Last week, the New York Department of Financial Services (“DFS”) issued guidance to entities it regulates about maintaining cybersecurity awareness during the COVID-19 pandemic. Businesses have likely already seen the numerous news alerts regarding the increased risk of cyberthreats as bad actors take advantage of the upheaval caused by the current health crisis. At the end of March, the FBI reported that its Internet Crime Complaint Center had already received over 1200 complaints of COVID-19-related scams.
Update: On April 14, 2020, the New York State Department of Health (DOH) issued Interim Guidance on the Executive Order discussed below. A copy of that guidance can be found here. The LEGALcurrents article below has been updated to reflect certain aspects of the Interim Guidance.
With the current COVID-19 pandemic, questions have arisen regarding how people can safely execute Wills and other documents that require witnesses. Yesterday, by Executive Order 202.14, Governor Cuomo expressly authorized Wills, Trusts, Health Care Proxies, and Statutory Gifts Riders for Powers of Attorney to be witnessed remotely by virtual means. The Executive Order is in effect until May 7, 2020. Before this Executive Order, New York generally did not allow remote witnessing.
Organizations of all sizes are facing daunting technological and logistical challenges, as much of the country’s workforce adjusts to working remotely. Privacy and data security risks only add to these challenges.