The State Of Cybercrime In The Legal Field
You may not have experienced a data breach at your law firm in some time – or maybe never. Don’t let that give you a false sense of security. Do you know what the reality of cybercrime is for firms like yours in the legal field?
Do you think cybersecurity should be a priority for law firms?
Maybe you do – you’re an early adopter that’s highly engaged with the latest developments in cybercrime news, and the cybersecurity technologies needed to protect against it.
Or, maybe you don’t – you’re a staunch believer in the idea that basic password policies, and the assumption that you’re not high profile enough to be a target, will keep you safe.
Which is correct?
..the former. Sorry to break it to you, but no matter who you are, you have valuable data.
“Law firms are the subject of targeted attacks for one simple reason,” says John Sweeney, LogicForce President. “Their servers hold incredibly valuable information. That includes businesses’ IP, medical records, bank information, even government secrets. For hackers looking for information they can monetize, there is no better place to start.”
The legal industry is facing its most challenging obstacle to date and it’s not from their opposition – these attacks against law firms are coming from hackers. Once viewed as impenetrable to hackers, today’s law firm is just about as likely to be hacked as any other type of business.
As of a few years ago, a third of in-house counsel respondents in “The State of Cybersecurity Report: an in-house perspective” reported that they had experienced a data breach – and cybercrime is only expected to grow, with the occurrence rate of data breaches estimated to increase by 22.5% each year up to 2023.
According to a recent study by the American Bar Association (ABA):
- 75% are using some anti-virus software.
- 58% of responding firms are using a firewall or anti-phishing software.
- 33% are using email encryption software.
- 25% are using device encryption software.
- 17% have some directory security in place.
- 25% have an employee training program involving cybersecurity.
Some firms, particularly those that use Macintosh computers, admitted to not using any measures to protect their digital files. It’s stats like these that show why one third of law firms are getting hit.
This is why cybersecurity can’t be ignored – none of this is meant to scare you into buying overpriced firewalls or paying huge consultation fees with cybersecurity firms. It’s simply about making sure you know the reality of cybercrime in the legal industry.
5 Ways To Enhance Your Cybersecurity
1. Equip Your Firm With Modern Cybersecurity Solutions.
These advanced types of cybersecurity software (firewalls, antivirus, antimalware) use artificial intelligence to better predict, identify and eliminate harmful malware.
Security based on advanced algorithms that can adapt and learn creates a system that can become familiar with the normal patterns associated with each user and device, detecting anomalies in those patterns quickly.
Essentially, something known as a neural net can be used in cybersecurity efforts. Based on a robust algorithm, the neural net can “learn” to spot patterns of data associated with previously identified and classified spear-phishing emails.
By incorporating this technology into an email client’s spam filter, the filter will be able to spot fraudulent incoming emails and eliminate them before they reach the recipient.
One of the best parts about neural nets is that they continue to learn and improve the more that they are used. With increasingly more data to draw from, this Artificial Intelligence will become more and more accurate in doing its job.
2. Update Software Continuously.
You can’t afford to ignore software update notifications – but depending on your workload, you may have to. That’s where an IT company and managed services can help.
Software updates are not only to improve the functionality of the software; they also serve as a patch for recently identified vulnerabilities that can be exploited by hackers. Your IT company can handle the management of these updates to make sure that not a single one is ever skipped or delayed.
3. Monitor Your Systems.
Also known as host-intrusion protection (HIP), this type of monitoring software will detect and report specially-developed malware that would otherwise make it past conventional antivirus and antimalware software. Your IT company will be able to deploy a monitoring solution to keep an eye on your systems.
4. Verify And Test Your Backups
If you want your desktop files backed up, it’s your responsibility to make sure your cloud is doing so automatically. You must have a backup copy of your data if it’s stolen or accidentally deleted.
Develop a Business Continuity & Disaster Recovery policy that specifies…
- What data is backed up
- How often it’s backed up
- Where it’s stored
- Who has access to the backups
Backup to both an external drive in your office and a remote, secure, online data center. Set backups to occur automatically. And make sure your backup systems are encrypted.
5. Double Check Before You Click
No matter who the email is from or what it’s about, always exercise caution when it comes to clicking on a link or downloading an attachment:
- Be wary of malicious attachments in email messages. They may contain malware that can infect your computer.
- Check to see who the real sender of the message is. The company name in the “From” field should match the address. Also, watch for addresses that contain typographical errors like firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Hover over the URL in the email to view the full address. If you don’t recognize it, or if all the URLs in the email are the same, this is probably a phishing threat. Also, make sure that you and your employees know that all reputable URLs now start with https rather than http.
- Use an email client that scans attachments for malware, and never autorun an .exe file you’re unsure about.
This is a lot to handle on your own right? You’ve got a caseload, after all, so you likely don’t have the time to see to all this, and it’s not necessarily something you should trust to a paralegal that doesn’t have any experience with IT or cybersecurity.
That’s where a knowledgeable IT services company can be invaluable. One that is more than just computer technicians, but a team of IT professionals who know and understand the unique security concerns of law firms. They can help you develop a cybersecurity package that is virtually impenetrable to hackers.
It should include not just your office computers, but also your mobile devices, your cloud apps and storage, and your contracts with those potentially vulnerable third-party vendors. They should understand that leaving anyone spot vulnerable puts your entire system at risk.
Like this article? Check out the following blogs to learn more:
Cyber Security is Vital for Small Businesses
What Are 8 Challenges With Using Managed IT Services?
Intuitive Scheduling: The Missing Link for a Happy Office