2018 Litigation Forecast - Cyber security Summary

Cyber threats to business escalated around the world in 2017. Ransomware attacks, such as NotPetya, Bad Rabbit and WannaCry, disrupted businesses worldwide. High profile data breaches made global headlines, including the Equifax breach which exposed the personal information of almost half the population of the United States. The costs of cybercrime continued to climb as defending against and responding to cyberattacks became an accepted and critical component of business operations.

Against the backdrop of the evolving and ever-present cybercrime threat, international statutory and regulatory regimes governing data storage and security continue to be updated.  2018 will see the European Union and Australia each implementing mandatory obligations to disclose data breaches. While similar reform in New Zealand has stalled, the Law Commission has for some time recommended amendments to the Privacy Act which include mandatory reporting of privacy breaches, as well as stronger powers for the Privacy Commissioner, new offences and increased fines.  Labour has committed to implementing most of the Law Commission proposals to strengthen consumer protections, and the Greens and New Zealand First have expressed similar sentiments.  With the change in Government and implementation of privacy reforms in Australia, we expect that reform of New Zealand’s data and cyber security framework will receive renewed impetus in 2018.

Meanwhile, we have seen insurers take on an increasingly active role in assisting organisations to respond proactively to cyber events, including adopting the “cyber breach coach” model.  In 2018 we expect to see a strong push towards such pre-planning of incident response, with more organisations being encouraged to utilise “breach coaches” (usually crisis management and/or legal experts), who can quickly and easily engage pre-committed data forensic, PR and other experts as needed upon discovery of a cyber-incident.

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