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    12.03.15 Trade Secrets Institute Symposium Tackles Cybercrime
    TSI Symposium

    As cybercrime incidents continue to rise, threatening private companies and the government, Brooklyn Law School’s Trade Secrets Institute (TSI) tackled the most critical security and legal issues during its semi-annual symposium in November: “Protecting Trade Secrets in a World of Cybercrime.”

    The first panel, “Investigating and Prosecuting Digital Trade Secret Theft,” moderated by TSI Fellow Robin Warren ’16, focused on the challenges that investigators and prosecutors face when addressing cybercrime threats.

    Austin Berglas, senior managing director of K2 Intelligence and former assistant special agent in charge of the FBI’s cyber branch in New York, noted that 80 percent of successful cyberattacks are due to human error, which could be avoided if companies had more robust systems for their login credentials and passwords.

    Serrin Turner, cybercrime coordinator at the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York, said many organizations retain outside counsel because of concerns about what else investigators might find that possibly could be construed as evidence of wrongdoing. The presence of outside counsel may make the investigator’s job exceedingly difficult, he added.

    Glenn Graham, deputy attorney general at the New Jersey Office of the Attorney General, described the obstacles he faces in his position, including the lack of uniform cybercrime laws nationwide and the difficulty of attaining collaboration among states as a result. These factors, as well many organizations’ uncertainty about whether trade secrets are protected by their states’ laws, slow down the investigative process at a time when quick results are sought.

    “Good cyber-hygiene and awareness training are the best first line of defense,” Turner said.

    The second panel, “Representing and Protecting the Targets of Cybercrime,” moderated by Brittany Lischinsky ’16, examined the precautionary steps that companies can take to protect their intellectual property and confidential information, as well as the challenges of recovery after a cyber-hack. The panel included Joseph V. DeMarco, Partner, DeVore & DeMarco LLP; Alex Southwell, Partner, Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher’s; and Austin Berglas, who participated in the first panel.

    DeMarco—who specializes in information privacy and security, intellectual property theft, computer intrusions, online fraud, and the use of new technology—said he asks questions to understand his clients’ fears. Knowing that clients are concerned about trust issues with new employees or disgruntled laid-off employees, for example, helps DeMarco provide effective counsel on how to prevent the leak of company secrets in the first place.

    Southwell—who specializes in internal investigations, compliance monitoring, cybersecurity, consumer protection-related investigations—discussed how he helps clients determine where their company’s trade secrets should live.

    “What the bad guys are looking for is always changing, and it’s not always for financial gain: it could be political or just to cause chaos, as with the Sony hack,” he said.

    About the Trade Secrets Institute

    TSI is designed to provide comprehensive neutral coverage of key trade secret cases and legislative or regulatory initiatives throughout the United States. TSI has established a database, the first of its kind in the nation, that connects users to supporting documents, briefs, motions, and timelines for current cases, as well as recent updates on pending legislation or regulatory initiatives concerning trade secrets.