Dark Reading is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

Perimeter

1/20/2012
06:23 PM
Commentary
Commentary
Commentary
50%
50%

Breach Notification: Know The Rules

State and federal laws require notification when a breach of protected information occurs. You need to know which laws apply and how to comply

The vast majority of states and territories in the United States have rules requiring organizations managing personal information to notify affected parties if their private information has been breached.

However, the laws differ from state to state in the way they define personal information, the requirements for who needs to be notified, and how notification must take place. Add to this the fact that federal laws also require breach notification, and we see that organizations caring for personal identifying data have their work cut out for them in understanding which rules apply and how they can ensure they’ll comply in the event of a breach.

Which Rules Apply?
The key point to remember when determining which laws apply to your organization is that state laws are written to protect the residents of a state. This means you need to comply with the state laws applying to the people whose data you manage. In other words, if you have customers or employees from Massachusetts, then even though your business is located in New Hampshire, you need to comply with the Massachusetts data protection and breach notification laws.

If it seems like it a difficult task to understand and comply with upward of 50 different state and territorial laws, you get the message. It should also be clear why every year the U.S. Congress attempts to define federal data protection laws that would supersede these state laws. For better or worse, efforts at the national level have not succeeded, and we are left with the laws of the various states (in addition to the federal laws applying to financial and health information).

State breach notification laws have more in common than not. For example, these laws define personal information as a person’s first and last name, or first initial and last name, together with one or more other pieces of sensitive information. The obvious ones are Social Security number, driver’s license number, and credit card numbers. One area where differences tend to occur is banking information. For example, Massachusetts considers a bank account number (again, with a name) a piece of personal identifying information, even if there is no PIN or password that would allow a perpetrator to use the account. California, on the other hand, requires the presence of a PIN or password to make the account number a piece of protected data.

The first step in ensuring compliance with breach notification laws is knowing whose data you have. That means keeping accurate records of whose data you store, where they live, and where the data resides. Once you understand that, you can identify the laws that apply. Next, you can identify the particular pieces of information that you need to protect and understand the kind of breaches that would require you to notify the victims as well as state authorities.

In the next posting, I’ll talk about what constitutes a breach (and what doesn’t) and the mechanics of notification.

Richard Mackey is vice president of consulting at SystemExperts Corp.

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
Stop Defending Everything
Kevin Kurzawa, Senior Information Security Auditor,  2/12/2020
Small Business Security: 5 Tips on How and Where to Start
Mike Puglia, Chief Strategy Officer at Kaseya,  2/13/2020
5 Common Errors That Allow Attackers to Go Undetected
Matt Middleton-Leal, General Manager and Chief Security Strategist, Netwrix,  2/12/2020
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon
Current Issue
6 Emerging Cyber Threats That Enterprises Face in 2020
This Tech Digest gives an in-depth look at six emerging cyber threats that enterprises could face in 2020. Download your copy today!
Flash Poll
How Enterprises Are Developing and Maintaining Secure Applications
How Enterprises Are Developing and Maintaining Secure Applications
The concept of application security is well known, but application security testing and remediation processes remain unbalanced. Most organizations are confident in their approach to AppSec, although others seem to have no approach at all. Read this report to find out more.
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2015-7505
PUBLISHED: 2020-02-18
Stack-based buffer overflow in the gif_next_LZW function in libnsgif.c in Libnsgif 0.1.2 allows context-dependent attackers to cause a denial of service (application crash) or possibly execute arbitrary code via a crafted LZW stream in a GIF file.
CVE-2015-7567
PUBLISHED: 2020-02-18
SQL injection vulnerability in Yeager CMS 1.2.1 allows remote attackers to execute arbitrary SQL commands via the "passwordreset&token" parameter.
CVE-2012-0718
PUBLISHED: 2020-02-18
IBM Tivoli Endpoint Manager 8 does not set the HttpOnly flag on cookies.
CVE-2019-10791
PUBLISHED: 2020-02-18
promise-probe before 0.10.0 allows remote attackers to perform a command injection attack. The file, outputFile and options functions can be controlled by users without any sanitization.
CVE-2009-5146
PUBLISHED: 2020-02-18
** REJECT ** DO NOT USE THIS CANDIDATE NUMBER. ConsultIDs: none. Reason: This candidate was withdrawn by its CNA. Further investigation showed that it was not a security issue. Notes: none.