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SEC Slams Firm with $1M Fine for Weak Security Policies

This is the first SEC enforcement cracking down on violation of the Identity Theft Red Flags Rule, intended to protect confidential data.

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has issued a $1 million fine against a Des Moines-based organization for failing to implement sufficient security policies related to an incident that compromised personal data belonging to thousands of customers.

Voya Financial Advisors, Inc. (VFA), a broker-dealer and investment adviser, was charged with violating the Safeguards Rule and Identity Theft Red Flags Rule, both of which are intended to protect personal data and protect customers from identity theft. This marks the first time the SEC has enforced the Identity Theft Red Flags Rule with a penalty against an offending firm.

For six months in 2016, cyberattackers impersonated VFA contractors by calling the firm's support line and requesting to reset passwords. With new passwords, the actors were able to gain access to personal data of 5,600 VFA customers. The SEC found the attackers used this information to create new online user profiles and gain unauthorized access to account documents. Its order states the VFA failed to shut down attackers' access due to weaknesses in its security procedures, and it also failed to ensure the security of contractors' systems.

VFA has agreed to pay the $1 million fine and will consult an independent expert to evaluate its policies and procedures, and ensure future compliance with both rules, the SEC reports.

Read more details here.



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Kelly Jackson Higgins 2, Editor-in-Chief, Dark Reading