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U.S. Financial Services Credit Ratings Are Resilient To Cyber Security–For Now

June 17, 2015 Comments off

U.S. Financial Services Credit Ratings Are Resilient To Cyber Security–For Now
Source: Standard & Poor’s

It seems not a week goes by without a high-profile cyber-attack against a major U.S. corporation or government agency. A sampling of past corporate targets includes giant retailers (Home Depot, Target, Sony), banks (JPMorgan Chase, Citibank), and health insurers (Anthem, Premera Blue Cross). Clearly, no entity is safe from a cyber-attack. But what are the credit implications of this onslaught of data breaches? Although the many successful cyber-attacks have not yet resulted in any changes in Standard & Poor’s Ratings Services’ ratings on financial services companies, we view cyber-security as an emerging risk that we believe has the potential to pose a higher credit risk to financial services firms in the future, although we cannot predict the timing. It’s not difficult to envision scenarios in which criminal or state-sponsored cyber-attacks (for credit implications, we don’t differentiate the sources of intrusion) would result in significant economic effects, business interruption, theft, or reputational risk. One key point is that cyber-attacks may not be discovered immediately: It can take weeks or months before an intrusion is discovered.

Cyber-attacks appear random but could be highly correlated thanks to contagion caused by global interconnectivity. Data interconnectivity exists among banks, merchants, data owners (health care providers, telecom companies, etc.), and other sources (vendors, distributors, suppliers). So, hackers have many paths to breaching company data and disrupting business operations. Published reports note that data breaches have been going on long enough for cyber-criminals to have collected substantial data on a large number of individuals.

Overview

  • So far, we have not downgraded any companies because of the damage resulting from a cyber-attack.
  • Although company disclosures about cyber-risks remain limited, we’re starting to explore the issue in the context of management governance and enterprise risk management.
  • Although still too small to draw robust statistical conclusions, our analysis provides insights into how and when cyber-attacks can affect creditworthiness.
  • Our credit opinion takes into account a balanced view including other risk factors concerning the effects of a cyber-attack.

2015 Security Breach Legislation

June 16, 2015 Comments off

2015 Security Breach Legislation
Source: National Conference of State Legislatures

At least 32 states in 2015 introduced or are considering security breach notification bills or resolutions. Many of the bills would amend existing security breach laws to:

  • Require entities to report breaches to attorneys general or another central state agency
  • Expand the definition of “personal information” (e.g., to include medical, insurance or biometric data) in cases of a security breach
  • Require businesses or government entities to implement security plans or various security measures
  • Require educational institutions to notify parents or government entities if a breach occurs.

Only three states–Alabama, New Mexico and South Dakota–do not currently have a law requiring consumer notification of security breaches involving personal information.

Efficacy of a Sexual Assault Resistance Program for University Women

June 11, 2015 Comments off

Efficacy of a Sexual Assault Resistance Program for University Women
Source: New England Journal of Medicine

In this randomized, controlled trial, the risk of completed rape (the primary outcome) was significantly lower over a period of 1 year among first-year university women who participated in a sexual assault resistance program than among those who were provided access to brochures on sexual assault. These results contrast with previous reports of the limited effectiveness of other interventions for women.17-21 An early version of one program reduced the risk of completed rape after 9 weeks of follow-up only among women with no history of victimization.17 In three of four subsequent studies assessing modified programs, there was no significant reduction in the risk of completed rape; in the fourth, the risk of completed rape was reduced but not beyond 2 months after the intervention.18-21 The primary differences between the previous interventions and our resistance program are that ours had more hours of programming, a greater number of interactive and practice exercises, less focus on “assertive communication” and more on escalation of resistance in response to a perpetrator’s perseverance, and the addition of positive sexuality content (Unit 4).22 Further research is warranted to identify the elements that are critical for efficacy so that a shorter version of the resistance program can be developed that will encourage wider implementation.

See also: A Comprehensive Approach to Sexual Violence Prevention (editorial)

Cyber In-Security II: Closing the Federal Talent Gap

June 8, 2015 Comments off

Cyber In-Security II: Closing the Federal Talent Gap
Source: Partnership for Public Service

Cybersecurity is one of the biggest challenges facing today’s technologically dependent society. Yet, there is a nationwide shortage of highly-qualified cybersecurity specialists, with the federal government falling behind in the race for these experts. The cyber talent crisis has persisted long enough. Our nation is at risk as the number and sophistication of cyber-attacks continue to grow.

Please join the Partnership for Public Service and Booz Allen Hamilton on Tuesday, April 14 for an interactive dialogue with cybersecurity experts from the public and private sectors as we outline the challenges faced by the federal government in building a first-class cybersecurity workforce and offer recommendations for a creating a government-wide strategy for retaining and recruiting top cyber talent. During the discussion, we will also share findings and lessons learned from our new report, “Cyber In-Security II: Closing the Federal Talent Gap.”

CRS — Federal Involvement in Sex Offender Registration and Notification: Overview and Issues for Congress, In Brief (March 25, 2015)

June 1, 2015 Comments off

Federal Involvement in Sex Offender Registration and Notification: Overview and Issues for Congress, In Brief (PDF)
Source: Congressional Research Service (via Federation of American Scientists)

The federal government plays a role in the management of sex offenders. In a law enforcement capacity, it enforces federal laws involving sexual abuse, online predatory offenses, or other related federal crimes. In addition, Congress has enacted legislation that encourages the development of state sex offender registries, urges states to punish recalcitrant sex offenders, induces state and local law enforcement to make certain information on sex offenders public, and taken other steps involving the registration of sex offenders and notification of the community. Federal legislation affecting sex offender policy has largely centered on sex offender registration and notification, and therefore they are the focus of this report.

Estimating the Effect of Intimate Partner Violence on Women’s Use of Contraception: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis

May 26, 2015 Comments off

Estimating the Effect of Intimate Partner Violence on Women’s Use of Contraception: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis
Source: PLoS ONE

Background
Intimate partner violence (IPV) is an important global public health problem. While there is a growing literature on the association between IPV and women’s reproductive health (RH) outcomes, most studies are cross-sectional—which weakens inference about the causal effect of IPV on women’s RH. This systematic review synthesizes existing evidence from the strongest study designs to estimate the impact of IPV on women’s use of contraception.

Methods
We searched 11 electronic databases from January of 1980 to 3 December 2013 and reviewed reference lists from systematic reviews for studies examining IPV and contraceptive use. To be able to infer causality, we limited our review to studies that had longitudinal measures of either IPV or women’s use of contraception.

Results
Of the 1,574 articles identified by the search, we included 179 articles in the full text review and extracted data from 12 studies that met our inclusion criteria. We limited the meta-analysis to seven studies that could be classified as subject to low or moderate levels of bias. Women’s experience of IPV was associated with a significant reduction in the odds of using contraception (n = 14,866; OR: 0.47; 95% CI: 0.25, 0.85; I2 = 92%; 95% CII2: 87%, 96%). Restricting to studies that measured the effect of IPV on women’s use of partner dependent contraceptive methods was associated with a reduction in the heterogeneity of the overall estimate. In the three studies that examined women’s likelihood of using male condoms with their partners, experience of IPV was associated with a significant decrease in condom use (OR: 0.48; 95% CIOR: 0.32, 0.72; I2 = 51%; 95% CII2: 0%, 86%).

Conclusions
IPV is associated with a reduction in women’s use of contraception; women who experience IPV are less likely to report using condoms with their male partners. Family planning and HIV prevention programs should consider women’s experiences of IPV.

Canada’s Anti–Money Laundering and Anti–Terrorist Financing Regime: The Legal Profession’s Obligations

May 25, 2015 Comments off

Canada’s Anti–Money Laundering and Anti–Terrorist Financing Regime: The Legal Profession’s Obligations
Source: Library of Parliament

On 13 February 2015, the Supreme Court of Canada ruled that certain provisions of the Proceeds of Crime (Money Laundering) and Terrorist Financing Act that impose obligations on lawyers violate the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

The decision, in Canada (Attorney General) v. Federation of Law Societies of Canada, confirmed that legislation cannot enforce obligations on lawyers that would undermine solicitor–client privilege.

In exempting lawyers from the Act, Canada – like the United States and Australia – is among the few Financial Action Task Force members that do not impose obligations on lawyers as part of their anti–money laundering and anti–terrorist financing regime.

According to the Task Force, criminals may use lawyers to facilitate illegal financial transactions, particularly when they are acting as financial intermediaries.

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