Aravind Swaminathan is global co-chair of the firm's Cybersecurity & Data Privacy team, which was named Privacy Practice Group of the Year
in 2016 by Law360
, and is nationally ranked by The Legal 500
in two categories. Aravind earned "particular praise" from Legal 500
, as part of a team known for being "extremely responsive and client focused, succeeding at meeting the needs of both in-house counsel and tech-savvy business clients.
Aravind is a former federal cybercrime prosecutor, an accomplished trial lawyer, and class action litigator, with extensive experience in handling cybersecurity incidents and data breaches, government and internal investigations, and privacy-related matters.
Aravind advises clients in cybersecurity risk assessment and management, breach incident response planning, and corporate
governance responsibilities related to cybersecurity. Aravind has directed over 100 data breach investigations and cybersecurity incident
response efforts, including ones with national security implications. He
also represents companies and organizations facing cybersecurity and
privacy-oriented FTC, SEC, and State Attorney General investigations and class action litigation. Aravind
is a sought-after speaker on cybersecurity issues, including threat landscapes,
mitigation strategies, incident response plans, and threat management in mobile
device ecosystems. Aravind previously served on the City of Seattle’s
Privacy Advisory Committee, as general counsel to Washington State Governor Jay Inslee's task force on drone legislation, and is currently serving as counsel to PISCES, a
first-of-its-kind organization whose purpose is to facilitate information
sharing between state and local agencies and municipalities to improve threat
intelligence availability to support critical government services.
Until 2013, Aravind served as an Assistant United States Attorney for the Western
District of Washington, where he served as one of the district's Computer
Hacking and Intellectual Property Section attorneys. As a prosecutor, Aravind investigated and prosecuted a broad array of cybercrime cases, including ones involving hacking, phishing, theft of trade secrets, click fraud, cyber threats, and identity theft. Aravind also led the United States
Attorney's Office cybercrime outreach program for the Western District of
Washington, where he worked with members of the Department of Justice, state and federal
regulators, law enforcement and other organizations on cybersecurity and related
Cybersecurity and Privacy Matters
- Represented computer hardware manufacturer in security breach affecting credit card information, and ensuing state and federal investigations
- Represented information security professionals in litigation and investigations in connection with large data breaches
- Represented major contracting company in national security-related cybersecurity breach that compromised of industrial control systems
- Represented enterprise software and information solutions company in breach of credit card and login/password information
- Represented IT management software company compromised by botnet that leveraged managed endpoints to mine for digital currency
- Represented digital currency security company in phishing attack directed at senior management that resulted in extortionate hacker threats
- Represented major city in connection with compromise of personal information of utility customers and citizens
- Represented industrial supply company in compromise of usernames and passwords for business to business customers
- Represented non-profit institutions in investigation of compromised social security information affecting its members and employees
- Directed cybersecurity assessments and planned remediation efforts for technology, financial services, and other companies
- Advised networking infrastructure company in developing technical global privacy compliance strategy
- Counseled companies in cybersecurity incident response planning, and facilitated tabletop exercises
- Advised boards of directors on corporate governance responsibilities relating to cybersecurity and data privacy
Privacy/Cybersecurity Class Action Litigation
- Represented major retailers in class action litigation alleging deceptive trade practices in connection with gift cards
- Represented payment processor litigation with acquiring bank and ISO in connection with processing of credit card transactions
- Represented application and software company in spyware and consumer protection investigation by Washington State Attorney General
- Represented company in data breach class action litigation affecting tens of thousands of employees' Social Security number and tax information.
- Represented numerous companies in class action litigation brought under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act
- Represented information solutions company against claims asserted under the Electronic Communications Privacy Act
- Served as General Counsel to Washington State Governor Jay Inslee's task force on drone legislation
- Served as member of City of Seattle Privacy Advisory Committee
White Collar and Investigation Matters
- Represented one of the nation's largest independent automobile dealerships in federal money laundering and tax investigation resulting in favorable non-prosecution agreement for individual company owners
- Represented individual in government procurement and false statements investigation and prosecution
- Represented healthcare provider in negligent homicide investigation
- Represented large healthcare provider and leading pharmaceutical company in separate false claims investigation by Washington State Attorney General
- Represented pharmacy chain in DEA diversion investigation
- Represented Japanese individuals in Department of Justice and Securities and Exchange Commission investigation arising out of cross-border healthcare receivables investment company
- Represented environmental technology solutions company in federal criminal grant fraud investigation, resulting in no charges brought
- Represented Hong Kong-based national in Foreign Corrupt Practices Act investigation
- Led internal investigation at public technology company of allegations of Wiretap and Washington State Recording Act violations
In the latest sign that data breach class actions are here to stay—and, indeed, growing—the D.C. Circuit resuscitated claims against health insurer CareFirst BlueCross and Blue Shield, following a 2015 breach that compromised member names, dates of birth, email addresses, and subscriber identification numbers of approximately 1.1 million individuals. The decision aligns the second most powerful federal appellate court in the nation with pre-Spokeo decisions in Neiman Marcus and P.F. Chang and post-Spokeo decisions in other circuits (Third, Seventh, and Eleventh). In short, an increased risk of identity theft constitutes an imminent injury-in-fact, and the risk of future injury is substantial enough to support Article III standing.
The D.C. Circuit’s holding is an important development. First, the D.C. Circuit went beyond credit card numbers and social security numbers to expand the scope of data types that create a risk to individuals (i.e., names, birthdates, emails, and health insurance subscriber ID numbers). Second, the decision makes clear that organizations should carefully consider the interplay between encryption (plus other technical data protection measures) and “risk of harm” exceptions to notification, including exceptions that may be available under HIPAA and GLBA statutory regimes. READ MORE
Today, Orrick announced the launch of our automated General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) Readiness Assessment Tool, which makes the EU’s new, complex, data privacy law, the GDPR, more accessible. The free tool is available to all organizations and allows businesses to stress test their compliance against the upcoming GDPR. It segments the GDPR into 14 workable themes and guides the user through a series of dynamic questions relating to each theme. Upon completion of the assessment, the tool provides a complimentary tailored report summarizing the likely key impacts of the GDPR for an organization. READ MORE
August 28, 2017 marks the end of the initial 180-day grace period for compliance under the New York Department of Financial Services’ “first-in-the-nation” cybersecurity regulations (the “Rules”). The initial regulations were proposed last year, but NY DFS received robust public comments that led to significant amendments. While the proposed regulations set out proscriptive, one-size-fits-all requirements, the final Rules align more closely to flexible federal, financial sector guidance, captured in the NIST cybersecurity framework and the FFIEC cybersecurity assessment tool. Accordingly, the final Rules require that cybersecurity programs be calibrated to periodic “risk assessments” that give entities discretion to specify the criteria used to identify, evaluate, and remediate risks, in the context of technological developments and corporate controls.
While covered entities are technically required to be in compliance with the Rules as of Monday, there are additional transitional periods for certain items (see below), and entities have until February 15, 2018 to submit their first certifications to NY DFS. For organizations still working through compliance requirements, the below steps may help to prioritize and implement a work plan. READ MORE
Shortly after the new year, the Federal Trade Commission filed suit in the Northern District of California against D-Link Corporation, a Taiwan-based maker of wireless routers, Internet Protocol (IP) cameras, and software used in consumer electronics (such as baby monitors). The complaint alleges that D-Link failed to reasonably secure its products from hackers. Notably, the FTC has not alleged that D‑Link products were exploited by hackers or that a data breach or cyberattack resulted from any alleged security vulnerabilities. Rather, the action is based squarely on security vulnerabilities that “potentially compromis[ed] sensitive consumer information, including live video and audio feeds from D-Link IP cameras” and marketing statements made by D-Link that touted the products’ security features.
We at Trust Anchor have our ears to the ground. Here are some of the most important things we heard regulators, courts, and legislatures say about cybersecurity in 2016, and what they mean for you and your organization
There is no such thing as compliance with the NIST Cybersecurity Framework (FTC). In September, the FTC dispelled a commonly held misconception regarding the NIST Framework: It “is not, and isn’t intended to be, a standard or checklist. . . . there’s really no such thing as ‘complying with the Framework.'” The Framework provides guidance on process. It does not proscribe the specific practices that must be implemented. Rather, the NIST Framework lays out a risk-based approach to assessment and mitigation that is “fully consistent” with the concept of “reasonableness” embedded in the FTC’s Section 5 enforcement record. Takeaway: Organizations should consider using the NIST Framework—or another framework—to guide their cybersecurity investments and program development. Use of the NIST Framework alone does not signal that an organization is secure.
States were busy updating their data breach notification statutes in 2016. With 2016 in the rear view, let’s take a look back at the legislative changes that will impact corporate incident response processes and what those trends portend going forward.
Expanded Definition of “Personal Information”
Login Credentials. In 2016, Rhode Island, Nebraska and Illinois (effective January 2017), joined the ranks of states that include usernames (or email addresses) and passwords in the definition of “personal information” that triggers notification obligations. As of this writing, the following eight states may require notification when login credentials are compromised: California, Florida, Illinois, Nebraska, North Dakota, Nevada, Rhode Island and Wyoming.
For businesses that work with the U.S. Department of Defense (“DoD”), two important rules for safeguarding certain categories of sensitive information and reporting cyber incidents were recently finalized, updating the interim rules promulgated in late 2015. The first rule amends the Defense Federal Acquisition Regulation Supplement (“DFARS Rule”) and went into effect on October 21, 2016. The second rule modifies the previously voluntary DoD cybersecurity information-sharing program in connection with the Defense Industrial Base (“DIB Rule”) and went into effect on November 3, 2016.
We previously explained the changes brought about by the interim rules. Here, we explain what changed after the rules’ comment periods, and provide suggestions for compliance.
It was about time for data breach defendants to get a win. The District Court for the Northern District of Illinois delivered one to Barnes & Noble in its long-running class action that stems from a breach suffered in 2012. Plaintiffs’ case was dismissed in its entirety on a motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6). This development—just days after the Sixth Circuit in Nationwide had aligned itself with the Seventh Circuit’s Neiman Marcus and P.F. Chang’s decisions that found standing to sue for breach plaintiffs—shows that the legal battle over “harm” may start with standing, but goes nowhere absent alleged damages that tightly match the substantive elements of each claim.
According to a press release of the Data Protection Supervisory Authority in the Land Mecklenburg Vorpommern of November 3, German supervisory authorities have randomly selected 500 companies in Germany and sent them requests for information on their international data transfers. The German supervisory authorities are undertaking this coordinated action in order to increase awareness among companies of the need to ensure data privacy compliance of international data transfers.
Last week, FinCEN (Financial Crimes Enforcement Network) issued a formal Advisory to Financial Institutions and published FAQs outlining specific cybersecurity events that should be reported through Suspicious Activity Reports (SARs). This Advisory follows former FinCEN Director Jennifer Shasky Calvery’s recent statements reminding “financial institutions to include cyber-derived information (such as IP addresses or bitcoin wallet addresses) in suspicious activity reports.” It also follows the launch of the Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council (FFIEC) Cybersecurity Assessment Tool (CAT). Although the Advisory does not change existing Bank Secrecy Act (BSA) requirements or other regulatory obligations, the Advisory highlights a series of cybersecurity events–such as Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks and ransomware incidents–that should be reported on SARs filed with FinCEN, even though they often (but not always) fall outside the traditional notion of a data breach or a compromise of personal information.