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5 Easy Tips for Cybersecurity at Solo Law Firms

By Jonathan R. Tung, Esq. on April 07, 2016 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

Yesterday, we put in our two cents about the recent hacking of America's BigLaw firms by Russian hacker, Oleras. Hopefully you weren't one of the many firms on that list. But if you're feeling a little more secure in your firm's network because you're a solo lawyer, don't. Hackers are after your discovery.

We've reviewed some security suggestions that came up at the recent 2016 ABA TechShow. Follow these steps to safeguard your firm's sensitive information.

Discipline Yourself

Everyone knows it's way too easy to become lax -- not just in security measures, but in everything. Laziness is your enemy. According to Adriana Linares, one of the tech consultants at the ABA TechShow conference, 80 percent of law firms have been hacked, while the other 20 percent are lying or don't know about being hacked.

Employ Two-Factor Authentication

Get used to sending and receiving emails at a slower rate. If you use two factor authentication, your email accounts will be protected much better against unwanted intruders than it probably is now. Linares conceded that 2FA can be a pain in the neck, but like a lot of things, people get used to it. Make 2FA a thing you get used to.

Use Password Managers

I used to have a composition book full of passwords of my accounts. No more. A better option is to use a password manager like LastPass. For ultimate backup, keep a physical sheet in your bank's deposit box. Update that monthly.

Backup as Often as You Can

You should be backing up your client files frequently. Fortunately, faster drives that are solid state are making data transfer less painful, but it's still a bit of a chore. Treat that drive like you would your child.

Also, encrypt your child. Better yet, buy your child pre-encrypted.

Encrypt Your Data

More and more people are realizing that encryption should be the standard of how they operate. For a while, Phil Zimmerman's Pretty Good Privacy (PGP) was the standard reliable encryption paradigm, but it trades convenience for security. That's what makes it "pretty good."

Alternatively, loosen up a little and use the open-source apps that allow for encrypted instant messaging and voice calling. If you're an iPhone user, FaceTime and iMessage supports end-to-end encryption which means that third parties can't intercept your messages while they're going from device to device. The problem is, however, is that the government can now use NAND mirroring (we think, anyway) to get into your 5C or below iPhone. Care to update?

The Grand Takeaway

Don't be lulled into the notion of "hackers only go after the big guys." Not anymore. At the very least, taking your first few steps towards more security of your files will make you feel better. These steps are simple. Block out a weekend soon and get cracking.

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Related Resources:

  • Law Practice Management: More Than a Locked Door: Law Firm Security (American Bar Association)
  • Cybersecurity Vulnerabilities Turn Everyday Objects Into Threats (FindLaw's Technologist)
  • U.S. Government Was Hacked 77,000 Times Last Year (FindLaw's Technologist)
  • 3 Newish Tech Start Ups Looking to Change the Legal Industry (FindLaw's Technologist)
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