Cybersecurity Law Firms

Cybersecurity is one of the top concerns of law firms with each passing year. With the sensitive client information, they possess and the international reach they have, they are a common target of cybercriminals.

In fact, in a legal technology survey done by the American Bar Association, it appeared that 22% of law firms got hacked or experienced data breaches in 2017. In addition, law firms are also vulnerable to state-sponsored attacks from countries like Russia, Iran, and China.

To help cybersecurity law firms become more aware of these threats, the American Bar Association’s Standing Committee on Ethics and Professional Responsibility issued Formal Opinion 483. This opinion succeeded 2017’s Formal Opinion 477R, that defined ethical obligations of lawyers to secure client confidential client data when communicating over the Internet.

Cybersecurity Law Firms

Common Cybersecurity Law Firms Threats

To ensure the security of clients’ data, cybersecurity law firms must be knowledgeable about the biggest threats they are facing. Proper management must be done as these risks can cause significant impacts to business operations. Here are some of the common cybersecurity threats to law firms.

1. Phishing

Phishing is a type of cyber-attack wherein deceptive emails and websites are used as a weapon. It aims to trick the email recipient that the message is something they want or need, instructing them to click a link or download an attachment.

Law firms are a lucrative target for phishing attacks because they keep many confidential secrets and deal with large financial transactions. In addition to this, they use email accounts and other online tools like Dropbox or DocuSign on a daily basis.

If your law firm is victimized by phishing, one of the first things to do is to change the passwords associated with email addresses and online tools that connect to email accounts. You may also apply two-factor authentication to your email accounts to keep it protected. If the clients’ information was compromised, make sure to inform them immediately.

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2. Ransomware

Ransomware is a kind of malware in which hackers lock down files, typically by encryption, and payment is demanded before the data is decrypted and given back to the victim.

One of the publicized ransomware attacks happened to the multinational law firm, DLA Piper Law in June 2017. The said firm had to shut down its digital operations around the world while handling the hack. Fortunately, the organization has worked with law enforcement agencies to control the spread of the problem.

If an organization receives ransomware threats, they should avoid paying the ransom and speak to file recovery experts first.

3. Leaks of Sensitive Data

If your law firm fails to deploy strong information security measures, you could be at risk for hacks that will make confidential information public.

In 2015, Panama-based law firm and corporate services provider Mossack Fonseca became a subject of international scrutiny after more than 11.5 million firm documents were leaked to the public by an anonymous source. This “Panama Papers” incident revealed detailed financial data and other attorney-client privileged information, which include Mossack Fonseca’s creation of shell companies used for illegal purposes.

To prevent data leakage, you have to hire data security experts that can closely monitor traffic on all networks. By identifying an anomalous behavior before a breach even occurs, you can provide broader protection by blocking suspicious users or activities.

4. The Risk of Being Sued Due to Poor Cybersecurity

Law firms are required to keep files secure, regardless of their storage location (on-site or in the cloud). However, if your clients are not satisfied with the cybersecurity measures you have, they may file a lawsuit against you.

One example of this incident is the class-action lawsuit filed by current and former clients of Johnson & Bell, a firm that handles cases in Illinois and Indiana. Although the firm didn’t experience a data breach, one of its clients, Coinabul, LLC, alleged that Johnson & Bell had numerous vulnerabilities in its online framework and therefore needed to improve its cybersecurity.

Data breach percentage is growing in comparison to previous years. This indicates that regardless of whether a law firm believes it, the organization could have a high risk of a hack that could threaten their files, data, and reputations.

Ultimate Technical Solutions, Inc.

UTSI provides a multi-layered computer and network security approach to protect your confidential data. Whether a cyber threat comes from phishing emails or a malicious link on a landing page, our team can implement solutions that will genuinely protect your network from cyber criminals intending to compromise your crucial data. Call us at (504) 539-4160 for more information.