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On June 3, 2021, the United States Supreme Court issued a 6-3 opinion in Van Buren v. United States, No. 19-783, resolving the circuit split regarding what it means to “exceed authorization” for purposes of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA) 18 U.S.C. §1030 et seq. The Court held that only those who obtain information from particular areas of the computer which they are not authorized to access can be said to “exceed authorization,” and the statute does not — as the government had argued — cover behavior, like Van Buren’s, where a person accesses information which he is authorized to access but does so for improper purposes. This was a long-awaited decision interpreting the CFAA, which has become an important statute in both criminal and civil enforcement relating to computer crime and hacking.
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By Mark Sangster
In response to the worst period on record for cyber attacks, the ABA published Formal Opinion 498 to address practicing law outside of the traditional brick-and-mortar office environment. It reminds lawyers that while the ABA Model Rules permit virtual practice, they provide minimum requirements and recommendations for virtual practice, particularly in the areas of competence, confidentiality and supervision.
By Emil Sayegh
With each successive large-scale cyber attack, it is slowly becoming clear that ransomware attacks are targeting the critical infrastructure of the most powerful country on the planet. Understanding the strategy, and tactics of our opponents, as well as the strategy and the tactics we implement as a response are vital to victory.
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A Q&A with Bobby Malhotra of Munger, Tolles & Olson LLP, Los Angeles.