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Information Technology Liability Litigation

December 9, 2021

Data breaches and cyber security hacks have been on the rise in the US, with reported cybercrimes up 300% since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020. Experts estimate ransomware damage costs will rise to $20 billion in 2021. The influx of businesses falling victim to data security breaches and IT attacks is resulting in increased litigation. 

Damages as a result of cybercrime now reach beyond identity theft and fraud. Perpetrators are looking at different types of data and ways to exploit tech vulnerabilities in areas such as medical care, workplace safety, and beyond. This expanding scope of harm from data theft and the increase of risk attributable to compromised or malfunctioning technology has businesses and insurance companies re-evaluating liability insurance.  

For years, technology has been grouped into general liability insurance for businesses across industries. For many businesses, this understanding of IT liability insurance is outdated and does not adequately cover everything that can be impacted by a data breach or ransomware attack. Insurance companieson the other hand, must confront the challenge of understanding the total impact of cybercrime to choose the coverage that will be provided for incidents involving technology.  

This evolving tech landscape and its resulting challenges mean attorneys, businesses and insurers should consider the types of IT and cybercrime experts whom they may need to consult prior to or during litigation. This is a far-reaching and nuanced area of expertise, but the following four examples of IT experts are a good place to start: 

Data Loss Expert Witness 

Data loss is a common repercussion of a cyber-attack. As our dependency on data networks grows, so do the associated risks. Breach of compliance obligations, loss of IP, and damage to a brand’s reputation are all risks associated with data loss, and these risks hold significant legal consequences. A data loss expert witness can assess a business’s security protocols, software, coding and more to evaluate compliance and whether the business established the necessary safeguards to protect their data.  

Computer Forensics Expert Witness 

A great computer forensics expert can help acquire and analyze electronic evidence associated with a business’s case. Their role both inside and outside of the courtroom is critical, helping legal teams and jurors understand the significance of electronic evidence. The role of this type of expert can be expansive, including procurement of evidence, preservation of data as evidence, crafting of strategies and narratives based on data finds, restoration of lost or hidden data, and impartial examination of findings and crafting of provable conclusions.  

Computer Hacking Expert Witness 

As with other areas of IT security, computer hacking expert witnesses can cover a range of expertise and lend their credibility to several specific areas that involve cybercrime. From reports on the specific nature of unique security intrusions, to testifying on the strength of a company’s overall security policies, these experts can speak to issues related to secure computing, risk subversion, inappropriate data, and much more.  

Blockchain & Cryptocurrency Analysis 

The rise in cryptocurrency adoption has naturally led to security concerns and various legal disputes. In a recent episode of our podcast, Discussions at the Round Table, we spoke with blockchain expert Rich Sanders about this emerging area of litigation and his role as an expert. “We are most well-known for basically tracing cryptocurrency. We present truth through blockchains is oftentimes what the phrasing is, and that means a few different things. We are most well-known for our scam and hack investigations.” explains Rich.  

IT leaders and tech companies are starting to realize that evolving cybercrime tactics and more significant repercussions require a more nuanced approach and the right type of expert. These companies, and their legal teams should be exploring both the various forms of coverage that extend beyond general liability and the nuanced expertise that could be required to speak to their specific situation 

For more than 25 years, Round Table Group has helped litigators locate, evaluate, and employ the best and most qualified expert witnesses. Round Table Group is a great complement to any litigator’s quest for an expert witness and our search is always free of charge. Contact us at 202-908-4500 for more information or start your expert search now. 

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