Organizations of all sizes and across all industries can become targets of cybercriminals. However, more and more cyberthieves have recently turned their attention to law firms with the intention of stealing, selling, exposing, or extorting confidential data.
With an ever-increasing shift to digital documents, law practices are more susceptible to cyberattacks now than ever before. If your cybersecurity is breached, your firm could lose clients and be faced with fines and lawsuits.
To protect your clients and yourself, you must remain vigilant by having robust cybersecurity solutions in place. Here’s everything you need to know about protecting your firm’s digital legal documents from cybercriminals in 2022.
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Common Cybersecurity Threats Law Firms Face
Law firms are responsible for confidential company data and sensitive client information. Cybercriminals use this data for profit by selling it on the dark web or holding it for ransom in exchange for large sums of money.
Some of the most common ways cybercriminals attack law firms include:
- Data breaches: This scam occurs when cybercriminals access a law firm’s computers from a remote location. They will then harvest sensitive data for their own personal gain.
- Phishing: This scam involves sending bogus emails or texts with the goal of receiving the victim’s personal information. Law firms are at risk due to the high volume of emails they receive from potential clients.
- Ransomware: Cybercriminals will encrypt a law firm’s sensitive files and demand a fee – or ransom – in order for the information to be returned.
- Website attacks: Legal professionals visit numerous websites every day. Cybercriminals can exploit this by infecting a computer when a user visits a less secure site.
The Impact of Cyberattacks on the Legal Industry
Cyberattacks can be extremely detrimental to law practices. Data breaches can lead to client mistrust, regulatory fines, business downtime, and more. If your law firm is attacked, it can impact its reputation for years to come.
The American Bar Association’s Legal Technology Resource Center found that the number of law firms reporting security breaches rose from 26% in 2019 to 29% in 2020. This was due to the pandemic-related shift from physical documents to digital ones. Now so more than ever, legal firms need to protect sensitive information from cybercriminals.
How to Protect Your Firm from a Cyberattack
As a responsible attorney, it’s important to take preventive measures to protect your firm and clients from cybercriminals. There are a number of ways you can take action, including supplementing your firm’s cybersecurity with:
- Antivirus software
- Cloud backups
- Crisis response plan for security breaches
- Cyber insurance
- Encryption software
- Two-way authentication
- Secured Wi-Fi connections
- Comprehensive cybersecurity compliance programs
- Strong firewalls
- Backup and reboot policies
- Stringent rules regarding personnel access to sensitive data
By using these practices and tools, you can secure your firm for the future.
A cyberattack can lead to hefty fines, lawsuits, investigations, and loss of client trust. Not only can a security breach hurt your firm’s reputation, but it can also negatively impact the reputation of its staff.
It’s your firm’s duty to abide by strict legal, internal, and ethical obligations regarding cybersecurity practices. Your practice must comply with state and standard laws, as well as ABA ethical rules to mitigate risks.
By continually educating your staff about the firm’s cybersecurity practices and enhancing your cybersecurity efforts with robust software, you can protect yourself, your employees, and your clients.
If you need additional assistance, please don’t hesitate to contact us with any questions or concerns. At First Legal, we’re here for you from File Thru Trial™!