Legal Industry still playing catch up in Cybersecurity

Legal Industry still playing catch up in Cybersecurity

The legal industry is not necessarily the most prepared when it comes to cybersecurity, according to a new report. ALM Intelligence shows over the last three years:

  • 2015: Law firms and law departments were far behind the curve when it came to cybersecurity preparation and response.
  • 2016: Law firms playing catch up, and things were improving slightly as law departments were being held accountable for cyber attacks in their organizations.
  • 2017: This year’s research is showing that “the state of law firm and law department cybersecurity is still fractured: many continue to struggle with managing cyber threats.”

Clients have become more demanding. 82% of law firm respondents said that their clients are requiring them to upgrade their cybersecurity capabilities.

Why hackers target law firms

While the reasons may seem obvious, especially when it comes to high-profile corporate firms, here are three reasons why hackers target law firms:

  1. Large firms, especially those with over 100 lawyers, are targets because of the availability of large quantities of valuable and quality documents. By targeting law firms, they can quickly access such information as technical secrets, business strategies, and financial data for numerous clients.
  2. By handling the important information, Law firms provide a quick detour around information of little value. The information that attorneys have access to is the high-value information, which is more selective and valuable to hackers. By skipping the corporation and targeting their law firm, they more easily access the high-value data.
  3. Data security hasn’t traditionally been a priority at law firms. Larger law firms move at a fast pace and need access to information quickly. This means law firms may have sloppy or no data security practices in place.

What can be done

  • Get the lawyers on board
  • Compliance is not security
    • While certain cybersecurity tools will help you check off the necessary compliance audit questions, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you are secure. On the other hand, having a strong security foundation will help you ensure and simplify compliance.
  • Find vulnerabilities…and patch them
  • Protect those endpoints
  • Monitor, monitor, monitor
    • By using a SIEM (Security Information and Event Management) tool, you pull all the networks and systems together to create a complete picture of your infrastructure. And by having a dedicated team of experts to monitor that SIEM, you will be protected around the clock.

Find out more about PREtect – 5 essential cyber risk management services. 

Cybersecurity Emerging Trends: Law Firms Targeted

Cybersecurity Emerging Trends: Law Firms Targeted

Law firms and their clients’ sensitive information are a treasure trove for hackers. They not only hold valuable client information but also are regularly emailing attachments to clients, providing a possible means to get into client systems.

Law firms are seen as high-value targets for the rapidly growing use of ransomware and extortion schemes because they have historically weak defenses and are seen as able to pay large sums.

Here are some recent high-profile cyberattacks in the legal industry:

DLA Piper ransomware attack

Panama Papers

Cravath and Weil Gotshal

According to the BitSight’s Fourth Annual Industry Index Report, Legal service providers are arguably one of the most widely used third parties across the world, supporting some of the world’s largest banks and other well-known organizations. To steal intellectual property, trade secrets, and other sensitive information from companies with strong security measures, cyber criminals may target their outside counsel rather than the company itself.

Hackers attack legal providers because they may have weaker security measures in place. Compared to other industries examined, BitSight finds that companies in the Legal sector actually have high-security ratings and low rates of vulnerabilities that could lead to man-in-the-middle attacks. Despite these findings, the industry remains a key target for cyber criminals.

The Legal sector had the second highest percentage of companies with a security rating of 700 or higher, only trailing Finance and in-line with Retail.(BitSight Security Ratings measure the security performance of organizations. These ratings range from 250-900, with a higher rating indicating better security performance.)

More than 60% of organizations examined from the Legal sector are exposed to DROWN, a major SSL/TLS vulnerability.(DROWN is a vulnerability, discovered earlier this year, that could allow a criminal to decrypt secure communications and potentially expose information sent over HTTPS, such as passwords, usernames, and credit card details.)



Update web server configurations
IT security teams should update their security protocols and ensure that the most recent patches have been implemented across the network.

Invest in training for employees
Employees should be aware of the cyber risks they encounter when surfing the web. Clicking on suspicious online ads, for example, can introduce vulnerabilities into the network. More on cybersecurity awareness training. 

Continuous security monitoring
Teams should strive to continuously monitor the cybersecurity posture of their law firms and other legal service providers (alongside other critical vendors) to ensure that no new threats emerge through these third parties. More on continuous monitoring. 

Establish cybersecurity benchmarks
Organizations should establish security benchmarks to help them take appropriate action depending on changes in the security posture of their own organization or their critical third parties.

Discuss cybersecurity with Board of Directors
Successfully protecting an organization from cyber attacks requires a team. Organizations should add cybersecurity to Board-level discussions.


Examples of Ransomware: 7 Cyber Security Trends To Fight Back


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