Why Law Firms Need to Make Cybersecurity a Priority
The sensitive and confidential information that law firms keep is often very attractive to cybercriminals. Cybersecurity threats are a very large concern for law firm employees. In fact, the American Bar Association surveyed its members and twenty six percent of their firms had experienced a security breach in the past. Cyber attacks in the legal sector also experienced a sixty percent rise in the past two years. These attacks have a high potential to be disastrous and this is why law firms need to make cybersecurity a priority. If you are considering whether your firm needs a cybersecurity upgrade, read on to learn what cybersecurity threats law firms face and how they can be mitigated in the coming future.
Law firms and threats from ransomware
Ransomware attacks are one of the most devastating cyber attacks that a law firm can face. Ransomware locks down access to systems and data and will not release the information until the ransom is paid. With the incredibly sensitive information law firms possess, a ransomware attack can not only be financially devastating, but it can also badly damage the firm’s reputation. When clients do business with a law firm, they expect their data to be protected and when they find out it has been compromised, it can be a very stressful situation for them.
Phishing attacks on law firms
This is one of the most common types of attacks a law firm can face. Though phishing attacks are common, they can be one of the most effective ways a hacker can steal sensitive data. Phishing is especially common at law firms because of the high amount of data that is exchanged by email. These attacks involve a hacker sending a fraudulent message to a victim in the hopes they send back confidential information or click a malicious link.
Phishing emails are incredibly effective because they become more elaborate as time goes by. Cyber security awareness training should be mandatory for all law firm employees. Cyber security awareness training will help staff to spot these phishing emails, so they are less likely to cause a problem.
Data breaches within law firms
Data breaches are intentional or unintentional exposure of sensitive data or confidential information to unauthorized parties. Law firms that do not practice good cybersecurity hygiene often fall victim to data breaches. Like other cyber attacks, data breaches can singlehandedly ruin a firm’s reputation.
One of the worst cases of law firm data breaches was when a Panama based law firm lost 2.6 terabytes of data. It was the largest case of data theft at a law firm ever recorded. The cause of the breach was believed to be related to the fact the firm had not updated their client portal in three years. Unfortunately, the damage to the firm’s reputation was so bad they never recovered.
Malware attacks on law firms
Malware is short for malicious software that is designed to gain access that causes damage to data and systems. Ransomware is considered a form of malware but there are other types such as Trojans, spyware, adware, and rootkits. If a law firm takes payments online, malware can potentially be used by hackers to steal payment information and banking login credentials.
Many cases of malware infection come from employee error and unsecure hardware. Preventing these infections is dependent on the law firm having updated and secure hardware with antivirus and informed employees who are aware of how malware can infect a system by email.
Law firm data backup
Even with the best training and the best cybersecurity hygiene in place, incidences still happen. This is why data backup for law firms is essential. Even if there is a ransomware attack where data is blocked, there will be a backup of vital data that is stored on an external hard drive or secure location that is separate from the firm’s network.
Having a data backup will also minimize the downtime a law firm may experience from a cyber-attack. Tekscape offers our TekCloud service as a way for law firms to have regular data backups. These backups will also restore data from other occurrences such as natural disasters and power outages.
Regular security updates and patching
Hackers are very good at finding ways around cybersecurity defenses. If your law firm has software and operating systems that have not received regular updates, this gives hackers points to exploit the system’s vulnerabilities. The hacker can also use these exploits to gain access to the system and data within it. Software updates are usually performed to fix a bug, but they can also update your cybersecurity. Patches, on the other hand, are intended to fix security vulnerabilities. The patches should be applied as soon as they become available. When a law firm enlists the services of a managed service provider, these software updates and patches are applied as needed which keeps the firm’s network as secure as possible.
Invest in cybersecurity expertise for your law firm
Lawyers are good at being lawyers and not cybersecurity experts but this is only one of the reasons why law firms need to make cybersecurity a priority. Consider outsourcing your law firm’s cybersecurity protocols and procedures to a managed service provider. Working with a managed service provider like Tekscape can allow you to focus on running your firm and not worry about cybersecurity. We take care of security monitoring, mitigation, response, training, and patching. Contact us today to learn about our managed cybersecurity for law firms.