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Cyber Litigation

According to tech experts all over the world, Cyber Security is “the next big thing.” We now have to be concerned about protecting all of the information we routinely store on our desktops, laptops, iPhones, and other electronic devices from hackers who seek to do us harm. Unfortunately, we are now prey to unseen predators who can do incalculable damage to our businesses as well as our private lives.

Our vulnerability extends not only to our personal finances, our reputations, and our business dealings, but to our relationships and mental well-being as well. Pictures, “private” communications, bank and credit card information, contacts, passwords, medical records, academic and military records may all be online.

As we know all too well, anything in cyberspace is available to seizure and misuse, a terrible truth that we have to learn to live with. According to recent research, identity theft and other forms of cybercrime are increasing at an alarming rate. More and more, cyber litigation is becoming an extremely important part of several aspects of the law, including several of the specialties of Tand & Associates P.C. -- business law, employment law, and civil rights law. In fact, since almost every business and government agency uses the internet, all legal matters can be impacted by cyber crime.

Types of Cybercrime

Both the National Computer Security Survey (NCSS) and the FBI document types and frequency of cyber invasions on businesses in the United States in terms of their prevalence and impact. These include:

  • Cyber attacks -- in which the business’s computer system is targeted by various types of computer viruses (such as worms and Trojan horses) in attempts to deny service, sabotage activities or commit electronic vandalism.

  • Cyber theft -- in which a computer becomes a means to steal money, personal or financial data, or other things of value. Cyber theft also includes embezzlement and fraud.

  • Computer security incidents -- this category encompasses a wide range of tampering, including phishing, spoofing, adware, and all other forms of hacking whether or not the attempts at breaching the company’s data are successful.

  • Ransomware -- a variety of malware that encrypts (locks) essential digital files and demands a ransom to release them. Ransomware is used to attack not only small and large businesses, but hospitals, school districts, state and local governments, and law enforcement agencies.

  • Privacy infringements of individuals -- other kinds of personal cyber attacks that may involve cyberbullying, sexting, exploitation through social media, identity theft, and cyberstalking.

 

Computer crime can involve both hardware and software. The Department of Justice classifies cybercrime in three ways: [1] crimes that target the computer through hardware to commit data theft or implant viruses [2] crimes that use computers to commit traditional crimes and [3] crimes in which computers are used as assistive devices in crimes, such as storing information that is incriminating.

The number of cyber crimes committed has increased exponentially over the past decade. In 2005, in a sampling of businesses, 67 percent detected at least one cybercrime that affected them. By 2013, U.S. companies were losing $100 billion to cybercrime, an amount that quadrupled over only 3 years. Such enormous amounts of money include both the costs of direct damage to the targeted businesses and money spent on cleaning up the damage. It is anticipated that by the year 2019, the companies of this country may be spending as much as $2.1 trillion on cybercrime.

How can we fight Cybercrime?

Those in positions to know inform us that in consumer cases following hacking incidents or data security breaches it is almost impossible for plaintiffs to prove damages. Class action suits, however, have a much higher rate of success since proof of violations to federal laws carry specific statutory damage amounts.

If you are attempting to sue a cyber criminal who has stolen money or data from your business or has damaged your computers in some other way, you must have a tech-savvy attorney at your side. At Tand & Associates P.C.,, our team is well-prepared to assist you with cyber litigation and will always fight with power and conviction to win you just compensation.

Laws that Protect Businesses from Cybercrime

A number of laws that predate the computer age can be used in civil business litigation against cyber criminals, including laws against:

  • Unauthorized publication or use of communications

  • Criminal infringement of a copyright

  • Malicious mischief related to communications lines, stations, or systems

  • Aggravated identity theft

 

There are also a number of laws that have been designed to target cyber crimes in particular, such as laws against:

  •  Misleading words or digital images on the Internet

  • Fraud and related activity in connection with electronic mail

  • Fraud and related activity in connection with computers

  • Fraud and related activity in connection with access devices

In addition, there is a federal law specially designed to address cybercrime -- the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act -- which provides a mechanism for civil prosecution. Other federal laws that may protect you from cyber attack include:

  • The Fair Credit Reporting Act

  • The Electronic Communications Privacy Act

  • The Stored Communications Act

  • The Video Privacy Protection Act

  • The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act

  • The Telephone Consumer Protection Act

Once again, because of the complicated nature of laws regarding cybercrime, only a well-trained business attorney can guide you through the legal morass to lead you to justice.

Preventing Cybercrime

Obviously, if there were a full-proof way to prevent cybercrime, criminal activity in cyberspace would not be rampant. There are, however, things that can be done to make your company’s data harder to breach. These include:

  • Tasking specific employees with the responsibility of keeping data secure  

  • Making sure that regular risk assessments of your data are performed by professionals

  • Regularly updating security measures

  • Regularly checking on monitoring policies of third-party vendors

  • Making sure every employee reports suspicious incidents immediately

  • Obtaining cyber insurance of a type which not only provides risk management but post-breach assistance

Third-Party Funding

Third-party funding is a recent development in business litigation. It has been established as a method of paying for the expenses of costly cyber litigation. Third-party funding involves an individual or entity outside the company bankrolling litigation costs in exchange for a piece of the pie when (and if) monies are recovered. What makes cyber litigation particularly high-priced is that there are often extremely technical issues that must be examined and evaluated by experts in the field. Without third-party funding, many plaintiffs would not be able to file suits that are necessary to keep their businesses afloat.

Tand & Associates P.C. Is Here to Help

Cyber litigation is a particularly troublesome area of the law, not only because matters become very technical, but also because your sensitive personal and business information is at risk. This is why you should make sure that you engage the services of a trustworthy, well-organized law firm like ours. At Tand & Associates P.C. our skilled team is prepared to fight for your rights to maintain privacy and protect your business from insidious attacks. We can be reached through the contact form on our website or by calling 516-393-9151.


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