Remaining cybersecure is vital to maintaining the professional integrity of any legal practice. With the advancement of technology comes the ever-evolving threat of cybercrime. Legal practitioners have an ethical and commercial obligation to keep their data and the data of their clients safe, secure, and confidential.
Consequences for Law Practitioners/Firms from a Successful Cyberattack
Law practices hold extensive amounts of confidential information, and their clients trust them to keep their information safe. Failure to have appropriate procedures and systems may negatively affect and damage the reputation of the law practice. As a core part of a lawyer’s appeal is trust, the misuse of a lawyer’s brand or reputation can be disastrous. Such reputational damage is not recovered easily.
Law Firms are Attractive to Malicious Actors
Law firms and legal industry suppliers are considered high-value targets for ransomware and cyberattacks, as the data they house is always client-confidential and potentially industry-sensitive. Especially for Family Law practices, the information entrusted with is some of the most sensitive a person has, such as the family’s financial assets, children and spousal arrangements – and cybercriminals know that.
This problem snowballs when a strong cybersecurity posture is simply absent in the industry. The ABA Techreport 2020 finds that only 43% of respondents use file encryption and only a mere 39% use two-factor authentication. Such limited use of cybersecurity tools continues to invite malicious actors to target the legal industry.
Why You Need a Cybersecurity Strategy Now
Since 2021, two major law firms in Australia have also fell victim to cyberattacks – Allens and Jones Day. The two were both utilising a file transfer application provided by a Californian cloud company, which were accessed illegally. After failed attempts to extort payment from the firm, hackers have uploaded gigabytes of highly sensitive data that were stolen from the latter in the attack.
Yet not many cyber incidents are plastered on headlines.
Research by the Australasian Legal Practice Management Association (ALPMA) found that over 15 per cent of law firms surveyed have reported a breach from cybercriminals. That’s over one in five Australian firms reported having come under a cyberattack in the last two years. In fact, it was just November 2020, when ‘Law in Order’ a Melbourne-based practice experienced a ransomware attack. The firm was given seven days to provide ransom to the cybercrime collective or to risk a data leak on the dark web.
“Without an adequate cybersecurity strategy, the consequences could be appalling.”
Implementing a Cybersecurity Strategy for Your Law Firm
Cybercriminals are at the forefront of technology. Your law firm needs to have a robust security posture to sustain a cyberattack.
For that, we recommend three base actions to kickstart your Cybersecurity Strategy:
- Audit your cybersecurity defences to include robust mechanisms
- Assess which parts of your business may be vulnerable to a cyberattack and apply the adequate protective strategies
- Educate staff so they are capable of identifying potential cybersecurity threats
If you aren’t certain that your systems are up to par, consider seeking the advice of a cybersecurity specialist, while you stick to the lawyering. Working with a trusted cybersecurity partner is a cost-effective and efficient way for you to safeguard your firm.
CTRL Group is Australia’s information security experts that protect organisations from cyber risk. Our team specializes in augmenting your security function to help you develop world-class capability in addressing business-critical cyber threats while adopting a data-oriented approach to curate tailored mitigation plans for your organisation. Talk to our experts today if you would like any assistance in meeting your cybersecurity needs via the details below.
Staying Cybersecure Starts with YOU.
At the end of the day, it is your law firm that is holding your clients’ data and should be protecting that information. Being vigilant about cybersecurity at your law firm boils down to doing the right thing for your stakeholders. Taking an ostrich approach will not suffice, nor benefit anyone.