The thought of having your personal information stolen by identity thieves is enough to keep you up late at night. Yet there is only so much an individual can do to protect his identity. The truth is that everyone is somewhat vulnerable to identity theft as we place our trust in a number of different organizations to safeguard social security numbers, birth dates, bank account information and other sensitive data. However, private citizens aren’t the only ones who need to be cognizant of the threat posed by cyber thieves.
Law offices are commonly targeted by digital attackers as they serve an abundance of clients. This is precisely why law firms represent such a juicy target for hackers.
Law Firms Beware: You Could Be Next in Line for a Cyber Attack
Anyone who is a partner at a law firm or works for a law firm IT department should be aware that hackers have been ramping up their efforts to access client information. These digital attacks against law firms are not strictly limited to high profile organizations in the United States. Hackers are actually targeting legal service providers across the globe.
Hackers’ Motivations for Infiltrating Law Firm Networks
The typical law firm does not invest in extensive digital security safeguards. Plenty of law firms are run by elderly partners who have a limited knowledge of the importance of cyber security. The lack of resources dedicated to the protection of client data makes law firms one of the easiest “soft targets” in existence. Cyber thieves are on the prowl for clients’ personal information, as well as other important data that can be sold on the black market. Examples of such data include trade secrets, highly sensitive corporate documents and even correspondence that would prove to be quite damaging if made public.
Law Firms Should Know Their Enemies
Most people envision cyber criminals to be lone wolves with neck beards, thick-rimmed spectacles and anti-social personalities. This stereotype might be true of certain hackers yet the hackers targeting law firms tend to be highly organized crime syndicates. One of the World Wide Web’s most popular legal websites, “Above the Law”, reports that 13 of the 15 most prestigious law firms in the United States have been attacked by the Russian cyber criminal ring known as “Oleras”. A number of similar crime cartels operate throughout China and Eastern Europe.
How the Threats Are Initiated
Cyber criminals attack law firms in a variety of ways. Some resort to ransomware that bars law firm personnel from accessing their computers until a ransom is paid in the form of bitcoin currency. Those who refuse to pay the ransom will find that much of the data stored on their network is erased by these malicious hackers. Cyber crime cartels also use phony email messages including spear phishing tactics where malware is attached to email correspondence. Once opened, the malware is released across the law firm’s network, wreaking all sorts of mayhem.
How You Can Fight Back
The first step in preventing unauthorized access to your firm’s private data is to admit that there is a legitimate threat. It is quite concerning that a large percentage of law firms rely on outdated digital security measures to protect client data and other sensitive information stored on in-house networks. The result of a cyber attack could be a significant loss of clients and even lawsuits for negligence. Law firm partners and administrators should train their employees to identify the telltale signs of cyber security threats. Yet employee training will only go so far in your quest to protect your firm. Ally with a team of savvy cyber security experts and you won’t have to worry about your organization’s vulnerability. Cyber security professionals will exhaust every possible measure to protect your data against the malicious digital attacks that have ravaged the networks of law firms around the world.