Law Firms are often the target of cybersecurity threats. The firms are targets because they store sensitive data and communicate confidential information. As per the 2020 ABA Legal Technology Survey, it was recorded that 22% of law firms were cyber attacked.
The percentage of cybersecurity threats to law firms are:
- Firms with 2-9 attorneys-17%
- 50-99 attorneys-5%
- 100-499 attorneys-10%
- 500+ attorneys-12%
There is the availability of upgraded network security software and internal safe-practice systems but still, many firms have either outdated or unmanaged cybersecurity systems. Thus, they are at a higher risk of cyberattacks.
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Below are some important Cybersecurity Threats to Law Firms:
1. Phishing Scams:
It is one of the most prominent cybersecurity threats to law firms. In this case, sensitive info is passed through digital sources. For Example, A scammer can easily spoof the client’s email or use false email, or any other way to impersonate the client’s login. The scammer can impersonate an e-sign or request to give the sensitive info or manipulate the receiver in some other way by impersonating to be a client.
The law firm can prevent themselves by using a secure password, that is not used on multiple platforms. They can use double authentication to prevent themselves from attack. In case of any suspect, report to the network security provider immediately to take action.
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2. Hacked Email Accounts:
Law firms are often targeted by this scam because of client-attorney relationships. The scammers use manipulative approaches via email to ask for transferring sensitive info and/or for payments.
The scammer hacks an email account and targets specific contacts. They use the info to request ‘retainers’ from clients and request confidential data. This not only is fraudulent but also runs the risk of invading the privacy of the clients. Moreover, it can be damaging to the reputation of the law firm as well.
Due to the advancement in technologies, these scams are becoming less in number. But still, these cybersecurity threats often target law firms due to the involvement of sensitive client data and transactions of hefty amounts.
Ransomware is installed on the devices by clicking on the malicious click or downloading the infected file. Thus, ransomware collects all the important data from the device and sometimes, even the bank details.
Installation of high-quality Anti-Virus software on the device is one of the best solutions to get rid of this ransomware.
4. Data Breach:
As we know, law firms store confidential data and info of the client so they are at a higher risk of attack. Data breaches mean the intentional or unintentional release of secure or private/confidential information to an untrusted environment; as per Wikipedia. Starting from Facebook to Google, almost all tech companies have faced data breaches in the past that have exposed millions of users’ data to unwanted parties.
The combination of instilling security policies and security tools can prevent data leaks. Apart from this combination, law firms must also include Network Security Components such as access control, antivirus and antimalware, IPS (Intrusion Prevention Systems), and two-step authentications.
5. DDoS Attack:
The Distributed Denial-of-Service Attack disrupts the normal traffic of a targeted system. The denial of service floods the targeted system with numerous requests which overload the system. Thus, it becomes impossible to stop the attack and makes it hard for genuine customers to enter, ultimately resulting in disrupting the trade.
The law firms are often targeted by this attack because they have numerous amounts of entry of clients. Having Firewall, DDS-based defense, Intrusion Prevention System, SIEM (Security Info and Event Management), etc. can prevent from getting attacked.
6. Friday Afternoon Fraud:
It is one of the most conveyancing scams. As the name says Afternoon Fraud, the scammers take advantage of the busy day, where more transactions take place before the weekend.
This scam looks quite genuine. The scammer sends the payment request via email from their normal supplier, for the services rendered. However, the person ends up transferring the amount as it looks genuine.
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Cybersecurity Threats to Law Firms is not a one-and-done process. The firms have to keep on updating and upgrading the preventive software to protect against the ongoing cybersecurity landscape. They have to do vigilant practices to detect and recover the damages, breaches as soon as possible. The firms have to follow cybersecurity preventive measures.
Lack of awareness also leads to a high risk of attack. Therefore, providing education regarding cybersecurity to the employees plays an important role in protecting the firm from cyber threats.
The Right Cybersecurity Vendor and continuous network audit can prevent the system from cyber threats. Therefore, it leads to prevention of the sensitive and confidential data.