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FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS REGARDING 23 NYCRR PART 500

Effective March 1, 2017, the Superintendent of Financial Services promulgated 23 NYCRR Part 500, a regulation establishing cybersecurity requirements for financial services companies. The following provides answers to frequently asked questions concerning 23 NYCRR Part 500. Terms used below have the meanings assigned to them in 23 NYCRR 500.01. Please note that the Department may revise or update the below information from time to time, as appropriate.

  1. Are the New York branches of out-of-state domestic banks required to comply with 23 NYCRR Part 500?

    New York is a signatory to the Nationwide Cooperative Agreement, Revised as of December 9, 1997 (the “Agreement”), an agreement among state banking regulators that addresses supervision in an interstate branching environment. Pursuant to the Agreement, the home state of a state-chartered bank with a branch or branches in New York under Article V-C of the New York Banking Law is primarily responsible for supervising such state-chartered bank, including its New York branches.  In keeping with the Agreement’s goals of interstate coordination and cooperation with respect to the supervision and examination of bank branches, including compliance with applicable laws, DFS will defer to the home state supervisor for supervision and examination of the New York branches, with the understanding that DFS is available to coordinate and work with the home state in such supervision and examination.  DFS notes that New York branches are required to comply with New York state law, and DFS maintains the right to examine branches located in New York.  With respect to DFS’s cybersecurity regulation, given the ever-increasing cybersecurity risks that financial institutions face, DFS strongly encourages all financial institutions, including New York branches of out-of-state domestic banks, to adopt cybersecurity protections consistent with the safeguards and protections of 23 NYCRR Part 500.

  2. How must a Covered Entity address cybersecurity issues with respect to its subsidiaries and other affiliates?

    When a subsidiary or other affiliate of a Covered Entity presents risks to the Covered Entity’s Information Systems or the Nonpublic Information stored on those Information Systems, those risks must be evaluated and addressed in the Covered Entity’s Risk Assessment, cybersecurity program and cybersecurity policies (see 23 NYCRR Sections 500.09, 500.02 and 500.03, respectively). Other regulatory requirements may also apply, depending on the individual facts and circumstances.

  3. If a Covered Entity qualifies for a limited exemption, does it need to comply with 23 NYCRR Part 500?

    The exemptions listed in 23 NYCRR Part 500.19 are limited in scope. These exemptions have been tailored to address particular circumstances and include requirements that the Department believes are necessary for these exempted entities. As such, Covered Entities that qualify for those exemptions are only exempt from complying with certain provisions as set forth in the regulation, but must comply with the sections listed in the exemption that applies to that Covered Entity.

  4. Under 23 NYCRR 500.17(a), is a Covered Entity required to give notice to the Department when a Cybersecurity Event involves harm to consumers?

    Yes.  23 NYCRR 500.17(a) must be read in combination with other laws and regulations that apply to consumer privacy. Under 23 NYCRR 500.17(a)(1), a Covered Entity must give notice to the Department of any Cybersecurity Event “of which notice is required to be provided to any government body, self-regulatory agency or any other supervisory body,” which includes many Cybersecurity Events  that involve consumer harm, whether actual or potential. To offer just one example, New York’s information security breach and notification law requires notices to affected consumers and to certain government bodies following a data breach. Under 23 NYCRR 500.17(a)(1), when such a data breach constitutes a Cybersecurity Event, it must also be reported to the Department.

    In addition, under 23 NYCRR 500.17(a)(2), Cybersecurity Events must be reported to the Department if they “have a reasonable likelihood of materially harming any material part of the normal operation(s) of the Covered Entity.” To the extent a Cybersecurity Event involves material consumer harm, it is covered by this provision.

  5. Is a Covered Entity required to give notice to consumers affected by a Cybersecurity Event?

    New York’s information security breach and notification law (General Business Law Section 899-aa), requires notice to consumers who have been affected by cybersecurity incidents. Further, under 23 NYCRR Part 500, a Covered Entity’s cybersecurity program and policy must address, to the extent applicable, consumer data privacy and other consumer protection issues. Additionally, Part 500 requires that Covered Entities address as part of their incident response plans external communications in the aftermath of a breach, which includes communication with affected customers. Thus, a Covered Entity’s cybersecurity program and policies will need to address notice to consumers in order to be consistent with the risk-based requirements of 23 NYCRR Part 500.

  6. May a Covered Entity adopt portions of an Affiliate's cybersecurity program without adopting all of it?

    A Covered Entity may adopt an Affiliate's cybersecurity program in whole or in part, as long as the Covered Entity's overall cybersecurity program meets all requirements of 23 NYCRR Part 500. The Covered Entity remains responsible for full compliance with the requirements of 23 NYCRR Part 500. To the extent a Covered Entity relies on an Affiliate's cybersecurity program in whole or in part, that program must be made available for examination by the Department.

  7. May the certification requirement of 23 NYCRR 500.17(b) be met by an Affiliate?

    No. Each Covered Entity is required to annually certify its compliance with Part 500 as required by 23 NYCRR 500.17(b).

  8. To the extent a Covered Entity uses an employee of an Affiliate as its Chief Information Security Officer ("CISO"), is the Covered Entity required to satisfy the requirements of 23 NYCRR 500.04(a)(2)-(3)?

    To the extent a Covered Entity utilizes an employee of an Affiliate to serve as the Covered Entity's CISO for purposes of 23 NYCRR 500.04(a), the Affiliate is not considered a Third Party Service Provider for purposes of 23 NYCRR 500.04(a)(2)-(3). However, the Covered Entity retains full responsibility for compliance with the requirements of 23 NYCRR Part 500 at all times, including ensuring that the CISO responsible for the Covered Entity is performing the duties consistent with this Part.

  9. Are the DFS-authorized New York branches, agencies and representative offices of out-of-country foreign banks required to comply with 23 NYCRR Part 500?

    Yes. It is further noted that, in such cases, only the Information Systems supporting the branch, agency or representative office, and the Nonpublic Information of the branch, agency or representative office are subject to the applicable requirements of 23 NYCRR Part 500, whether through the branch's, agency's or representative office's development and implementation of its own cybersecurity program or through the adoption of an Affiliate's cybersecurity program.

  10. Where interrelated requirements under 23 NYCRR Part 500 are subject to different transitional periods, when and to what extent are Covered Entities required to comply with currently applicable requirements that are impacted by separate requirements for which the applicable transitional period has not yet ended?

    Covered Entities have 180 days from the March 1, 2017, effective date to come into compliance with the requirements of 23 NYCRR Part 500 unless otherwise specified in 23 NYCRR 500.22. While complying with currently applicable requirements under the final rule, Covered Entities are generally not required to comply with, or incorporate into their cybersecurity programs, provisions of the regulation for which the applicable transitional period has not yet ended. For example, while Covered Entities will be required to have a cybersecurity program as well as policies and procedures in place by August 28, 2017, the Department recognizes that in some cases there may be updates and revisions thereafter that incorporate the results of a Risk Assessment later conducted, or other elements of Part 500 that are subject to longer transitional periods.

  11. Is a Covered Entity required to certify compliance with all the requirements of 23 NYCRR 500 on February 15, 2018?

    Covered Entities are required to submit the first certification under 23 NYCRR 500.17(b) by February 15, 2018. This initial certification applies to and includes all requirements of 23 NYCRR Part 500 for which the applicable transitional period under 23 NYCRR 500.22 has terminated prior to February 15, 2018. Accordingly, Covered Entities will not be required to submit certification of compliance with the requirements of 23 NYCRR 500.04(b), 500.05, 500.06, 500.08, 500.09, 500.12, 500.13, 500.14 and 500.15 until February 15, 2019, and certification of compliance with 23 NYCRR 500.11 until February 15, 2020.

  12. May a Covered Entity submit a certification under 23 NYCRR 500.17(b) if it is not yet in compliance with all applicable requirements of Part 500?

    The Department expects full compliance with this regulation. A Covered Entity may not submit a certification under 23 NYCRR 500.17(b) unless the Covered Entity is in compliance with all applicable requirements of Part 500 at the time of certification. To the extent a particular requirement of Part 500 is subject to an ongoing transitional period under 23 NYCRR 500.22 at the time of certification, that requirement would not be consider applicable for purposes of a certification under 23 NYCRR 500.17(b).

  13. What constitutes "continuous monitoring" for purposes of 23 NYCRR 500.05?

    Effective continuous monitoring could be attained through a variety of technical and procedural tools, controls and systems. There is no specific technology that is required to be used in order to have an effective continuous monitoring program. Effective continuous monitoring generally has the ability to continuously, on an ongoing basis, detect changes or activities within a Covered Entity's Information Systems that may create or indicate the existence of cybersecurity vulnerabilities or malicious activity. In contrast, non-continuous monitoring of Information Systems, such as through periodic manual review of logs and firewall configurations, would not be considered to constitute "effective continuous monitoring" for purposes of 23 NYCRR 500.05.

  14. When is a Covered Entity required to report a Cybersecurity Event under 23 NYCRR 500.17(a)?

    23 NYCRR 500.17(a) requires Covered Entities to notify the superintendent of certain Cybersecurity Events as promptly as possible but in no event later than 72 hours from a determination that a reportable Cybersecurity Event has occurred. A Cybersecurity Event is reportable if it falls into at least one of the following categories:

    • the Cybersecurity Event impacts the Covered Entity and notice of it is required to be provided to any government body, self-regulatory agency or any other supervisory body; or
    • the Cybersecurity Event has a reasonable likelihood of materially harming any material part of the normal operation(s) of the Covered Entity.

    An attack on a Covered Entity may constitute a reportable Cybersecurity Event even if the attack is not successful.

  15. How should a Covered Entity submit Notices of Exemption, Certifications of Compliance and Notices of Cybersecurity Events?

    Cybersecurity Notices of Exemption should be filed electronically via the DFS Web Portal http://www.dfs.ny.gov/about/cybersecurity.  You will first be prompted to create an account and log in to the DFS Web Portal, then directed to the filing interface. This account and portal will be used for future regulatory filings relating to cybersecurity, including Notices of Cybersecurity Events and Certifications of Compliance.  At this time, Covered Entities should send all Notices of Cybersecurity Events to your normal supervisory staff within the Department.  The DFS Web Portal will accommodate Notices of Cybersecurity Events and Certifications of Compliance shortly.  Filings made through the DFS Web Portal are preferred to alternative filing mechanisms because the DFS Web Portal provides a secure reporting tool to facilitate compliance with the filing requirements of 23 NYCRR Part 500.

  16. Can an entity be both a Covered Entity and a Third Party Service Provider under 23 NYCRR Part 500?

    Yes. If an entity is both a Covered Entity and a Third Party Service Provider, the entity is responsible for meeting the requirements of 23 NYCRR Part 500 as a Covered Entity.

  17. Are all Third Party Service Providers required to implement Multi-Factor Authentication and encryption when dealing with a Covered Entity?

    23 NYCRR 500.11, among other things, generally requires a Covered Entity to develop and implement written policies and procedures designed to ensure the security of the Covered Entity's Information Systems and Nonpublic Information that are accessible to, or held by, Third Party Service Providers. 23 NYCRR 500.11(b) requires a Covered Entity to include in those policies and procedures guidelines, as applicable, addressing certain enumerated issues. Accordingly, 23 NYCRR 500.11(b) requires Covered Entities to make a risk assessment regarding the appropriate controls for Third Party Service Providers based on the individual facts and circumstances presented and does not create a one-size-fits-all solution.

Updated 06/09/2017

 

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