Cybersecurity, cybercrime and cyberhacking have become everyday words in our vocabulary. Almost everyone in the U.S. has had their FaceBook page, email or bank account hacked or been the victim of identity theft. The FBI says it is one of the most serious threats to our nation.
It isn’t just individuals who are being targeted. Banks, defense contractors, corporations and even hospitals are being targeted. As the risk of cybercrime grows, many government agencies are beefing up their cyber security efforts and requiring businesses to do so as well. When affected businesses fail to implement data protection protocols or fail to promptly report hacking, whistleblower opportunities abound.
For example, banks are now required to beef up their security and report cyber hacking events. Under the Financial Institutions Reform, Recovery and Enforcement Act (FIRREA for short), whistleblowers with inside information about activities that threaten the financial stability of banks are eligible for an award of up to $1.6 million. This means that if a bank fails to protect its data or fails to report security events, awards may be available to those insiders who step forward instead.
Defense contractors have similar rules. Last year the Defense Department passed significant emergency rule making to insure that vendors who work with our military are taking proper steps to protect their data and information. Compliance officers, however, tell us of companies that won’t encrypt, have no written security protocols or fail to follow protocols. When it comes to our military and intelligence agencies, vendors who fail to protect their software systems directly put American lives at risk.
Do you want the Chinese or terrorist groups to be able to know of our battle plans or troop movements? Of course not but it only takes one lax contractor to put thousands of soldiers at risk.
Public companies and brokerage firms are the subject of new SEC and CFTC cybersecurity guidelines. Both agencies have whistleblower programs that can pay awards for information about material weaknesses and significant undisclosed risks.
FIRREA, CFTC and SEC whistleblowers have an added benefit of being able to remain anonymous, too.
We have several pending investigations surrounding cybersecurity. If you know of companies, defense contractors, government contractors, brokerage firms, banks or financial institutions with unreported cyberhacks or weak security measures, call us. You may be eligible for a sizeable award.