How to Prevent Cybersecurity Risks at a Law Firm in 2019

How to Prevent Cybersecurity Risks at a Law Firm in 2019

In the last few years, cyber attacks on the law firms have increased by a huge margin and it will only get worse in the coming years. Although many of the law firms are investing in secured cyber options to protect sensitive data, such security measures are useless since cybercriminals are now indulging in sophisticated practices to steal data.

Moreover, the recent wave of cyber attacks has left many law firms wondering why they are being targeted. The truth, however, lies in the simple fact that cybercriminals have realized the potential of the data that law firms usually handle on a daily basis.

Cybercriminals and Law Firms

The leak of Panama Papers and the attack on the DLA Piper sent a clear message to the legal world that the law firms are at risk and cybercriminals will stop at nothing to obtain crucial data. Just a year ago, cybercriminals breached Cravath and Weil Gotshal and caused damage that amounted to $4 million.

This is not an isolated case. According to the CNA’s Professional Counsel Report, 80% of the larger firms suffered a malicious security breach. Additionally, the issues of cyber attacks in the law firm have become so prevalent that clients are now specifically requesting cybersecurity plans before providing crucial information to the law firms.

Despite the increased cyber attacks, the law firms stay behind on protecting themselves. The main issue is the lack of funding. To protect an industry from cyber attacks, one would need to invest in updated software programs and cybersecurity preventive measures; all of which can be greatly expensive. However, the continued pressure of the clients on the law firms to have better cybersecurity practices is changing all of that.

Biggest Cybersecurity Threats

Cybercriminals are always coming up with various sophisticated ways to target law firms. However, these are the biggest threats that can jeopardize the position of any established law firm.

  • Ransomware

Ransomware takes place when cybercriminals hack the system and then proceed to download crucial client information which is then leveraged by them in exchange for a certain amount. In other cases, hackers lock down important wings of any firm and demand money in order to get the control back.

  • A Leak of Sensitive Information

In March 2018, Duncan Lewis suffered a major cyber attack which saw the release of the crucial client as well as employees’ information on a social media platform. This was the biggest attack and the crime solicitor firm did not have any clue about being hacked until their information was leaked online. Additionally, the leak of sensitive information on online platforms poses a bigger threat since hackers are not interested in ransom. They just want to leak information to harm a firm’s credibility.

  • Risk of Malpractice due to Data Leak

The leak of sensitive client information risks a class-action lawsuit against the targeted firms. Being a legal firm, it is their responsibility to protect the information entrusted by the clients. However, if they fail to protect the crucial data, such legal firms are at the risk of being dragged to court by their clients. A similar incident happened with Johnson & Bell where the firm was taken to court by their former clients for failing to provide protection against cyber attacks.

Preventing Cybersecurity Risks

Cyber attacks should never be taken lightly. To thwart a cyber attack, the law firms must practice the below-mentioned strategies in order to prevent cybersecurity risk in the best manner.

  1. General Assessment

Every law firm must know where they stand when it comes to hardware or software updates. Since outdated software programs are an easy target, it is mandatory to routinely check your systems to ensure that everything is recently updated. Additionally, your general assessment should also include computer hardware, printer’s software, and servers.

  1. Deep Cybersecurity Evaluation

Since the crucial data is available to a plethora of firm’s employees, it is necessary to evaluate your cybersecurity practices. This includes password encryption, a two-factor employee authentication process, installation of the latest anti-virus software, and the storage of passwords in a secure file.

  1. Integration of Security Programs and Tools

The market is filled with state-of-the-art tools that can strengthen any firm’s security. However, it solely depends on the legal firms how they incorporate such tools into their system. With that being said, law industries need to invest in anti-spyware, firewalls, and anti-viruses for employees’ devices.

  1. Improvement in General Security Standards

In order to prevent major cyber attacks, law firms need to consider the international security standards and build their policies around the stated guidelines to ensure a safer environment. Many of such security standards include ISO, NIST, and CIS.

  1. Observing Employees

It has been reported that major cyber attacks on any company have been facilitated by its own employees. Regardless of the intention of the employees, it is better to monitor their online as well as offline activities. It may seem a little invasive; however, the well-being of the law firms depends on such strict measures.

  1. Special Staff Training

Hackers often attack firms through emails, mobile apps, and other corrupted links. More often than not, law firm employees facilitate the cyber attacks by unintentionally opening corrupted links. This provides a window to the cybercriminals to gain access to crucial data. Keeping this in mind, legal industries should draft manuals and conduct training sessions that could help employees in identifying and reporting compromised material to the right individuals.

  1. Investments in Cyber Insurance

A cyber insurance plan could help lessen the damage in case of an ongoing cyber assault. With a solid cyber insurance plan, the law firms can save up on consultations costs. It can further assist in replacing damaged equipment and lessening other expenses.

  1. Encryption Services

The case files and client information should be protected while in storage. However, the protection should also be extended to the sharing process. Millions of sensitive files are shared through emails and other sharing platforms. This is why it is necessary to invest in encryption software that allows the files to be shared in an encrypted mode.

Conclusion

The times are changing for firms in this digital age. Cybercriminals are constantly evolving their hacking methods to counteract the latest security measures. You can invest in the greatest cybersecurity; you can even hire PHP programmers to build a safer platform. However, nothing can beat what adopting a proactive approach can do for your law firm. Considering this, it is necessary to have a security plan in place that can help you deal with cyber attacks and also with the events that come directly after a successful cyber attack.

Qurat-ul-Ain Ghazali

Digital Marketing & Scrum Trainer

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