Severe Cyber Threat to UK Legal Industry

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Categories: Cloud Computing, Cyber Security, GDPR, Internet, IT Solutions, IT Support, Microsoft Solutions, Office 365

Defend Your Firm

Law firms specifically are at severe risk of cyber-attacks. The main threat has primarily been financially motivated, however there has been a rise in threats of political and ideological motivation and nation states have been warned at global level.

Many factors make law firms an attractive target such as, holding sensitive data, holding significant funds and enabling business and commercial transactions. The number of reported threats has grown substantially in the last year to law firms of all sizes.

Know the Risks

The most significant cyber threats that law firms should be aware of are:

1.Phishing

Phishing attacks are a fraudulent attempt to gain access to confidential data by using email and social engineering to dupe the recipients. Phishing is the most common cyber-attack affecting law firms. “The amount stolen from law firms through phishing in the first quarter of 2017 was 300% higher than the previous year.” The NCSC has issued specific guidance on defending against phishing, from identifying emails to responding to incidents. Read more here.

2.Data breaches

A data breach is the release of secure or confidential information to an untrusted environment. Law firms make particularly attractive targets due to the sensitive data they hold for clients. Firms with politically or commercially sensitive clients are at a higher risk and all firms will need to defend against this threat as they thrive on confidentiality. Read more here.

3.Ransomware

Ransomware is malicious software that blocks access to the victims’ data, or threatens to publish the victims’ data, until a ransom is paid. Anyone can fall victim to a ransomware attack. The high-profile example WannaCry ransomware attack of 2017 targeted computers running on the Microsoft Windows operating system. The ransomware crypto-worm indiscriminately travelled automatically between computers all over the world. Up to date software and application controls reduce the risk. Read more here.

4.Supply chain compromise

The increasing use of digital technologies to deliver legal services will likely offer further opportunity for exploitation. A law firms supply chain can be compromised in various ways. The greatest threat comes from a third-party supplier failing to adequately secure systems that hold your sensitive data. Understanding the risk and checking your arrangements feature in the guidance. Read more here.

What You Can Do

Too often cyber-security is regarded as an IT issue rather than the strategic risk management that it is. Firms must protect highly sensitive client information or their practise may be in jeopardy. The NCSC has written a 10-step guide which provides insight on protecting your firm and board-level responsibility.

Smaller firms are encouraged to follow the NCSC’s Small Business Guide for advice they can work on immediately, such as backing up data and avoiding phishing attacks.

Cyber attackers will aim to exploit any potential vulnerabilities within the legal industry so protecting your firm, your clients and your staff must remain a top priority.

Analysing the vulnerabilities within your firm and effectively defending against cybercrime can be challenging, however expert support is available to combat this growing threat.

Softwerx are a leading provider of Cyber Security Systems with over fifteen years’ experience delivering award-winning IT services and solutions across the UK. We provide a comprehensive suite of cyber security solutions, including a free cyber essentials audit for your firm.

Know the risks, defend the risks, protect your organisation.

If you would like to book your free cyber essentials audit or discuss any of your cyber security needs, please get in touch now.

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