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
Overcoming the Challenge of Shorter Certificate Lifespans
Mike Cooper, Founder & CEO of Revocent,  10/15/2020
7 Tips for Choosing Security Metrics That Matter
Ericka Chickowski, Contributing Writer,  10/19/2020
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon
Current Issue
Special Report: Computing's New Normal
This special report examines how IT security organizations have adapted to the "new normal" of computing and what the long-term effects will be. Read it and get a unique set of perspectives on issues ranging from new threats & vulnerabilities as a result of remote working to how enterprise security strategy will be affected long term.
Flash Poll
How IT Security Organizations are Attacking the Cybersecurity Problem
How IT Security Organizations are Attacking the Cybersecurity Problem
The COVID-19 pandemic turned the world -- and enterprise computing -- on end. Here's a look at how cybersecurity teams are retrenching their defense strategies, rebuilding their teams, and selecting new technologies to stop the oncoming rise of online attacks.
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2020-27605
PUBLISHED: 2020-10-21
BigBlueButton through 2.2.8 uses Ghostscript for processing of uploaded EPS documents, and consequently may be subject to attacks related to a "schwache Sandbox."
CVE-2020-27606
PUBLISHED: 2020-10-21
BigBlueButton before 2.2.8 (or earlier) does not set the secure flag for the session cookie in an https session, which makes it easier for remote attackers to capture this cookie by intercepting its transmission within an http session.
CVE-2020-27607
PUBLISHED: 2020-10-21
In BigBlueButton before 2.2.8 (or earlier), the client-side Mute button only signifies that the server should stop accepting audio data from the client. It does not directly configure the client to stop sending audio data to the server, and thus a modified server could store the audio data and/or tr...
CVE-2020-27608
PUBLISHED: 2020-10-21
In BigBlueButton before 2.2.8 (or earlier), uploaded presentations are sent to clients without a Content-Type header, which allows XSS, as demonstrated by a .png file extension for an HTML document.
CVE-2020-27609
PUBLISHED: 2020-10-21
BigBlueButton through 2.2.8 records a video meeting despite the deactivation of video recording in the user interface. This may result in data storage beyond what is authorized for a specific meeting topic or participant.