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Mastering cyber incident response: Strategies for the modern digital landscape

11 June 2024

Cyber attacks and intrusions into organizations’ secure databases can strike quickly and wreak havoc with a company’s data and reputation. The aftermath of a cyber incident, however, can be arduous and bring about even more stress than the original attack. The response is just as important.  

Cyber incident response projects are essential operations which focus on identifying and mitigating damage from cybersecurity incidents. These projects involve a series of coordinated steps: identifying compromised personally identifiable information (PII) and protected health information (PHI), assessing the incident's scope and impact and notifying affected entities in compliance with legal and regulatory standards.

The evolution of cyber incidents and the market

Cyber incidents have been a concern since digital data storage began, gaining significant attention in the 1980s with the rise of the internet. Initially, data breaches resulted from opportunistic attacks exploiting basic security oversights. As technology advanced, so did the complexity and frequency of these incidents. The advent of AI and machine learning has enhanced threat detection and response, but also introduced new challenges for attackers to exploit.

High-profile cyber incidents have highlighted the severe impact of modern cyber compromises. The Equifax data breach exposed the information of 147 million people, while the WannaCry ransomware attack affected over 200,000 computers across 150 countries. These incidents underscore the global scale and significant repercussions of cyberattacks.

Preventative measures and regulatory compliance

To prevent cyberattacks, companies must implement robust security frameworks including firewalls, encryption and intrusion detection systems. Regular security audits and employee training sessions are also essential. Cyber insurance can help mitigate financial losses from incidents. Widely recognized frameworks like the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) Cybersecurity Framework, General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in Europe, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) in the United States and The Australian Signals Directorate (ASD) Essential 8 offer structured approaches to managing cybersecurity risks. Adhering to these frameworks can significantly enhance an organisation's ability to prevent, detect and respond to cyber incidents.

Response measures in the cyber incident response market

When an incident occurs, having a robust response plan is critical. This includes engaging law firms specializing in cyber incidents, data protection and privacy laws, and contracting with companies that review compromised data to create a notification list of affected individuals. The notification process involves several steps:

  • Data transfer: Secure transfer of compromised data through sFTP locations or encrypted hard drives.
  • Data refinement: Processing data to remove duplicates and identify documents with PII and PHI.
  • Personal data identification: Thorough review to identify all instances of PII and PHI using AI-enhanced tools.
  • Notification list creation: Consolidating recorded entities to ensure no individual is missed.
  • Compliance check: Ensuring the notification list meets all relevant legal requirements.
  • Quality assurance: Verifying the notification list's accuracy.
  • Secure storage: Protecting the notification list from unauthorized access.
  • Notification delivery: Secure delivery of notifications to counsel and clients.

Traditionally, cyber incident responses were manual and time-consuming. AI and machine learning have revolutionized this process by quickly sifting through vast datasets to identify probable PII and PHI elements. AI algorithms enhance the quality of notification lists and expedite the notification process, saving companies significant effort and improving the speed and accuracy of responses.

How DWF's Legal Operations team can help

The DWF Legal Operations team leverages cutting-edge technology combined with human expertise to provide a robust response to cyber incidents. By integrating AI and machine learning tools with deep legal and regulatory knowledge, DWF offers comprehensive solutions tailored to each client's needs.

  • Advanced technology integration: Utilizing AI-enhanced data identification and extraction tools, DWF can quickly and accurately process vast amounts of compromised data to identify PII and PHI elements. This technological edge significantly reduces the time and effort required for data review and notification list creation.
  • Comprehensive incident response planning: DWF develops and maintains up-to-date incident response plans tailored to client’s specific needs. These plans include detailed procedures for data transfer, refinement, personal data identification, and notification delivery, ensuring a swift and effective response to any cyber incident.
  • Quality assurance and compliance: DWF implements rigorous quality assurance processes to verify the accuracy of notification lists and ensure compliance with all relevant jurisdictions. This meticulous approach helps prevent redundant notifications and ensures that all affected individuals are promptly informed.

As cyber threats continue to evolve, so must our approach to cybersecurity response. The Legal Operations team at DWF is at the forefront of this transformation: combining advanced technology with human expertise to offer powerful tools that enhance digital defences and ensure the protection of sensitive information. Companies must stay vigilant, adapt to regulatory changes and embrace technological advances to safeguard against the ever-present threat of cyber data compromise. The future of cybersecurity lies in balancing human expertise with cutting-edge technology capabilities.

To learn more about our Cyber Incident Services, contact our team below. 

Author: Chetan Chouhan

Further Reading