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October 2020

CALL TO ACTION: Can you be a part of the SOLUTION?

By Cyber Security No Comments


Today, a meeting of the United States Senate Committee is holding a hearing on “Big Tech Censorship”.  Over the last several months, this has become a very big issue.  With the internet being a primary source of information for many people, it is critical that people have accurate, complete, and accurate data.  WITHOUT getting into political aspects of this; as we all have our own opinions; I would like to see if we, as a community, can help to make suggestions and recommendations regarding this issue.  I believe that as Privacy and Security professionals, one of our roles is to ensure that data integrity and privacy is appropriate across the internet.


At the center of this discussion, is Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act.  As I am not an attorney, I will not attempt to interpret the law.  What I will do is provide some of the details and a link to a legal resource I use frequently, Cornell Law School.  It is my understanding that Section 230 is a reference to 47 U.S. Code § 230 – Protection for private blocking and screening of offensive material (


This law opens with the following.

(a) The Congress finds the following:

(1) The rapidly developing array of Internet and other interactive computer services available to individual Americans represent an extraordinary advance in the availability of educational and informational resources to our citizens.

(2) These services offer users a great degree of control over the information that they receive, as well as the potential for even greater control in the future as technology develops.

(3) The Internet and other interactive computer services offer a forum for a true diversity of political discourse, unique opportunities for cultural development, and myriad avenues for intellectual activity.

(4) The Internet and other interactive computer services have flourished, to the benefit of all Americans, with a minimum of government regulation.

(5) Increasingly Americans are relying on interactive media for a variety of political, educational, cultural, and entertainment services.”

(b) Policy

It is the policy of the United States—

(1) to promote the continued development of the Internet and other interactive computer services and other interactive media.

(2) to preserve the vibrant and competitive free market that presently exists for the Internet and other interactive computer services, unfettered by Federal or State regulation.

(3) to encourage the development of technologies which maximize user control over what information is received by individuals, families, and schools who use the Internet and other interactive computer services.

(4) to remove disincentives for the development and utilization of blocking and filtering technologies that empower parents to restrict their children’s access to objectionable or inappropriate online material; and

(5) to ensure vigorous enforcement of Federal criminal laws to deter and punish trafficking in obscenity, stalking, and harassment by means of computer.”


This law goes on to talk about.

(c)Protection for “Good Samaritan” blocking and screening of offensive material

(1) Treatment of publisher or speaker

No provider or user of an interactive computer service shall be treated as the publisher or speaker of any information provided by another information content provider.

(2) Civil liability

No provider or user of an interactive computer service shall be held liable on account of—

(A)any action voluntarily taken in good faith to restrict access to or availability of material that the provider or user considers to be obscene, lewd, lascivious, filthy, excessively violent, harassing, or otherwise objectionable, whether or not such material is constitutionally protected; or

(B)any action taken to enable or make available to information content providers or others the technical means to restrict access to material described in paragraph (1).[1]

(d)Obligations of interactive computer service

A provider of interactive computer service shall, at the time of entering an agreement with a customer for the provision of interactive computer service and in a manner deemed appropriate by the provider, notify such customer that parental control protections (such as computer hardware, software, or                  filtering services) are commercially available that may assist the customer in limiting access to material that is harmful to minors. Such notice shall identify, or provide the customer with access to information identifying, current providers of such protections.

(e)Effect on other laws

(1) No effect on criminal law

Nothing in this section shall be construed to impair the enforcement of section 223 or 231 of this title, chapter 71 (relating to obscenity) or 110 (relating to sexual exploitation of children) of title 18, or any other Federal criminal statute.

(2) No effect on intellectual property law

Nothing in this section shall be construed to limit or expand any law pertaining to intellectual property.

(3) State law

Nothing in this section shall be construed to prevent any State from enforcing any State law that is consistent with this section. No cause of action may be brought, and no liability may be imposed under any State or local law that is inconsistent with this section.

(4) No effect on communications privacy law

Nothing in this section shall be construed to limit the application of the Electronic Communications Privacy Act of 1986 or any of the amendments made by such Act, or any similar State law.

(5) No effect on sex trafficking law

Nothing in this section (other than subsection (c)(2)(A)) shall be construed to impair or limit—

(A)any claim in a civil action brought under section 1595 of title 18, if the conduct underlying the claim constitutes a violation of section 1591 of that title.

(B)any charge in a criminal prosecution brought under State law if the conduct underlying the charge would constitute a violation of section 1591 of title 18; or

(C)any charge in a criminal prosecution brought under State law if the conduct underlying the charge would constitute a violation of section 2421A of title 18, and promotion or facilitation of prostitution is illegal in the jurisdiction where the defendant’s promotion or facilitation of prostitution was                           targeted.”


The sections of the law are directly copied from the Cornell Law School site that I cited above.

In the spirit of being great cybersecurity professionals, I would like to ask each of us to weigh in on this concern and issue in a nonpolitical manner and a judge free mentality (without attacks and offensive responses).

In your response, I ask that we all answer the following questions.

  1. Is this a cybersecurity/privacy professional concern?
  2. Is this an issue that we face in the world today?
  3. Should private organizations have the responsibility or authority to control the messages that are being delivered to the world?
  4. How do we, as a community of security and privacy professionals, come together and help to ensure the integrity of free information, while ensuring that everyone is safe and free of offensive material?


I would also ask that you tag your US Senator and your US Congress member


Lets become part of the SOLUTION and show our value!


Are you a U.S. Government Contractor (or Planning to be) and Do You have Questions About the CMMC Certification Process?

By Cyber Security No Comments


Cyber Self-Defense has been receiving a large number of calls regarding the CMMC process for Government (especially DOD related contracts). Many of the questions involve the following:

  • Do I need to get certified?
    • Starting in 2021 the DOD will phase in RFI’s that require companies to achieve a level of CMMC certification.
  • How do I get certified?
    • Assessments will be performed by Licensed Certified Assessors who work for licenses CMMC Third Party Assessment Organizations (C3PAOs).  These C3PAOs will be listed on the CMMC AB website when available.
  • How hard is it to build a program?
    • The CMMC is based on NIST 800-171, and most of the practices have been available for years.  Depending on level it could be fairly simple (level 1) or more complicated (level 3+).  “Hard” is dependent on current state.
  • Who can get us certified?
    • A Licensed C3PAO will manage the entire process
  • What is the cost?
    • It’s dependent on size and complexity.  A level 1 for a small company is estimated at 1 day, but size, number of networks, level of complexity, whether a company handles CUI, etc. all require more time to assess.

If you are doing government contracting, you likely have a ton of questions and need them answered. The reality is that there are still many unknowns. Cyber Self-Defense has done a considerable amount of research and we are following the CMMC process VERY closely, as we hope to be one of the first companies to become certified in this process.  It is something we highly support and believe in.  We have believed in such a process since well before CMMC was officially established!

Here are our interpretations, based on our research, of some key aspects of the CMMC process.

  • Currently, there are NO COMPANIES OR AUDITORS who can certify you! We know that the CMMC board is working hard to get companies and auditors trained, but this is a time-consuming process and one that will not happen overnight.
    • We have received MANY claims from MANY companies saying that they can get you certified; this is FALSE! While we are working towards certification, we (nor anyone else!) can claim the ability to certify anyone.
    • There are Provisional Assessors; they have a defined scope and our understanding is that they will NOT be able to immediately conduct audits outside of their current scope. We have heard that this is still being negotiated, but currently, nobody and no person cam conduct these audits for anyone outside the current scope.
  • The DOD is planning to migrate to the new CMMC framework in order to assess and enhance the cybersecurity posture of the Defense Industrial Base (DIB). The CMMC is intended to serve as a verification mechanism to ensure appropriate levels of cybersecurity practices.
  • Initially, the CMMC pertains only to DoD contracts. We have heard rumors that many other government entities are looking to adopt this process.
  • We KNOW that the CMMC WILL be based on 48 CFR 52.204-21, NIST SP 800-171 (the framework says revision one, we believe it will be version 2), and the Draft of NIST SP 800-171B (the framework says NIST SP 800-171B, we believe it will be version NIST SP 800-172).
    • This means that you CAN and SHOULD begin building your program. We recommend that you begin now; when we build programs for companies, it takes time. Training must be done, policies written, risk assessment completed, identity and access reviews completed, etc. There is a great deal of work that goes into this and waiting until the last minute will not be to your advantage.
    • Another point we would like to make is that these requirements are based on good business practices; we recommend these preparations to ensure the success of your business. What is being asked (at least in the first three stages) is the minimum that ANY company should achieve. Many have talked about the high cost of CMMC.  It’s really the potential for costs related to basic cyber security that are at issue.

If you or your executives would like a one-on-one presentation of what we KNOW or can reasonably assume, we would be happy to discuss this with you. This would not be a sales presentation and would be free, simply a way to help you started in the right direction.  Please send an E-Mail to in**@cy**************.com