The Legal Sector handles sensitive client data on a daily basis, and many have an international reach. This makes them a hot target for hackers and malicious insiders as well as being bound by more than likely multiple compliance requirements.
In the last few years a quarter of law firms have reported being a victim of a cyber-attack of some sort, and that is only predicted to rise!
With cybercrime risks continually evolving, as criminals find new ways of beating security software and tricking people into clicking on links and opening malicious documents, it makes sense to take steps to be ahead of the game.
We have detailed below the biggest cyber security risks for law firms.
Phishing / Email Hacking
The majority of staff will use their email and online services, such as drop box and DocuSign, to help them share important documents with people both inside and outside of the organization. Due to the popularity of email and the highly sensitive nature of information often shared via this platform, it makes it a prime target for hackers to try and infiltrate.
One way that hackers can do this is by sending a fake link to a document that needs to be signed and approved. As this is nothing out of the norm for employees, these links will usually be opened without question; allowing the cybercriminal access!
Due to the high sensitivity and often time sensitive nature of documents used insider law firms, a ransomware attack could be devastating. The locking down and encryption of important or sensitive documents so that they can’t be used, could mean losing a case (and therefore clients).
One of the biggest issues with ransomware is that even if the ransom is paid, there is no guarantee that the files will be released. In fact, research from TrendMicro suggests that a fifth of organizations that paid the ransom never receive their data back!
If your disaster recovery plan is not optimized for a cyberattack you should ensure that you can get backups live quickly and not have them infected by the same virus.
Lack of Visibility
If you were to read the International Bar Association Guide to Cybersecurity, you’ll notice that a large part of the recommendations center around visibility. Auditing, logging and alerting on changes being made to sensitive data is critical to understanding when undesirable changes are being made and investigating potential breaches. You also need to know exactly where your most sensitive data is and why it is sensitive, what compliance regulations it falls under and who has access to it.
Implementing the principle of least privilege, where users only have access to the data they need to do their job is essential to meeting the standards set by the International Bar Association.
Law firms should have strong information security protocols and policies due to the highly sensitive nature of the data they handle. They are already at a higher than average risk for hacks, so they need to make sure they are prepared for when the worst happens.
Making sure that they can find out who has been accessing what data and what has been copied, moved or deleted should be of paramount importance. If this is done correctly then business can stop breaches before they happen, or at the very least react quicker when the worst does happen.
The International Bar Association Guide to Cybersecurity is very clear on the fact that organizations in the Legal sector need to be hyper aware of what regulations they are required to comply with regarding data protection and breach notification. In particular, you need to consider the jurisdictions of third-party contractors who may be holding data in an offshore location.
Threats are Always Evolving
Legal companies need to be continually on top of the evolution of cyber security challenges. Both to protect their customers and themselves! So, what can be done? In our view there is no need to throw money at the problem to make it go away. You don’t need to spend millions deploying massive SIEM solutions that probably won’t even get used. A simple, but sophisticated, Data Security Platform will give you the visibility you need over your data.
Knowing where your sensitive data is, who has access to it and what users are doing with it, is essential when it comes to protecting your business and organization from cybercriminals. These points should be a top priority for law firms who are amongst the most targeted cybercriminals.
If you would like to see how Lepide’s Data Security Platform, LepideAuditor has been used by organizations in the Legal Sector to improve data security and meet compliance, schedule a demo with one of our engineers or start a free trial to evaluate it yourself.