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Biggest Cyberthreats to Lawyers

By William Vogeler, Esq. | Last updated on

According to a new survey, more than one-fourth of law firms last year say the were hacked and the number is increasing.

If your law firm hasn't been attacked, chances are it's just a matter of time. It may have already happened; you just don't know it.

In any case, cyberthreats are getting bigger, so you need to do more to fight them off. Like the sheriff said in Jaws, you're going to need a bigger boat.

Biggest Cyberthreats

The American Bar Association has released a 2017 Legal Technology Survey Report, showing an eight percent increase in cyberattacks in the last year. The largest percentage -- 35 percent -- occurred at mid-size law firms.

Small firms -- about 27 percent -- also reported breaches, and about one-fourth of law firms with more than 500 lawyers suffered cyberattacks.

However, they say the bigger they come, the harder they fall. DLA Piper, for example, had to shut down its global operations last year after a cyberattack.

The year before, it was Cravath, Swaine & Moore and Weil Gotshal & Manges that were hacked by foreign nationals. They stole client data that they used to net more than $4 million by insider-trading.

Too Many Phish

What made the BigLaw hacks especially noteworthy in the law business, was that they have the resources to pay for the the most cybersecurity -- and it wasn't enough. The bottom line is, law firms are going to have to pay more, one way or another.

There are just too many crooks in the cybersea. Phishing, malware, denial-of-service, web jacking, wi-fi snoops, insider threats -- the list goes on in the ABA report.

At the core, cybersecurity starts with human -- not technological -- behavior. Lawyers have to learn to avoid the danger areas.

Public wi-fi, for example, is not your law firm's friend. If you have employees, identify the high-risk ones. The biggest threat may be the one that comes back to bite you.

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