Info@NationalCyberSecurity
Info@NationalCyberSecurity

SEC Cyber 8-K Rules Effective Today | #hacking | #cybersecurity | #infosec | #comptia | #pentest | #ransomware


As we previously reported, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission’s (“SEC”) new Form 8-K rules for reporting material cybersecurity incidents take effect today, December 18, for filers other than smaller reporting companies. The new rules require reporting to the SEC within four business days from the determination of materiality.

Incident response will potentially become more complicated as the incremental burdens of timely compliance with the new Form 8-K requirements add additional complexity to delicate fact patterns. Disclosure on Form 8-K may be delayed for 30 days if the U.S. Attorney General provides written notification to the SEC that national security or public safety would be impaired substantially by immediate disclosure. Recently, the FBI published various guidelines on how it will process requests for a reporting delay from the Department of Justice (“DOJ”) under the new rules. The SEC staff also released interpretive guidance:

Question 104B.01
Question: A registrant experiences a material cybersecurity incident, and requests that the Attorney General determine that disclosure of the incident on Form 8-K poses a substantial risk to national security or public safety. The Attorney General declines to make such determination or does not respond before the Form 8-K otherwise would be due. What is the deadline for the registrant to file an Item 1.05 Form 8-K disclosing the incident?

Answer: The registrant must file the Item 1.05 Form 8-K within four business days of its determination that the incident is material. Requesting a delay does not change the registrant’s filing obligation. The registrant may delay providing the Item 1.05 Form 8-K disclosure only if the Attorney General determines that disclosure would pose a substantial risk to national security or public safety and notifies the Commission of such determination in writing before the Form 8-K otherwise would be due. For further information on the Department of Justice’s procedures with respect to Item 1.05(c) of Form 8-K, please see Department of Justice Material Cybersecurity Incident Delay Determinations, Department of Justice (2023), at https://www.justice.gov/media/1328226/dl?inline.

Question 104B.02
Question: A registrant experiences a material cybersecurity incident, and requests that the Attorney General determine that disclosure of the incident on Form 8-K poses a substantial risk to national security or public safety. The Attorney General makes such determination and notifies the Commission that disclosure should be delayed for a time period as provided for in Form 8-K Item 1.05(c). The registrant subsequently requests that the Attorney General determine that disclosure should be delayed for an additional time period. The Attorney General declines to make such determination or does not respond before the expiration of the current delay period. What is the deadline for the registrant to file an Item 1.05 Form 8-K disclosing the incident?

Answer: The registrant must file the Item 1.05 Form 8-K within four business days of the expiration of the delay period provided by the Attorney General. For further information on the Department of Justice’s procedures with respect to Item 1.05(c) of Form 8-K, please see Department of Justice Material Cybersecurity Incident Delay Determinations, Department of Justice (2023), at https://www.justice.gov/media/1328226/dl?inline.

Question 104B.03
Question: A registrant experiences a material cybersecurity incident and disclosure of the incident on Form 8-K is delayed pursuant to Form 8-K Item 1.05(c) for a time period of up to 30 days, as specified by the Attorney General. Subsequently, during the pendency of the delay period, the Attorney General determines that disclosure of the incident no longer poses a substantial risk to national security or public safety. The Attorney General notifies the Commission and the registrant of this new determination. What is the deadline for the registrant to file an Item 1.05 Form 8-K disclosing the incident?

Answer: The registrant must file the Item 1.05 Form 8-K within four business days of the Attorney General’s notification to the Commission and the registrant that disclosure of the incident no longer poses a substantial risk to national security or public safety. See also “Changes in circumstances during a delay period” in Department of Justice Material Cybersecurity Incident Delay Determinations, Department of Justice (2023), at https://www.justice.gov/media/1328226/dl?inline.

Question 104B.04
Question: Would the sole fact that a registrant consults with the Department of Justice regarding the availability of a delay under Item 1.05(c) necessarily result in the determination that the incident is material and therefore subject to the requirements of Item 1.05(a)?

Answer: No. As the Commission stated in the adopting release, the determination of whether an incident is material is based on all relevant facts and circumstances surrounding the incident, including both quantitative and qualitative factors, and should focus on the traditional notion of materiality as articulated by the Supreme Court.

Furthermore, the requirements of Item 1.05 do not preclude a registrant from consulting with the Department of Justice, including the FBI, the Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency, or any other law enforcement or national security agency at any point regarding the incident, including before a materiality assessment is completed.

We continue to believe that the DOJ will grant a delay under only the most extraordinary circumstances, such that public companies should not expect delays to be granted with any frequency. Accordingly, public companies should consider incorporating the new Form 8-K requirement into their incident response plans to ensure timely compliance with the new rules. For more information, read our client alert on the SEC’s disclosure requirements.

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