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Cyber security seen as leading concern for directors in 2018


Cyber security threats are the leading concern for company directors, according to a law firm’s report on the top 10 topics for directors for 2018.

“The stakes will continue to rise for boards in connection with cyber security in 2018,” said the report issued Wednesday by Washington-based Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld L.L.P. “Cyber security preparedness is essential in 2018 as the risk of and associated adverse impact of breaches continue to rise,” the report said. “The past year redefined the upward bounds of the mega-breach,” citing the Yahoo Inc., Equifax Inc. and Uber Technologies Inc. hacks and the cyber attack on the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

Ransomware attacks increased fourfold in 2016 over 2015, and 2018 will likely bring increased regulatory scrutiny, the report said, with SEC enforcement co-directors Stephanie Avakian and Steven Peikin warning, “The greatest threat to our markets right now is the cyber threat.”

Governance and crises management are two key factors in facing cyber security exposures, the report said.

The SEC says that companies should designate a committee to be responsible for overseeing cyber security risk, and that boards should have at least one cyber security expert or consultant, the Akin Gump report said.

Sound crisis management is also important, with notification a key element.

“A well-coordinated response to a cyber security crisis can mean the difference between being perceived as the victim of hackers or the negligent corporate wrongdoer. Although most breach notification deadlines were, at the earliest, 45 days from discovery of the breach, companies must move much more quickly in notifying consumers and government agencies to maintain credibility.”

Board diversity, shareholder activism, internal investigations and SEC enforcement also made the list of top 10 topics.



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