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Like so many other industries, the legal sector is facing more and more cybercrime threats each year. Cybersecurity is a top priority for law firms, and they think they’re doing OK.
In fact, surveys taken at law firms have shown that 80% of legal organizations consider their cybersecurity to be sufficient. Experts believe this is not the case.
“[…] Cybersecurity practices at law firms are generally not very strong,” said Eli Wald, author of Legal Ethics’ Next Frontier, Lawyers, and Cybersecurity to Logikcull . “It’s hard for me to speculate why law firms are so confident in their infrastructures. But I will venture one guess: lawyers in general tend to delegate cybersecurity concerns and responsibility for infrastructure to others, usually the IT group, and so they may not know how vulnerable they are.”
To better understand why your firm may be vulnerable, let’s start with why you’re even a target in the first place…
When compared to accounting firms, healthcare organizations, and other types businesses, what makes law firms so attractive to hackers?
“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.”
Wald believes this to be the case as well. Whereas cybercriminals may have to hunt for valuable data in other sectors, when it comes to law firms, almost everything they find is valuable.
“Law firms and lawyers collect […]and handle very valuable information,” says Wald. “This, in part, is the very definition of what we lawyers do. Rather than collect every piece of information that our clients possess, we tend to seek out in the context of representing our clients, and in order to effectively represent them, the important information that pertains to the representation.”
That’s why firms like yours are key targets for cybercriminals. The question is – what are you doing about it?
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.
1. Anti-Virus Software
Anti-Virus software is used in conjunction with other security technology to provide defense against malware, adware, and spyware. Each of these cybercriminal tactics has the potential to do immense damage to internal processes and a firm’s reputation. The job of antivirus software is to spot, block, and isolate intrusive, malicious applications so they can’t do damage to your data and legitimate software.
Anti-virus is installed to protect at the user level, known as endpoint protection, and is designed to detect and block a virus or malware from taking root on a user’s computer, or worse, accessing a network to which the user is connected.
2. Virtual Private Network
One of the most proven techniques to make sure your data is safe is to use a virtual private network (VPN), which will give you back control over how you’re identified online. A VPN creates a secure tunnel for your data to transit the Internet, using a network of private servers.
When you use a VPN, your data is encrypted as it moves from your device to the VPN and then continues onto the Internet through what’s called an exit node. A VPN creates the appearance that your data is coming from the VPN server, not from your device.
That makes it harder for an attacker to identify you as the source of the data – no matter whether you’re on your mobile device’s data connection, or using an unsecured retail Wi-Fi network while you’re in line for coffee. Even if attackers can intercept your data, the encryption means the attackers can’t understand your data or use it to their advantage.
When you put your data out to the VPN server, it exits back out to the public internet. If the site you’re visiting has HTTPS to keep the connection safe, you are still secure.
3. Data Backup
Do you have a data backup policy in place? If not, then you’re vulnerable, right now, to ransomware.
If you have you have a data backup solution, then it doesn’t matter if your data has been encrypted. You can just replace it with your backup, simple as that.
That’s why you should make a considerable investment in a comprehensive backup data recovery solution so that you can restore your data at a moment’s notice when necessary.
Be sure to:
Encrypted data is formatted in a secret code that would be meaningless if intercepted. It is one of the most efficient ways to secure a database given that decryption can only occur through a key, which is essentially a “secret password”.
This is especially important when your data is in transit – whether being sent in an email or in-between your office and your offsite data storage location. You need to make sure that if in the event the wrong party gets their hands on your data, they won’t be able to use it against you.
Your firewall is your first line of defense for keeping your information safe.
A firewall is a particular type of solution that maintains the security of your network. It blocks unauthorized users from gaining access to your data. Firewalls are deployed via hardware, software, or a combination of the two.
A firewall inspects and filters incoming and outgoing data in the following ways: