Avi Gesser

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Mr. Gesser is a partner in Davis Polk’s Litigation Department.  He represents clients in a wide range of cybersecurity issues, including compliance with various cybersecurity regulations, cybersecurity governance issues, cloud migration, data minimization, and cybersecurity risk disclosures. Mr. Gesser also counsels companies who have experienced cyber events by coordinating with experts to conduct investigations; communicating with regulators, law enforcement, insurers and auditors; assessing various federal, state and international regulatory disclosure obligations; and representing the companies in related civil litigation and regulatory investigations.  He previously served as the Counsel to the Chief of the Justice Department, Criminal Division’s Fraud Section and as the Deputy Director of the Justice Department, Criminal Division’s Deepwater Horizon Task Force.  In addition to his full-time practice, Mr. Gesser is a frequent writer and commentator on cybersecurity issues. [Full Bio]

Latest Articles

One way for companies to decrease their cybersecurity risks, as well as their risks from new privacy regulations, is through data minimization—significantly reducing the amount of their data.  By deleting old data and collecting less new data, companies will have less sensitive information to protect and process in accordance with their regulatory obligations.  But getting rid of old data isn’t easy, in part because of the legal limitations on what can be deleted.  We have…
Momentum is building in Congress for federal privacy legislation and several states have their own privacy laws in the works.  But, as concerns grow that companies are collecting and sharing personal information about U.S. residents without their knowledge and not adequately protecting that data, regulators and plaintiffs aren’t waiting for new laws.  Instead, they are refitting existing laws to meet their data privacy and security objectives. The SEC We have previously written on the SEC’s
As we highlighted in our predictions for 2019, the proliferation of leaked personal information online provides an increasingly valuable resource for threat actors to use in cyber attacks. So far in 2019, billions of records have been leaked, creating significant additional cybersecurity risks for companies. To help understand this threat, and the steps companies can take to reduce risk, we’ve invited IntSights, a leading cyber intelligence platform focused on external threat monitoring across…
In our first Cyber Blog post, we predicted that the rules-based approach adopted by the NYDFS would become the model for cybersecurity regulation.  Two years later, we’re feeling pretty good about that prediction, as the FTC recently proposed incorporating a number of aspects of the NYDFS cybersecurity rules into its Standards for Safeguarding Customer Information rule (the “Safeguards Rule”).  The proposal would also expand the Safeguards Rule’s definition of “financial institution” to include “finders,”…
We recently wrote about companies monitoring employees to reduce cybersecurity risks. Those insider threat risks do not end when employees leave the company. Sensitive company data in the hands of a disgruntled former employee is obviously a potential risk, but so is unauthorized access to confidential company information by a former employee acting in good faith. Companies must therefore take steps to protect their data from walking out the door with exiting employees. Employees who are leaving should…
Davis Polk’s Avi Gesser, associate Matt Kelly, and law clerk Samantha Pfotenhauer co-authored an article, The Expanding Role of Lawyers in Addressing Cyber Risk at Financial Firms, appearing in this month’s issue of The Review of Securities & Commodities Regulation. Not that long ago, cybersecurity was viewed as primarily a technical issue, to be handled by a company’s IT department.  But times are changing—at least somewhat.  The rise of robust regulatory frameworks related to data…
Two-factor authentication is one of the most common measures that companies use to reduce cyber risk, but it is not very effective if companies don’t also have a good lost-phone protocol. Various regulations and industry rules require two-factor authentication (also referred to as multi-factor authentication or MFA) including the NYDFS cyber rules, the NIST identification and authentication requirements, the Payment Card Industry (“PCI”) Data Security Standard 8.3, as well as the proposed amendments to…
On April 1, 2019, new cybersecurity requirements outlined in the NFA’s Interpretive Notice to NFA Compliance Rules 2-9, 2-36 and 2-49 will come into effect.  These new requirements apply to NFA Members, including registered futures commission merchants, commodity trading advisors, commodity pool operators, introducing brokers, retail foreign exchange dealers, and swap dealers.  They are designed to “establish general requirements relating to Members’ information systems security programs (ISSPs) but leave the exact form of an ISSP…
Insider data threats – which include the deliberate theft or destruction of sensitive information, as well as innocent mistakes that result in a loss of control of confidential data – have become a primary risk factor to most businesses.  To properly maintain cybersecurity and protect confidential information, companies need to monitor the activities of their employees more than ever.  How far employers can go in tracking the activity of employees requires a delicate balance between…