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

The recent National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) publication of cybersecurity guidance for the Internet of Things (IoT) is a useful reminder that hacking incidents can result not only in privacy breaches, but also in bodily injury or property damage — via critical infrastructure, medical devices and hospital equipment, networked home appliances, or even children’s toys. In addition to enhanced system security engineering and preventive education efforts, insurance is an increasingly essential component in any enterprise risk management approach to cyber vulnerabilities. But purchasers of cyber insurance are finding that nearly all of the available cyber insurance products expressly exclude coverage for physical bodily injury and property damage.

Continue Reading Insurance Coverage Issues for Cyber-Physical Risks

On November 15, 2016, the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) released its final guidance providing engineering-based solutions to protect cyber-physical systems and systems-of-systems, including the Internet of Things (IoT), against a wide range of disruptions, threats, and other hazards.  NIST Special Publication 800-160 (the “Guidance”) is the result of four years of research and development and builds upon well-established international standards for systems and software engineering.

Continue Reading NIST Releases Cybersecurity Guidance for Internet of Things

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) released guidance today designed to help small businesses improve their cybersecurity preparedness.  The document, Small Business Information Security: The Fundamentals, is based on NIST’s 2014 Framework for Improving Critical Infrastructure Cybersecurity, a widely used cybersecurity framework (Cybersecurity Framework).  For additional background on the Cybersecurity Framework, please see our prior post on the subject. 
Continue Reading NIST Releases Cybersecurity Guide for Small Businesses

By Catlin Meade and Jenny Martin

On August 31, 2016 the FTC posted a blog addressing whether compliance with the NIST Framework for Improving Critical Infrastructure Cybersecurity (“the Framework”) necessarily constitutes compliance with FTC cybersecurity practices.

The FTC answers this question with a resounding “No” and specifically states:  “there’s really no such thing as ‘complying with the Framework[]’” because the “[t]he Framework is not, and isn’t intended to be, a standard or checklist.”  The FTC further explains that the Framework does not provide a one-size-fits-all checklist of security practices; rather, it provides an organized approach and broad guidance, collected from a variety of existing industry standards, guidelines, and best practices, for organizations to follow to identify and manage cyber risk.  
Continue Reading FTC Maps Its Cybersecurity Requirements to NIST Cybersecurity Framework Core Functions

The Federal Trade Commission (“FTC” or “Commission”) is soliciting public comments on its Standards for Safeguarding Customer Information (“Safeguards Rule”) as part of the systematic review of all FTC rules and guides on a 10-year schedule.  The Safeguards Rule was promulgated by the Commission pursuant to the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act’s (“GLBA”) directive for federal agencies to

Last week, our colleague Shruti Barker published an article on the Inside Medical Devices Blog, discussing eight data security principles that companies participating in the Precision Medicine Initiative should aim to meet.  The Administration’s guidance document additionally recommends a basic framework that organizations collecting, storing, and sharing patient information should adopt as current best practices.  

Today the National Institute of Standards and Technology (“NIST”) issued a discussion draft of a “Preliminary Cybersecurity Framework.”

Executive Order 13,636 on Improving Critical Infrastructure Cybersecurity tasked NIST with developing a “Cybersecurity Framework” “to reduce cyber risks to critical infrastructure.”  The Order specifies that the Framework must “provide a prioritized, flexible repeatable, performance-based, and cost-effective approach, including information security measures and controls, to help owners and operators of critical infrastructure identify, assess, and manage cyber risk.”

NIST is drafting the Framework in consultation with industry, other government agencies, and other experts.  The final version will provide voluntary cybersecurity guidance for critical infrastructure and other business.  NIST describes the Framework as providing “a common language for expressing, understanding, and managing cybersecurity risk.”

As described by the NIST discussion draft, the Framework is intended to guide businesses through a risk-based assessment and improvement of their cybersecurity posture.  The discussion draft Framework is organized around three issues: the Framework Core, Implementation Tiers, and Profile.

Continue Reading NIST Releases Preliminary Cybersecurity Framework

In advanced of a July 25 Senate Commerce Committee hearing on “The Partnership Between NIST and the Private Sector: Improving Cybersecurity,” Chairman Jay Rockefeller (D-WV) and Ranking Member John Thune (R-SD) introduced the “Cybersecurity Act of 2013” (S. 1353).

The bill avoids controversial topics such as information sharing and regulation of critical infrastructure cybersecurity and specifically states that it does not confer regulatory authority on federal, state, tribal, or local governments.

The bill focuses instead on several key issues.  First, it extends the mandate Executive Order 13,636 gave to the National Institute for Standards and Technology (“NIST”) to develop cybersecurity standards. NIST is currently working to develop standards pursuant to the Executive Order, and the bill directs NIST to develop, on an ongoing basis, voluntary, industry-led standards and best practices to reduce risk to critical infrastructure.  In developing the standards, NIST is instructed to coordinate “closely and continuously” with the private sector, incorporate existing voluntary best practices and international standards, prevent duplication of and conflict with existing  regulatory requirements, and ensure that its standards are technology-neutral.  The bill further specifies that information provided to NIST for standards-development cannot be used for regulatory purposes.

Continue Reading Senators Rockefeller and Thune Introduce “Cybersecurity Act of 2013”

Executive Order 13,636 on Improving Critical Infrastructure Cybersecurity directs the National Institute of Standards and Technology (“NIST”) to develop a Cybersecurity Framework  of standards, methodologies, and processes for addressing cybersecurity risk.  It also charges the Department of Homeland Security with developing a Critical Infrastructure Cybersecurity Program to promote adoption of the Cybersecurity Framework by critical