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Sean Hoar Interviewed By SpearTip On Mass Cyber Exploitation Events

Portland, Ore. (March 31, 2021) - Portland Partner and Chair of Lewis Brisbois’ Data Privacy & Cybersecurity Practice Sean B. Hoar recently participated in a video interview with cyber counterintelligence firm SpearTip, LLC, during which he discussed how businesses can protect themselves from mass exploitation events.

Mr. Hoar explained that the recent Microsoft Exchange server event illustrated that “very well-resourced and persistent” malicious actors are continuing to attack high value targets that are part of worldwide information systems. In commenting upon how organizations can protect themselves from cyber incidents, Mr. Hoar described that effective cybersecurity programs should include patch management and processes for immediate deployment. “There needs to be a conduit for patch management so every enterprise, regardless of how big or small it is, has to really put this at the forefront as part of a layered defense.”

In addition, Mr. Hoar described that the cyber events that arose from the Microsoft Exchange server compromise crossed all business sectors and sizes, and the failure to patch immediately led to problematic consequences across the board. “That’s the big lesson here is that once again, you’ve got to get that patch on there quickly.”

Moreover, Mr. Hoar observed that the “new world” of cyberattacks involves encryption attacks combined with exfiltration extortion, and that organizations must take this trend into account when designing cybersecurity programs. Noting that these new types of cyberattacks increase liability and the potential for reputational damage, he explained, “Businesses, unless they’re prepared for it, it’s going to be a very, very fast-moving ship once it happens.”

Mr. Hoar also provided recommendations for maintaining effective cybersecurity and responding to a cyber event. He explained that contracts are often a source of liability and that companies that are victimized should review their contracts with vendors and others to see if applicable clauses are triggered. In addition, Mr. Hoar emphasized that enlisting third parties to assist with communication and legal compliance issues following a cyber event is essential, explaining, “You don’t want to have any missteps and a lot of times that external communication is where the misstep occurs.”

Finally, Mr. Hoar noted the importance of maintaining a proactive approach to cybersecurity. “Don’t wait until the next quarter to do something if you can do it now,” he advised.

A former federal cyber attorney for the Department of Justice, Mr. Hoar has extensive experience managing responses to digital crises and is a frequent speaker and commentator on cybersecurity issues in the law, as well as a regular contributor to Lewis Brisbois’ Digital Insights blog. He also holds the Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP), the Global Information Security Professional (GISP), and the Certified Information Privacy Professional/United States (CIPP/US) credentials.

You may view the full video interview here.


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