Archives for July 2015

Exploring the Cybersphere

cyber Tuesday option 3This week in our blog, we offer a snapshot of cybersecurity, privacy and data security news of interest to the executive suite.  Periodically, we’ll recap insights from the growing cadre of voices in this space as well as lend our own views on the issues that impact executive governance of cyber risk and response.

Many takeaways this month from articles that further our understanding of cybersecurity concerns and issues starting with:

A peak into the future of the Internet of Things … Now anyone can drive Ms. Daisy

Hackers Remotely Kill a Jeep on the Highway- With Me in It
I was driving 70 mph on the edge of downtown St. Louis when the exploit began to take hold.
Though I hadn’t touched the dashboard, the vents in the Jeep Cherokee started blasting cold air at the maximum setting, chilling the sweat on my back through the in-seat climate control system. Next the radio switched to the local hip hop station and began blaring Skee-lo at full volume …

 … a development which led to this …

Chrysler Recalls 1.4 M Cars over Hacking Fears
The Hill
Chrysler said Friday it was recalling roughly 1.4 million vehicles after security researchers exposed a flaw that allowed hackers to kill transmissions remotely. The recall affects several models of Dodge, Jeep and Chrysler cars …

Corporate Board Members do not lack for advice

Cybersecurity: Boards Must Ask Sharper, Smarter Questions
The Wall Street Journal
Boards are trying to build more productive, transparent relationships with cybersecurity chiefs to decrease the risk of attack. But directors can by stymied by a lack of basic security knowledge. New guidance from the National Association of Corporate Directors suggests asking more searching questions of chief information security officers, including how they measure their teams and technology and whether they have ongoing contacts with the Federal Bureau of Investigation and other law enforcement bodies that investigate attacks …

An exploitable weakness in network security: corporate boards
In the ongoing battle against hackers, it’s time for company directors to finally prioritize cybersecurity. Business is losing the war against hackers right now. But corporate boards shouldn’t just blame their tech teams. Rather, they should be looking in the mirror …

The role of the Board in cybersecurity: ‘Learn, ensure, inspect’
Dark Reading
It wasn’t long ago that cybersecurity was considered the exclusive domain of IT departments, a matter of purchasing and deploying the right technology to defend against intrusions into the network. In case you haven’t heard, those days are over. In the wake of devastating and embarrassing incidents at Target, JPMorgan Chase, Home Depot and dozens of other established and widely respected brands, executive management and boards of directors are now acutely aware that the responsibility for safety, security and integrity of their networks and data sits squarely on their shoulders …

Why Cybersecurity Leadership Must Start at the Top 
If the past year has shown us anything, it’s that companies should no longer ask if they are going to be hacked and instead when. With every company becoming digital, the pace of change is only accelerating and our ability to make the right decisions on cybersecurity needs to move even faster. Some estimate that between $9 and $21 trillion of global economic value creation could be at risk if companies and governments are unable to successfully combat cyber threats …

The good guys strike back

Feds Take Down Elite Hacking Forum 
The Hill
The Justice Department said Wednesday it had taken down a hacking forum known as Darkode. The government has filed criminal charges against 12 people allegedly affiliated with the forum, a dark Web repository for hacking tools of all kinds …

And it leaves a queasy feeling

Cybersecurity intern accused in huge hacking bust 
On Wednesday the U.S. Justice Department announced a massive international bust of Darkode, an online black market for hackers. Among those charged with crimes was Morgan Culbertson, a 20-year-old from Pittsburgh. He’s accused of creating a nasty malware that infects Android phones, steals data and controls the device …

This month’s Willie Sutton reminder … cyber criminals go where the money is

What Morpho Means: Why Hackers Target Intellectual Property and Business-Confidential Information
Dark Reading
Corporate cyberespionage made the front page last week with the news of Morpho, also known as Wild Neutron. Regardless of what you call it, this revelation was the latest reminder of the growing prominence of corporate espionage on the cyber landscape. The group targets major IT, pharmaceutical, legal, and commodity companies spanning the globe, with concentrated efforts in the United States, Europe, and Canada. It is highly organized and homes in on victims to gather confidential information for future monetization …

Seems like only yesterday we learned OPM suffered a massive breach

Hacking of government computers exposed 21.5 million people
The New York Times
The Obama administration on Thursday revealed that 21.5 million people were swept up in a colossal breach of government computer systems that was far more damaging than initially thought, resulting in the theft of a vast trove of personal information, including Social Security numbers and some fingerprints …

 And the backlash grew exponentially

OPM Director Katherine Archuleta resigns under pressure
The Washington Post
Office of Personnel Management Director Katherine Archuleta resigned under pressure on Friday, a day after Obama administration officials announced that two major breaches last year of U.S. government databases holding personnel records and security-clearance files exposed sensitive information about at least 22.1 million people …

Finally, umm, good for Home Depot, but????

Home Depot Has Better Cyber Security than 25 US Defense Contractors
Defense One
After revelations that a compromised contractor login abetted a grandiose breach of federal employees’ background investigations, now comes word that Defense Department suppliers score below hacked retailers when it comes to cyber defense …


By Tom Davis, SDI Cyber Risk Practice

 SDI #CyberTuesday offers insights and commentary on cyber risk management by SDI’s trusted cybersecurity, privacy and data security experts, skilled practitioners whose decades of experience working for governments and corporations around the world distinguish them as strategists and crisis managers.

 You can view previous blog posts on cyber risk management here.

July 28, 2015


10 Secrets to a Successful Internship

Internships — your first taste of the so-called “real world” blogthat exists beyond the confines of your college campus. Internships offer you the opportunity to gain valuable experience in your field of study, and to test drive a profession to better understand if it’s something you’d like to pursue in the future. If you’re astute, you can absorb a bounty of knowledge and make connections that can ultimately lead to a post-graduate job! Throughout the past three months of my internship at SDI, I’ve learned that the value of your experience is commensurate with how much you invest in your success. To help you get the most out of your internship, here are some of my top tips:

  1. Set yourself apart. Demonstrating your individuality can begin before you’re offered a position and may even encourage an offer. A thank-you email after your interview is expected, so do the unexpected — send a handwritten note. Handwriting a thank-you note is not only an unusual courtesy in this digital age, it shows you understand the value of a personal touch. In my field, public relations, that’s a highly valued trait.
  1. Make an effort to meet everyone in your office and to learn about their life experiences. In my opinion, the importance of building meaningful relationships with the people you work with can’t be overstated. Making strong connections with your staff members doesn’t only make your experience in the office more enjoyable but can also help you in the future, especially when you need references and for networking. A great way to get to know people you’re working with is to take note of what professional books they’re reading and add them to your reading list. You’ll expand your knowledge about your profession and may gain insights into their perspectives.
  1. Use your time in the office wisely. Internships offer you a once in a lifetime learning opportunity; take in as much as you can. Take advantage of the extra opportunities to work beside those above you, because it’s in those moments you learn the most. Experience is the best teacher, so be sure to jump at any opportunities that come your way, such as volunteering to stay late to help someone in your office with a deadline.
  1. Learn from your mistakes. Yes, you will occasionally make mistakes along the way and that’s ok as long as you learn from them and move forward. The mistakes we make often serve as some of our most valuable life lessons.
  1. Dress conservatively and professionally. Although my mother always told me, “It’s what’s on the inside that counts,” the way you dress often sets the tone for how people think of you as a professional, therefore it’s important to err on the side of conservative dress, unless your company culture suggests otherwise. Tight pants, low cut tops, short dresses, skirts, t-shirts, jeans, funky hair colors and extra piercings may be your preferred after-work style, but generally they are not the best way to make a good impression in an office.
  1. Be enthusiastic about the opportunity. During your internship it’s important to understand that you will most likely have to do mundane tasks. Whether it’s emptying the dishwasher or stuffing folders, maintain a positive attitude, get the job done the right way, and understand that those working above you have to trust you with the little things before they can rely on you for major projects.
  1. Take notes. When you are given a particular task or assignment, be sure to take notes so you remember exactly what the expectations are. Prior to starting your task, make sure you understand what to do, how to do it and the end goal. If you’re ever confused about something don’t be afraid to ask questions. It’s better to take the time to ask questions and clarify things than to have to redo the entire project later.
  1. Treat every single person in your office with an equal level of respect. Whether it’s your boss or the janitor who cleans your office space, treat everyone around you with the upmost respect. Good manners, and bad ones, rarely go unnoticed.
  1. Be social … but be careful. We’ve all heard this time and again, but it’s crucial to be careful about what you post on social media – whether your account is private or not. Social media lives forever. You never know where your life is going to take you and you never know who will be looking into your past. Be smart and thoughtful about the things you post online. Use social media as a mechanism that can only help to enhance your professional reputation, not destroy it.
  1. When the time is right, speak up. It’s important to know when to speak up and offer your thoughts and ideas, and when it’s best to listen to and learn from what others have to say. One of the best pieces of advice that Susan Davis has given to me this summer is that if you listen 90% of the time, and talk 10% of the time, you can never go wrong.

These are just a few tips to help you put your best foot forward in your internship. Treat your internship like an investment, the more you put in, the more you’ll get out of it.

By Austin Courtney, SDI 

July 23, 2015

No Brag. Just Cyber Fact.

cyber Tuesday option 3So here’s an academic question. Would it bother you if your secret sexual fantasies were revealed to the world?  Would it be troubling if you were married and it appeared that those fantasies did not include your spouse?  How about if you were engaging in acting out your fantasies, and the information made public included your name, address, and matching credit card transactions?  Behold the plight of the customers of Ashley Madison, an online dating site catering to married individuals seeking to have an affair. Data stolen from the site is now appearing online, likely causing sleepless nights for many of the 37 million customers Ashley Madison claims to serve.

The titillating details of the Ashley Madison breach aside, there is a lesson in cybersecurity to be learned from this incident.  In reporting on the breach, CNN Money notes the site “has in the past bragged about its data security.”  Bragging about data security in any way, shape or form is a seriously bad idea. Among the universe of cyber threat actors there are those who seem to take particular delight in responding to a challenge. So if a company appears to suggest that it is virtually impregnable, it immediately marks itself as a more valuable target.

From a communications perspective, proactively discussing cybersecurity provides a bit of a quandary. It is necessary and useful to provide stakeholders with assurance that the company understands the risk posed by cyber threats, and is working assiduously to protect the critical information it holds.  However, that message must be delivered in a manner which at some level acknowledges that no company can offer assurance that it is impervious to being breached.  We do not lack for examples of major companies that have been compromised through data breaches.  People may understand that breaches will occur, but they do want assurance that companies in which they invest, or with which they do business, take seriously their responsibility to reduce their vulnerability to cyber attack.

In the cyber communications guide to the universe, you’ll find this approach filed under advice that was uttered by Walter Brennan when discussing how fast he was with a gun … “No brag. Just fact.”


By Tom Davis, SDI Cyber Risk Practice

SDI #CyberTuesday offers insights and commentary on cyber risk management by SDI’s trusted cybersecurity, privacy and data security experts, skilled practitioners whose decades of experience working for governments and corporations around the world distinguish them as strategists and crisis managers.

You can view previous blog posts on cyber risk management here.

July 21, 2015


The Internet, Hostile Territory For Your Brand’s Reputation

Concerned about how your brand might be viewed in the cybersphere? This thoughtful blog post from one of our IPREX partners, Beuerman Miller Fitzgerald, expands upon our #CyberTuesday musings from March.

Image via ModGirl Marketing

Image via ModGirl Marketing

If you’re looking for quality insights from an agency that’s been named one of the “Top 5Public Affairs Agencies” in the U.S. then SusanDavis International’s (SDI) #Cyber Tuesday blog is for you. Trust us when we say that SDI is one of the leading sources for industry experts when it comes to public affairs, especially analysis on global cyber security threats.

The Washington, D.C.-based agency simply knows their stuff. We say that with confidence because we’ve had the pleasure of interacting with SDI over the years via our partnership through IPREX, a global network of 70 plus partner agencies, 1500 staff and over 100 offices worldwide.

Written by Tom Davis, SDI’s recent post addresses a topic of growing importance, CEO Realities: State Sponsored Cyber Crime. You may ask how cybercrime relates to you and your brand. Keep reading and we’ll shed some light into what could be a rude wake-up call for your company.

In Davis’ blog post he explores a recent state sponsored cyber-attack on WellPoint, the second largest health insurer in the U.S. who was the victim of a massive data breach this past January. Admittedly, cyber security was not among one of the newly hired CEO’s chief concerns at the time of the attack, and rightly so. Obvious repercussions ensued and the attack on WellPoint was eventually linked to groups associated with the Chinese government.

Perhaps the most pressing concern to us when reading the blog was this quote taken from PwC’s 2014 U.S. State of Cybercrime survey:

“The cybersecurity programs of U.S. organizations do not rival the persistence, tactical skills, and technological prowess of their potential cyber adversaries.”

This begs the question, is your brand equipped to handle your cyber adversaries?

If your brand has not yet been a victimized by cyber bullying then you are fortunate. We’re not necessarily talking about international cybercriminals and massive data breaches. It could be your competitors trolling the internet to say negative things about your brand or media correctly or incorrectly reporting a story that can greatly impact your company’s reputation.

On one hand, digital technology offers real opportunity on many personal and professional levels. For companies, it means efficiency and accessibility. Mobile, social, big data, the cloud, are all trends that are impacting how businesses engage with their customers, partners, and employees in order to better compete. Those trends are not going away anytime soon and companies will continue to put and store information online.

We must also acknowledge that these opportunities present challenges, and there is no denying that cybercrime is a real and ever-growing threat. The vast nature of the World Wide Web coupled with the push for businesses to go digital creates dangers that are omnipresent.

Alan W. Silberberg recently wrote an article for the Huffington Post on the Triangulation of Cyber Security, Social Media + You. Silberberg has a 20 year background in national politics and technology and uses this graphic to best describe the correlation between cyber security, reputation management and social media.


In his article Silberberg concludes:

“Face it. The Internet is a hostile place for your reputation and your brand; whether that is personal, corporate or government. The control and management of your cyber security, reputation management; and social media appearance start and end with you.”

His quote is not intended to be viewed as a scare tactic to deter you or your brand from taking advantage of the many blessings that come with establishing an online presence. It is, however, increasingly important to be aware of the risks and know how your brand is being perceived in order to appropriately manage your online reputation.

As communications professionals and experts in crisis communications and reputation management, it’s important not to take the dangers of cyber sphere for granted. Being susceptible is one thing but being proactive and prepared for the unexpected is critical. Our recommendation is to identify potential areas of weakness and develop a response plan for you and your company in order to avoid Greg Beuerman’s 4 Phases Of Crisis Anxiety.

Have you done an audit of your online reputation? Complacency can be your own worst enemy.

Troubles Shared

The horrific mass shooting inside the Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina last month tipped the balance in a ‘‘decade’s old tug of war” over the meaning of the Confederate flag. Governor Nikki Haley stated that, “For many people in our state the flag stands for traditions that are noble, traditions of history, of heritage, and of ancestry,’’ while for many others the flag is a “deeply offensive symbol of a brutally oppressive past.’’ This intensifying national debate has led to Confederate flags and symbols being taken down across the United States, and has led major outlets including EBay, Amazon and Wal-Mart to discontinue the sale of Confederate flag merchandise.


The shooting occurred just a fortnight after I arrived in the United States from Northern Ireland. Having often read about issues of race in the US I wasn’t all that taken aback by the news that racial hatred had permeated through the incident. The image portrayed of America to the rest of the world is, intentionally of course, one of strength, unity, and patriotism. So in that respect  what was more surprising was the realization that America is still experiencing the same struggles of national identity and coming to terms with the past that we struggle with every day in Northern Ireland.

As expressed by Governor Haley the Confederate flag has many different connotations. The problem then is reconciling these views in order to take a unified stance as a nation.

In this respect I feel that there is something instructive that we in Northern Ireland can learn from the US. When visiting the cemetery at Gettysburg, a place where some 50,000 lives were lost in just 3 days, I felt that it was clear that what was commemorated there was not triumph, but loss, on both sides.

It is tempting to ask how such pandemonium can be caused by a flag. People have used flags for over 4,000 years. Even before groups of people identified as nations, tribal groups and clans used flags to identify themselves as a unit. Symbols, such as flags, are meaningless in their own right; they do not have innate meanings. Human beings give them meaning.

Flags hold the power to polarize opinion. Anyone in doubt of this fact need only look to Northern Ireland.

National flags serve not only as a means of identification, but also as a symbol of a country’s history, ideals and its future. In light of Northern Ireland’s troubled past, it is thus unsurprising that, as a society, we have been unable to share in a unified acceptance of a national flag.

From the end of 2012 through 2013, protests took place across Northern Ireland in response to the decision to limit the number of days the Union flag flies over Belfast City Hall. This affray, which was comprised of some 55,000 incidents, saw a nation divided. It re-opened ‘Pandora’s Box’ in Northern Ireland, and the question of national identity raised its head once again.

For many members of the Unionist community in Northern Ireland, the removal of the flag from the state building was symbolic. In this respect some members of the Unionist community have expressed solidarity with the sentiment expressed by supporters of the Confederate flag; that their heritage and culture are under attack. For some, the Union flag flying 365 days a year was little more than common sense, Northern Ireland is part of the United Kingdom after-all, whilst for others it was not representative of their national identity. In my opinion the Union flag cannot adequately represent the national identity and shared future of the people of Northern Ireland.

Last weekend, the loyalist community of Northern Ireland commemorated the 12th of July, a celebration of Protestant King William’s victory over Catholic King James in the Battle of the Boyne, which often sees tensions between republican Catholics and loyalist Protestants increase and erupt in violence.

Some 24 police officers and one young girl were injured during loyalist riots, which erupted yesterday when a contentious Orange Order parade was halted after disturbances broke out. Once again, at the fore of the news was a flag controversy, prompted by an extremist minority of individuals flying Nazi and Confederate flags.

It is important to realize, however, that these incidents are crucial in prying open lines of communication and prompting important national conversations. What ultimately evokes such emotion and uproar is not the piece of cloth, but an issue of determination and a question of identity. These conversations are a battle of wills to determine which elements of our nations’ pasts have a place in our future.

In the context of Northern Ireland, it is of the utmost importance that we have these difficult conversations and work towards creating a shared identity for our nation. It is vital that we air out our troubles, old and new. This will be a long and arduous process but, ultimately, we must work towards creating a flag that both sides of the community can take ownership of. Until such a time, we will remain divided.


By India Fahy, SDI

July 15, 2015

London Calling. Wake Up!

Lloyd’s of London, in cooperation with the University of Cambridge Centre for Risk Studies, has just issued a report that looks at the financial and resulting insurance cyber Tuesday option 3consequences of a cyber attack on the United States power grid. Based on a plausible scenario that takes a page from the Stuxnet attack, which seriously damaged Iran’s nuclear program, the Lloyd’s report suggests a cyber attack that damages 50 generators, affecting up to 93 million people with a cost to the national economy of $273 billion. (The worst case, upper end estimate is $1 trillion).

Particularly useful in this exercise is the insight it offers into the challenges facing the insurance industry. The report notes “The greatest concern for insurers, however, is that the risk itself is not constrained by the conventional boundaries of geography, jurisdiction or physical laws. The scalability of cyber attacks — the potential for systemic events that could simultaneously impact large numbers of companies — is a major concern for participants in the cyber insurance market who are amassing large numbers of accounts in their cyber insurance portfolio.” This is a warning that there is an impending problem if insurers and insured are not clear about coverages and limitations.

The report refers to “silent” cyber exposure where claims may be made in coverage areas not immediately seen as cyber related, saying “Insurers may not realise the extent of their exposure to this emerging threat class, and may not have charged premium to cover this aspect of the risk. Insurers may be holding more cyber exposure in unexpected lines of business in their portfolio than they realise.”

In support of this premise Lloyd’s indicates there would be at least six categories of claimants under the attack on the power grid scenario — obviously power companies, who would suffer property losses, business interruption losses and incident response costs among others — as well as suppliers or vendors who might have some culpability for the equipment failure. Then there’s the victim class.

Companies that lost power represent another claimant category, as do companies outside the affected area who do business with those companies that lost power. Homeowners and their property insurance would come into play, as would specialty insurance for things like event cancellation. There would be multiple classes of liability claims, including, notably, Directors and Officers liability coverage. The reports says “There is a limited but growing body of case law to support the contention that companies owe a duty of care to their shareholders to maintain risk management procedures to deal with crises. Companies that are adversely affected by the blackout, particularly those that in some way perform worse than their competitors, lose market position and see stock price valuations marked down by analysts, are increasingly likely to see legal actions against the officers of the company by their shareholders.”  Interestingly, the Lloyd’s economic model forecasts that shareholders would recover around 75 percent of their claims.

We know that demand for cyber insurance is growing rapidly. Yet, there is understandable reticence among some insurance companies to offer products to meet that demand. While the scenario postulated by Lloyd’s supports the reticence, the report does offer some reassurance, saying “cyber attacks and IT events are not unlimited or infinitely scalable. They can have significant constraints that limit attack severity and curtail the amount of loss that insurers may face. A successful cyber attack has to overcome all the security systems put into place to protect against it, requires expertise and resources by the perpetrators who face their own risks of identification, prosecution and retribution, and the loss consequences of attacks are mitigated by risk management actions.” The last point is particularly worthwhile.

To their credit, Lloyd’s recognizes that the insurance industry is uniquely positioned to help companies better prepare for cyber risk. In discussing cyber risk the report notes that “insurance has the potential to greatly enhance cyber risk management and resilience for a wide range of organisations and individuals who are exposed to its impacts.” The key here is to share information on a voluntary basis so that insurers can better calibrate risks and help drive enhanced risk management processes. The Lloyd’s report makes a valuable contribution to understanding cyber risks and challenges facing companies and insurers, and is well worth reading.


By Tom Davis, SDI Cyber Risk Practice

SDI #CyberTuesday offers insights and commentary on cyber risk management by SDI’s trusted cybersecurity, privacy and data security experts, skilled practitioners whose decades of experience working for governments and corporations around the world distinguish them as strategists and crisis managers.

You can view previous blog posts on cyber risk management here.

July 14, 2015

Janet Freeman-Daily Named July LUNGevity Hero

Writer, Survivor, and Advocate Recognized for Empowering Lung Cancer Patients


WASHINGTON, July 2015 – Today LUNGevity Foundation named Janet Freeman-Daily, stage IV lung cancer survivor, e-patient, speaker, and award-winning lung cancer blogger, the July LUNGevity Hero.  Freeman-Daily is being recognized for her outstanding advocacy work and her role in creating and moderating Lung Cancer Social Media (#LCSM), a revolutionary online community that helps patients become proactive participants in their diagnoses. She became her own advocate and took an active role in addressing her disease by researching treatments and clinical trials. Now, she helps others become their own advocates by introducing them to survivors, connecting them with vital support groups, and informing them of life-saving clinical trials.

Freeman-Daily’s battle with lung cancer began in 2011 with a nagging cough that resisted several rounds of antibiotics. With neither family history of the disease nor smoking history, she was shocked by her diagnosis of advanced non-small cell lung cancer. After chemotherapy, radiation, and two separate recurrences of the cancer, her chances of survival looked bleak. She then turned to online lung cancer forums to learn more about her disease and the treatments available. There she learned of a new lung cancer mutation called ROS1, one that her doctors were not yet familiar with.  She was tested at the University of Colorado Cancer Center and, when proven ROS1-positive, she researched clinical trials and contacted trial sites until she found one accepting patients for the targeted therapy crizotinib. By January 2013, Freeman-Daily’s scans were clear. It was the first of many clean scans that inspired her to help others seek out the research and innovations that could change their lives, just as that access to information had changed hers.

With a deep understanding of how personal research can radically improve a patient’s outlook and prognosis, Freeman-Daily has become a technical translator, utilizing her training as an aerospace engineer to explain the experience and science of lung cancer treatment and research in easily-accessible language for patients.  She spends her days tracking research and treatments, supporting survivors in online forums, and raising awareness both through her blog, “Gray Connections,” which was named one of Healthline’s top 2014 lung cancer blogs, and through Lung Cancer Social Media (#LCSM), one of the most active healthcare social media platforms. As the co-founder and co-moderator of #LCSM, she leads patients, advocates, and healthcare professionals in discussions which develop public support, educate others about the disease, and seek to end the stigma of lung cancer. The combination of Freeman-Daily’s technical skills and her experience as a patient allows her to communicate with both researchers and patients and to serve as a catalyst for discussion between the two. After joining the second #LCSM chat, she was invited to join the founding team, where she continues to lead discussions every Thursday evening.  She further advocates for patients by working closely with lung cancer organizations, providing the survivor perspective on nonprofit boards and through speeches.

Janet Freeman-Daily speaking at Stanford Medicine X Conference

Janet Freeman-Daily speaking at Stanford Medicine X Conference

“LUNGevity Foundation is proud to name survivor and advocate Janet Freeman-Daily as the July LUNGevity Hero for her tenacious nature and her role inspiring, informing, and supporting the lung cancer community. By taking a proactive role in her lung cancer battle, relentlessly pursuing information about genomic testing and clinical trials, she was able to give herself the best chance at beating lung cancer,” said Andrea Ferris, president and chairman of LUNGevity Foundation. “Now she uses her digital platform to give others their best chance at fighting the disease by tracking new innovations, translating the science into accessible information for patients, and spotlighting the disease and its survivors. Her journey serves as a reminder that the critical resources that we make available to patients and survivors can change peoples’ lives.”

In response to the recognition of July LUNGevity Hero, Freeman-Daily shared, “I’m honored that my work has meaning to patients, patient advocates and caregivers, and to be a source of encouragement to others thinking about advocacy and telling their stories.”

For more on Janet Freeman-Daily, see the LUNGevity Heroes blog at

For more information on LUNGevity Foundation, please visit

About Lung Cancer

  • 1 in 15 Americans will be diagnosed with lung cancer in their lifetime
  • More than 221,000 people in the U.S. will be diagnosed with lung cancer this year
  • About 60%-65% of all new lung cancer diagnoses are among people who have never smoked or are former smokers
  • Lung cancer takes more lives than the next three cancers (colorectal, breast, and prostate) combined
  • Only 17% of all people diagnosed with lung cancer will survive 5 years or more, BUT if it’s caught before it spreads, the chance for 5-year survival improves dramatically

About LUNGevity Foundation

LUNGevity Foundation is firmly committed to making an immediate impact on increasing quality of life and survivorship of people with lung cancer by accelerating research into early detection and more effective treatments, as well as by providing community, support, and education for all those affected by the disease. Our vision is a world where no one dies of lung cancer. For more information about LUNGevity Foundation, please visit


(202) 414-0798


Merchants of Doom?

Over the weekend, Hacking Team, an Italian company that sells spyware to cyber Tuesday option 3what appears to be a collection of military, intelligence and law enforcement agencies around the world, was itself hacked. News of the breach lifts the cloak that thinly conceals the wild, wild west nature of Internet security. Hacking Team sells a product that reportedly can be remotely installed on a computer to intercept phone calls, texts and social media messages, and can also turn on a user’s webcam and collect passwords.

The company’s website says it “provide(s) effective, easy-to-use offensive technology to the worldwide law enforcement and intelligence communities.” However, critics of Hacking Team have long alleged that the company is selling its products to customers that have questionable commitments to democracy and histories of abusing human rights.

Whoever hacked Hacking Team released a huge file of internal documents. Those documents suggest that U.S.- based clients of Hacking Team include the DEA, the FBI and the Department of Defense.  From a business perspective that list probably is not overly alarming.  However, the larger list of clients reveals that Hacking Team also appears to have been doing business with customers in Russia, Egypt, Ethiopia, Thailand, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Nigeria, UAE and a host of other countries (see list). Companies doing business in or likely to be of interest to some of these countries should pay very close attention to this unfolding story.

The larger issue presented in the attack on Hacking Team lies in what it says about the international cyber arms trade. State sponsored cyber attacks are growing ever more sophisticated. Tools readily available from companies like Hacking Team can serve both legitimate and nefarious purposes. Assume both are in play and prepare accordingly.


By Tom Davis, SDI Cyber Risk Practice 

SDI #CyberTuesday offers insights and commentary on cyber risk management by SDI’s trusted cybersecurity, privacy and data security experts, skilled practitioners whose decades of experience working for governments and corporations around the world distinguish them as strategists and crisis managers. 

You can view previous blog posts on cyber risk management here.

July 7,2015

On Independence Day

By the rude bridge that arched the flood,
Their flag to April’s breeze unfurled,
Here once the embattled farmers stood,
And fired the shot heard round the world.

From Concord Hymn
Ralph Waldo Emerson

Now, as summer sits astride the nation, we turn to celebrate one of the most loved of national holidays, the 4th of July.  We’ll escape to the mountains, flood the beaches, grill all manner of meats, eat potato salad and corn on the cob, cool our tongues with ice cream and drink roughly a billion dollars worth of beer.  All of which is just as it should be.  But, one thing most of us are not likely to do, is use the term Independence Day.  For some, that may be a matter of choice, for others, it’s because we’re gradually losing the connection with our history celebrated on Independence Day.

It’s useful to occasionally read and reflect upon the radical truths captured in the preamble to the Declaration of Independence that was officially adopted by the Congress on July 4, 1776.  “We hold independence-day-4these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.”

The power of those beliefs first expressed by a brave group of individuals who had shown themselves willing to die for them, has lived on in every succeeding generation.  We have not always lived up to them, but we have always returned to them, and in so doing affirmed their enduring value. The greatness of this nation continues to rest in its people, and its investment in a set of principles long held by free people, but captured with incredible elegance over two centuries in our past.

Wishing everyone a wonderful Independence Day.


By Tom Davis, SDI

July 2, 2015

SDI is PR Daily’s Choice for Best Media Relations Campaign – Elizabeth Dole Foundation

PR Daily

“The findings of the RAND Corporation’s report on the caregivers for the nation’s ill and injured active and veteran military were worse than discouraging. The 5.5 million military caregivers endure terrible mental, physical, financial, and legal challenges, and the country just didn’t seem to care. Susan Davis International, a boutique PR agency, took on the assignment on sparking change on behalf of the Elizabeth Dole Foundation. It succeeded in its mission, and also won first place for Best Media Relations in PR Daily’s 2015 Nonprofit PR Awards.

Its goals were ambitious: In addition to spurring action, the agency sought to build public opinion in support of caregivers and forge alliances with service organizations, businesses, and nonprofits. A three-phased approach set the stage for achieving these objectives, starting with a national campaign to set the stage by (in part) rebranding the Dole Foundation as a leading voice in support of military and veteran caregiving.

The second phase witnessed the launch of the media strategy, with SDI coordinating with RAND on the release of the report, hosting a press conference and luncheon, placing an op-ed under Senator Dole’s byline (co-authored by the CEO of the Wounded Warrior Project), and promoting caregiver op-eds to appear around military-themed holidays (such as Memorial Day and Veterans Day).

The final phase of the plan tapped into the awareness raised in Phase Two. And it worked, most importantly with legislation introduced in both the House and Senate while prominent legislators formed a Congressional caregiver caucus. The White House, meanwhile, announced a new caregiver program coordinated by the Department of Defense.

The media coverage that sparked these outcomes included a feature on the ABC World News, along with stories in hundreds of publications and electronic outlets, creating impressions in the hundreds of millions. Other results are too long to list here, but those recounted are more than enough to earn our award for Best Media Relations. We offer our congratulations to the Elizabeth Dole Foundation and SDI.”

PR Daily