Compiled by: Richard Sheinis, Esq. This North Korean Hacking Group Is Becoming a Global Threat Fortune North Korean cyber-spy group “Reaper” is emerging as a global threat, conducting espionage well beyond the Korean peninsula in support of Pyongyang’s military and economic interests, FireEye Inc. said. The group, known also as APT37, in 2017 began attacking targets in Japan, Vietnam and the … US SEC updates guidance on cyber attack disclosure for companies Reuters WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission on Wednesday updated guidance to public companies on how and when they should disclose cyber security risks and breaches, including disclosing potential weaknesses that have not yet been targeted by hackers. The Safety of US Data Could Rest in Georgia U.S. News & World Report To fill a need for more comprehensive cybersecurity education, Georgia Tech expanded its master’s degree to three tracks: information security, policy and risk management,…       Read More

Written by: Ashley Gowder Mitchell, Esq.  Georgia is one step closer to enacting a bill that will drastically limit phone use while driving. Last week, a House committee voted in favor of a bill to crack down on distracted driving due to phone use. House Bill 673 would require drivers to use hands-free technology when using cell phones and other electronic devices. Violators would be fined at least $300. It also would increase the penalty from one point assessed against a driver’s license to up to six points for repeat offenders. Drivers with 15 points in a 24-month period lose their license. Currently, it is illegal to text and drive in Georgia. Drivers under 18 with a learner’s permit are completely banned from using wireless devices while driving. However, drivers of non-commercial vehicles are allowed to dial and hold their phone. Law enforcement officers and proponents of the bill argue…       Read More

Written by: Michael E. Memberg, Esq.  The individuals who can claim workers’ compensation death benefits under Georgia law are defined by O.C.G.A. § 34-9-13. With respect to a surviving spouse, parent, or child of a deceased employee, the process to establish dependency and entitlement to death benefits is rather straightforward. However, O.C.G.A. § 34-9-13(d) also provides the opportunity for other individuals to claim death benefits as either a total or partial dependent. In such cases, the level of dependency is a question of fact to be determined by the ALJ. Taken at face value, O.C.G.A. § 34-9-13(d) appears to allow any individual to claim dependency status. However, the Georgia Supreme Court specifically prohibited individuals from claiming dependency status, even if they were in fact dependent on the deceased employee, if they cohabited with the deceased employee without being married. Williams v. Corbett, 260 Ga. 668 (1990). This prohibition is based…       Read More

“More Americans died from drug overdoses in 2016 than those who lost their lives in the Vietnam War.”1)
The Proposed Federal Budget will Simultaneously Fund Opioid Addiction Treatment and Cut Medicare Spending:

As of February 12, 2018, the proposed Federal Budget for FY2019 has been submitted to Congress, and it specifically addresses “Combatting the Drug Abuse and Opioid Overdose Epidemic.” The proposal allocates $13 billion to combat the opioid crisis. However, the Department of Health and Human Services, overall, is getting a 21 percent cut from 2017 levels, or a $17.9 billion decrease in FY2019. It also offers more funding for combating infectious diseases – think this year’s flu season – but also significantly cuts Medicaid spending over a ten-year period.2)
The Budget could also significantly impact historical sources of government funding for drug addiction. Addiction treatment services have been designated as “essential benefits” since the Affordable Care Act was enacted. This means addiction treatment has been covered by the ACA’s Medicaid expansion, which would inevitably be curtailed by the new Medicaid cuts.

Compiled by: Richard Sheinis, Esq. Supreme Court Denies CareFirst’s Petition to Review Data Breach Case FierceHealthcare The U.S. Supreme Court has denied an appeal filed by CareFirst to review a case stemming from a 2014 data breach. The Supreme Court issued its decision on Tuesday, eliminating the possibility, for now, that the court will weigh in on questions about whether the possibility of harm from a data breach … Hospitals Account for One-Third of Healthcare Data Breaches, Affect the Most Individuals Clinical Innovation + Technology Of all types of healthcare providers, hospitals accounted for one-third of all data breaches and affected the largest number of individuals compared to doctors, nurses and social workers, according to a study published in The American Journal of Managed Care. The healthcare industry has been the … SPH Issues Apology Over HardwareZone Data Breach Affecting 685,000 Users Marketing Interactive Singapore Press Holdings Magazines (SPH Magazines) and…       Read More

by: Bradley R. Coppedge, Esq. You’ve heard it said that for many people, their house is their largest or most important investment. But for small business owners, his or her business may well take the place of the house as the most important investment. So when it comes to estate planning, what is the best course for the business owner? Gift it to children? Sell or gift it to employees? Sell it to a third party buyer? Just close up shop at death? There are 3 primary ways to transition a business as the owner considers or plans for retirement: 1) no “transition”–shut it down and liquidate assets 2) sell the business to employees or unrelated 3rd party 3) sale, gift or combination of the two to children or related parties. In considering an actual transition short of ‘shutting down the business’, four key issues need to be on the…       Read More

Compiled by: Richard Sheinis, Esq. Cyberattack Caused Olympic Opening Ceremony Disruption New York Times “The purpose of this malware is to perform destruction of the host” and “leave the computer system offline.” In an interview, Talos researchers noted that there was a nuance to the attack that they had not seen before: Even though the hackers clearly demonstrated that they had the ability to destroy … Implementing the NIST CSF for Improved Healthcare Data Security February 12, 2018 – Cybersecurity frameworks are often cited as key ways for organizations to improve their approach to healthcare data security, especially as more entities utilize connected devices and work toward interoperability. The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has one of … Facebook Starts Pushing its Data-Tracking Onavo VPN Within its Main Mobile App TechCrunch Onavo Protect, the VPN client from the data-security app maker acquired by Facebook back in 2013, has…       Read More

By:  John E. Parkerson, Jr., Esq. and Katja Demmel A January 24, 2018 federal court jury conviction in Madison, Wisconsin serves as a serious warning to companies about how they can be destroyed easily by the theft of intellectual property. Fortunately, federal prosecutors were successful in securing a criminal conviction – but unfortunately not before the company that was the theft victim was almost destroyed. After 11 days of trial, the jury convicted Beijing-based Sinovel Wind Group Co. Ltd. (“Sinovel”), the largest wind turbine manufacturer in China, of conspiracy to commit trade secret theft, theft of trade secrets, and wire fraud. Sentencing is set for June 4. The crimes’ victim was American Superconductor, Inc. (“AMSC”), a U.S. energy technologies company based in Massachusetts. The theft caused AMSC to lose hundreds of millions of dollars, more than $1 billion in shareholder equity, and almost 700 jobs representing over half its global workforce. With…       Read More

Compiled by: Richard Sheinis, Esq. Medical Supply Giant to Pay $3.5M in Settlement for Five Separate Data Breaches PropertyCasualty360 Cyber liability insurance market: Equal parts promise and peril. The cyber liability insurance market presents opportunities as well as potential hazards for insurers. North Korea Latest: How Kim Jong-Un Trains Elite Hackers to Target Enemies Around World A 2017 report by the US Congressional Research Service predicts there may be as many as “between 3,000 and 6,000 hackers trained in cyber operations” acting on behalf of North Korea. Typically they are able to produce their own sophisticated hacking tools rather than relying on established … Hacking Threats Loom Over 2018 Olympics The Hill Cybersecurity experts believe the group is a so-called “faketivist” hacking persona associated with Fancy Bear. Meanwhile, experts at Trend Micro identified several Olympics sport organizations among the cyber group’s targets in the second half of last year, including…       Read More

Florida is on the front lines of the opioid epidemic. According to the Florida Behavioral Health Association, opioid-related hospital costs amounted to $1.1 billion in 2015.1) This figure represents a steady increase in opioid-related hospital costs year over year, which were $460 million in 2010 and $933 million in 2014.2) Moreover, according to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement Medical Examiner’s Commission there were 5,725 opioid-related deaths reported in Florida in 2016.3) This represents a 35% increase in reported opioid-related deaths from the prior year. Prescription drugs, including opioids, were found to be the cause of death or present at death more often than illicit drugs, and accounted for 61% of all drug occurrences.4)
The State of Florida is fighting back. On May 3, 2017, Florida Governor Rick Scott issued an Executive Order declaring the existence of a Public Health Emergency as a result of the opioid epidemic.5) The Executive Order allows immediate access to the Opioid Targeted State Federal Response Grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The Grant provides “$27,150,403 per year for two years to provide prevention, treatment, and recovery support services by state agencies”.6) Additionally, in September 2017 Governor Scott issued a legislative proposal including but not limited to instituting a 3-day limit on prescribed opioids (or 7-day limit if deemed “medically necessary”), requiring all healthcare professionals who prescribe or dispense medication to participate in the Florida Prescription Drug Monitoring Program (PDMP), and a $50 million budget allocation for countering substance abuse.