Federal Networks and Critical Infrastructure” (the “Order”).  The long-anticipated directive was issued months after the White House originally planned to release a cybersecurity order in February.  Since then, revised drafts of the order were circulated, including a version from February 10, 2017 (the “Revised Draft”) that differed significantly from the initial draft order, but aligned with Executive Order 13636, “Improving Critical Infrastructure Security,” which was signed by President Obama on February 12, 2013.  With few exceptions, the Order signed yesterday mirrors the Revised Draft that we previously analyzed in our February 17, 2017 blog post titled “Release of Cybersecurity EO May Have Notable Impact in Communications, Energy, and Defense Industrial Base Critical Infrastructure Sectors.”  Here, we highlight key differences between the Revised Draft and the final Order.

Section 1:  Cybersecurity of Federal Networks

The first section of the Order continues to primarily address cybersecurity risk management and IT modernization within the executive branch consistent with the Revised Draft and Executive Order 13636 signed by President Obama.  The Order incorporates nearly all of the Revised Draft’s language in this section, with minor exceptions.
Continue Reading White House Issues New Cybersecurity EO

The Trump Administration appears likely to release an Executive Order on Cybersecurity.  The most recent draft suggests this Executive Order may have notable impact in the Communications, Energy, and Defense Industrial Base sectors.  However, it remains unclear if and when the current draft will be signed.

President Trump originally was scheduled to sign an Executive Order on Cybersecurity on February 1, 2017, but the signing was postponed.  The original draft Order, titled “Strengthening U.S. Cyber Security and Capabilities,” (the “first draft Order”) articulated a general policy focused on enhancing the nation’s cybersecurity defenses and capabilities, particularly with respect to specified federal systems and critical infrastructures.  Specifically, the first draft Order directed the Department of Defense (“DOD”) and Department of Homeland Security (“DHS”)—in coordination with representatives of the intelligence community—to accomplish three main goals.  First, to conduct a review of cybersecurity vulnerabilities in national security systems, federal networks, and critical civilian infrastructure systems.  Second, to identify the United States’ cyber adversaries.  Third, to conduct a review of the United States’ cybersecurity capabilities, including a review of “U.S. efforts to educate and train the workforce of the future.”

On Friday, February 10, 2017, a revised draft of the Executive Order was circulated.  The revised draft Order, now retitled “Strengthening the Cybersecurity of Federal Networks and Critical Infrastructure,” (the “Revised Order”) is significantly different from the first draft Order and more closely aligns with Executive Order 13636, “Improving Critical Infrastructure Security,” signed by President Obama on February 12, 2013.  Like Executive Order 13636, the Revised Order focuses on an agency-led, risk-based approach to cybersecurity and, in particular, requires federal agencies to adopt the NIST Framework for Improving Critical Infrastructure Cybersecurity (the “NIST Cybersecurity Framework”) to manage cybersecurity risk.  The Revised Order also delegates primary responsibility for developing a comprehensive risk management plan to the Executive Branch, specifically the Office of Management and Budget (“OMB”) and DHS.
Continue Reading Release of Cybersecurity EO May Have Notable Impact in Communications, Energy, and Defense Industrial Base Critical Infrastructure Sectors

On December 1, 2016, the Commission on Enhancing National Cybersecurity released its Report on Securing and Growing the Digital Economy. In its Report, the Commission, established in February 2016 by President Obama, provided detailed short- and long-term recommendations to strengthen cybersecurity in the public and private sectors. The Commission took a multi-stakeholder approach, emphasizing the need for broad public-private cooperation, defined consumer rights and responsibilities, and international streamlining efforts. The Report focused on eight cybersecurity topics identified in the Commission’s charging Executive Order: federal governance, critical infrastructure, cybersecurity research and development, cybersecurity workforce, identity management and authentication, Internet of Things, public awareness and education, state and local government cybersecurity, and additionally insurance and international issues.

After studying these eight critical areas, the Commission articulated ten foundational principles that shaped its recommendations in the Report. These principles focused on the growth in size and density of Internet-connected systems, United States and federal government leadership in cybersecurity innovation, private-public collaboration, clear definitions of authority and accountability, consumer education, user-friendly cybersecurity products, privacy and trust development, the unique needs and constraints of small businesses, and designing incentives for innovation.

The Report then enumerated myriad imperatives, recommendations, and action items for the current and next Presidential administrations to develop robust cybersecurity in the nation.
Continue Reading The Commission on Enhancing National Cybersecurity Releases Its Report on Securing and Growing the Digital Economy