Attorneys are particularly vulnerable to cyber threats as digital attackers are aware of the fact that most law firms have outdated antivirus protections.  Furthermore, law firms have highly sensitive information worth a pretty penny on the black market.  Let’s take a look at some of the top cyber security threats law firms face as we transition into the new year.

 

 

The Nightmare Known as Ransomware

 

“Ransomware” is a word you never want to hear uttered in your office.  If hackers attack your firm with ransomware, there is a good chance you will have to give in and pay the ransom, possibly in the form of bitcoin.  Hackers use ransomware to seize control of computers and networks.  The systems are freed once the ransom is paid in full.  This is one of the most devastating digital attacks as most victims have little choice but to pay the ransom and move on or lose their data for good.

 

 

Phishing and Email Hacks

 

Most attorneys use email and tools such as Dropbox to connect to email for login reasons.  Cyber thieves are becoming increasingly bold in attempts to use phishing to hack emails.  Your entire legal team should be educated about phishing, ransomware and other digital threats.  If an employee can identify a phishing attempt early on, he or she can flag it and notify the rest of the law firm staff of the looming threat.  This early identification has the potential to save thousands of dollars and dozens of hours of labor that would be required to clean up a mess following an employee falling prey to a phishing scam.

 

 

Do not Discount the Potential for Sensitive Data to be leaked

 

Law firms that lack robust data security policies are that much more vulnerable to hacks that publicize confidential information.  AI software will likely soon be used to identify shady network characteristics that indicate a hack is underway.  In fact, tech geeks like Bill Gates tout the merits of AI to the point that they think it can help law firms challenged with reducing cyber security risks.  AI could be used to highlight user behaviors that heighten the odds of a hack.  AI might also be used to pinpoint network vulnerabilities and fortify them to prevent extended disturbances.

 

 

Weak Cyber Security Bumps up the Chances of Legal Malpractice

 

Every law firm is trusted to keep client files completely secure.  Regardless of whether these files are stored in a digital manner in the cloud and/or on-site in tangible filing cabinets, the data must be kept secure at all times.  If clients are unhappy with the manner in which their data is stored and protected, they can file a legal malpractice suit even if there is not a breach.  The moral of the story is it is better to err on the side of overprotecting client data than subjecting it to even the smallest risk.

 

 

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