Cybersecurity in the Legal Sector – How Law Firms are at Risk of Cyberattacks
Blog / Cybersecurity in the Legal Sector – How Law Firms are at Risk of Cyberattacks
If a business stores data, there is a way for a hacker to make money. In recent years, attacks against law firms have made headlines. Attacks are getting more frequent and more costly. A law firm with poor cybersecurity is a potential goldmine for hackers.
The legal sector houses so much data that it is no wonder hackers target law firms. Hackers may look for client information or email correspondences. This type of information is often quite valuable to ransomware attackers.
The PwC 2021 law firm survey found that 90% of Top 100 law firms saw cyber threats as the greatest risk to growth. This is no surprise, given the abundance of data law firms carry. Ransomware attacks continue to grow in price and popularity. Hackers can also make good money by selling client information on underground markets.
Many law firms lack the proper security measures to combat incoming attacks. Many small to medium-sized businesses lack the security infrastructure to tackle a cyberattack. When it comes to law firms, they are no exception. The trouble is law firms usually hold data worth a lot more to threat actors.
Common Cyber Risks for Law Firms
In a ransomware attack, hackers steal data from a business and hold it at ransom. Ransomware is a form of malware that allows hackers to lock your data. A hacker will often look for sensitive data that lies unprotected or unencrypted. Client information, banking information, and email correspondence are examples an attacker may look for in a law firm.
The intended effect of a cyberattack attack depends case-by-case. In ransomware cases, the attacker is looking for money. During financially motivated attacks, ransomware will often lock and even steal data on your network. With this, the hacker can hold you at ransom, threatening to leak or sell the data.
The centrepiece of a hacker’s toolkit is usually social engineering tactics. The weakest link in any business’s security is the humans. Hackers usually know when and who to target when using social engineering. It’s usually just a matter of time before someone takes the bait.
There are multiple social engineering techniques used against law firms. The complexity varies, but some tactics are worryingly convincing.
- Phishing: The most generic social engineering tactic, but also the most efficient. The hacker may use blanket emails to get as many people to take the bait as possible. Phishing generally targets quality over quantity.
- Spear-phishing: Spear-phishing attacks will be more targeted. They often look like they come from a trustworthy source. Hackers will look to impersonate a member of the law firm or a representative of a trusted business. These attacks are more dangerous, but also take time to be crafted. Spear-phishing attacks usually target a small selection of people based on a specific profile.
Loss of Reputation
Reputation loss is something rarely talked about as a result of a cyberattack. Reports of cyberattacks often cover financial damages but neglect reputational damages. Damages to reputation from a cyberattack usually occur due to leaked data. The customer has to trust businesses that their data is secure. A breach of data is also a breach of trust.
Law firms have to keep their customer information private. Law firms handle very sensitive data. This data could result in major consequences if leaked. A leak in data at a law firm could be devastating to client privacy and the reputation of the firm.
Data breaches can also open firms up to legal action. Law firms are more at risk of legal allegations if a data breach occurs. If a law firm’s data is breached, clients could sue for malpractice. More so than other businesses, law firms are obliged to respect the privacy of their clients.
What You Need to Do
With all the focus being on ransomware and data breaches, there is a clear need for data protection. As a law firm, data protection should be your main cyber concern. Small firms may want to look at cloud solutions if they are running old server architecture. Modern cloud security techniques are usually very secure for a fraction of the price of setting up a bespoke local network.
Data should preferably be kept in multiple locations based on its sensitivity. Introducing redundancy to storage systems can help protect your most valuable data. Locally stored data should also be encrypted to make it more difficult for hackers to read.
There are steps you can make to protect yourself against malware too. Since phishing is so prevalent, it would be wise to educate employees on internet safety. If people know what phishing attacks look like, they are less likely to fall for them.
Basic software solutions can prevent a large majority of malware cases. Email security solutions can filter out phishing attempts. Antimalware will be able to detect malicious files if they are still accidentally downloaded. Most cyberattacks happen when we neglect basic safety measures.
How Securiwiser Can Help
Securiwiser is a cybersecurity threat analysis suite. With our help, you can see what you can do to protect your business.
Securiwiser provides your business with the information needed to boost its cybersecurity posture. Our advanced rating system will tell you where you can improve. We will track the strength of your organisation’s network security, DNS health, and email security, so you can see improvements as you make them.
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