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10 Steps to Reduce Cyber Risk for Law Firms

Law firms are increasingly targeted by cyber attacks. Data breaches have hit major firms, compromising confidential information. Smaller firms are equally at risk, as they often don’t have the resources for sophisticated cyber risk prevention.

The consequences can be dire. Data can be held at ransom, which means the financial and reputational damage can be devastating for a law firm. In addition to needing to pay to fix the breach, cyber insurance premiums and potential lawsuits from affected parties can be significant.

What are the top 5 threats of cyber attacks on law firms?

Business email compromise (BEC) uses intercepted emails to target businesses, such as law firms. In a BEC attack, the attacker sends an email that appears to be from a legitimate source, such as a client.

The email will often contain a request for money or sensitive information. If the recipient clicks on a link or opens an attachment in the email, they may be tricked into entering their login credentials or downloading malware.

BEC can have a significant impact on law firms, particularly those that hold large amounts of money in trust – like conveyancers. Clients will receive an email purporting to be from a law firm. The email will list fraudulent bank information, and direct the client to pay their deposit to the criminal’s bank account.

BEC attacks are often successful because they prey on human psychology. The attacker will often use social engineering techniques to make the email appear legitimate. For example, they may use the name of a real person or company, or they may reference a recent event that the recipient is likely to be aware of.

Identity Fraud: Most law firms will be required to collect personal information from their clients at some point. This could include copies of passports or drivers’ licenses to assist with verification of identity. Gaining access to these identity documents can help criminals commit identify fraud, which is an increasingly common crime.

Information Theft: Due to the position of trust law firms enjoy, they commonly hold confidential information of great value to clients. Hacking for information theft means criminals seek to gain access to sensitive information, such as critical defence infrastructure, or the secrets of high profile clients.

Ransomware: Ransomware is a type of malware that encrypts a computer’s files and demands a ransom payment in order to decrypt them. Ransomware attacks are often targeted at law firms because they often have sensitive data that can be used to extort money from the firm or its clients.

Insider threats: Insider threats are a growing concern for law firms. Insider threats can be caused by disgruntled employees, careless employees, or even malicious employees. Insider threats can be just as damaging as external attacks, and they can be more difficult to detect and prevent.

Here are 10 steps that law firms can take to reduce their cyber risk. These include:

  1. Implement strong security measures. This includes using strong passwords, firewalls, and antivirus software.
  2. Upgrade to secure software, and keep it up to date. LEAP is the only legal practice productivity solution which enjoys globally recognised SOC 2 Type I Certification. This reflects an independent audit of our internal security controls. By using LEAP, you can ensure you maintain client confidentiality and minimise your vulnerability to cyber attacks.
  3. Use a secure cloud-based platform to share files and invoices. LawConnect was purpose-built to help law firms securely share files and invoices. It helps you avoid the risk of Business Email Compromise by ensuring you never share bank details via email, ever.
  4. Educate employees about cyber security. Employees should be aware of the risks of cyber attacks and how to protect themselves.
  5. Back up data regularly. This will help to minimise the damage if a data breach does occur.
  6. Have a plan for responding to cyber-attacks. This plan should include steps for notifying clients, containing the attack, and recovering from the attack.
  7. Be careful what you click on. Phishing emails are a common way for cyber attackers to gain access to your systems. Do not click on links or open attachments in emails from unknown senders.
  8. Use two-factor authentication. This adds an extra layer of security to your accounts by requiring you to enter a code from your phone in addition to your password.
  9. Be aware of the latest cyber threats. Stay up-to-date on the latest cyber threats so that you can take steps to protect your firm.
  10. Invest in cyber insurance. Should the worst occur, cyber insurance can help ensure that you have the resources you need to manage a cyber attack, and implement a strong cyber security program.

By following these steps, law firms can reduce their cyber risk and protect their clients’ sensitive data.

Cyber attacks are a growing threat to law firms. By taking steps to reduce their cyber risk, law firms can protect their clients’ sensitive data and avoid the financial and reputational damage that can result from a data breach.

In addition to the steps outlined above, law firms should also have a plan in place for responding to a cyber attack. This plan should include steps for notifying clients, containing the attack, and recovering from the attack.

By having a plan in place, law firms can reduce the damage that a cyber attack can cause and protect their clients’ interests.