Publicly Traded Companies Beware of Potential New Suits Per the SEC's Cyber Risk Disclosure Recommendations

By:  Sherry Schwartz

On October 13, 2011, the Security Exchange Commission, Division of Corporations, released “new guidance” to the shareholder disclosure requirements of publicly traded companies.  Specifically, the SEC noted the significance of “cyber risks” in the scheme of assessing the overall risks and liabilities of a business.  The rationale for recommending the inclusion of cyber risks relied heavily upon the breadth of exposure they can entail, including:

Remediation costs that may include liability for stolen assets or information and repairing system damage that may have been caused. Remediation costs may also include incentives offered to customers or other business partners in an effort to maintain the business relationships after an attack; Increased cybersecurity protection costs that may include organizational changes, deploying additional personnel and protection technologies, training employees, and engaging third party experts and consultants; Lost revenues resulting from unauthorized use of proprietary information or the failure to retain or attract customers following an attack; Litigation; and Reputational damage adversely affecting customer or investor confidence.[1]

What is the effect of this new guidance?  If nothing else, it certainly demonstrates near codification/recognition of the substantial impact any cyber security breach can have on the financial operation of a company.  Only time will tell if alleged failures to adequately disclose cyber risk or cyber incidents in accord with these recommendations will open the door to new investor/shareholder claims of insufficient and/or misleading disclosures.


Our team is available to discuss the topics written here and ready to provide additional information contained in this article. Contact us for more information.

Jump to Page

Necessary Cookies

Necessary cookies enable core functionality such as security, network management, and accessibility. You may disable these by changing your browser settings, but this may affect how the website functions.

Analytical Cookies

Analytical cookies help us improve our website by collecting and reporting information on its usage. We access and process information from these cookies at an aggregate level.