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FINRA Warns Member Firms of COVID-19 Related Cybersecurity Risks

The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), the independent nongovernmental organization that writes and enforces the rules governing U.S. registered brokers and broker-dealers, has issued guidance to its member firms regarding pandemic-related planning.   As we’ve been writing (here, here, and here), the COVID-19 crisis has increased the risk of cybersecurity incidents due to remote or telework arrangements and the corresponding increase in opportunistic malicious activity.   FINRA has warned member firms to remain “vigilant in their surveillance against cyber threats and take steps to reduce the risk of cyber events.”

Recommendations from FINRA include the following, and are good advice for any company:

  • Ensuring that virtual private networks (VPNs) and other remote access systems are properly patched with available security updates
  • Checking that system entitlements (access permissions) are current
  • Employing the use of multi-factor authentication for people who access systems remotely
  • Reminding employees of cyber risks through education and other exercises that promote heightened vigilance

The Mintz Privacy & Cybersecurity Team is ready to assist with cybersecurity assessment and advice in this time of heightened risk.   Keep your virtual operations safe and virus-free.

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Cynthia J. Larose

Member / Co-Chair, Privacy & Cybersecurity Practice

Cynthia J. Larose is Chair of the firm's Privacy & Cybersecurity Practice, a Certified Information Privacy Professional-US (CIPP-US), and a Certified Information Privacy Professional-Europe (CIPP-E). She works with clients in various industries to develop comprehensive information security programs on the front end, and provides timely counsel when it becomes necessary to respond to a data breach.