Office of Compliance Inspections and Examinations (OCIE)

In 2021, the U.S. Security and Exchange Commission (SEC) continued to stake its claim as a lead regulator for cybersecurity. Going into 2022, we expect the SEC will continue to aggressively scrutinize and pursue enforcement actions related to cybersecurity disclosures by public companies and cybersecurity practices of SEC-regulated entities like broker-dealers and investment advisers.  Moreover, Chair Gensler has announced that the SEC is currently working on a proposal for clearer cybersecurity governance rules, including topics such as “cyber hygiene and incident reporting.”

In many cases, the alleged faults that the SEC has found in the cybersecurity disclosures and practices of these entities go beyond the requirements of any other state or federal cybersecurity regulations. By making itself a leader in its expectations from regulated businesses, the SEC may become the agency that sets industry standard guidance for cybersecurity risk through the SEC mandates formed during its investigations and enforcement actions.Continue Reading The Future of SEC Cybersecurity Enforcement

Article29On September 15, 2020, the Office of Compliance Inspections and Examinations (“OCIE”) issued a risk alert regarding its recent observation of growing “credential stuffing” attacks against SEC-registered investment advisers and broker-dealers (“firms”). These attacks use compromised usernames and passwords from the dark web to access investors’ accounts. The increase in credential stuffing exploits presents considerable financial, legal, and reputational risks. OCIE’s alert encourages firms to consider various mitigation efforts to reduce the risk of credential stuffing, particularly the use of multi-factor authentication (MFA).  Although the alert is phrase as encouragement, OCIE is certainly suggesting that the industry standard should be for firms to protect against these attacks, even those these attack stem primarily from a client’s behavior in re-using username/password combination and another website’s loss of that combination.
Continue Reading New OCIE Guidance on Credential Stuffing Attacks

Digital LockThe SEC’s Office of Compliance Inspections and Examinations (OCIE) released a Risk Alert related to Ransomware on July 10, 2020. In the publication, Cybersecurity: Ransomware Alert, OCIE alerts companies to the increase in sophisticated campaigns orchestrated to invade financial institution networks in order to obtain confidential information and plant ransomware. The attacks generally involve perpetrators using “phishing and other campaigns designed to penetrate financial institution networks … to access internal resources and deploy ransomware.” Once the ransomware is deployed, institutions typically lose control of the ability to use and maintain the integrity of their systems and data until they pay a ransom to the attackers.
Continue Reading OCIE’s Guidance on Ransomware Attacks