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Ransomware Is Real and Lawyers Aren't Doing Enough to Protect Against It

By William Vogeler, Esq. on June 20, 2018 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

Ransomware was really a simple concept: lock up a computer system until the owner pays to free it.

And that's one of the reasons it became a problem for law firms. Lawyers would pay the "nuisance fee" just to get back to business. Simple.

But that was yesterday. Today, ransomware is a little more complicated and a much bigger threat.

Threat Is Real

By now, everybody knows Russians hack Americans. That includes big law firms -- 48 top firms in Chicago just a couple of years ago, if anybody is counting.

For some pseudo-psychological reason, however, many law firms did little more than complain. According to reports, most lawyers are not ready for the next ransomware attack.

It's not just because ransomware is easy money, or because hackers are using artificial intelligence. That would be scary enough.

Another, really scary reason ransomware is proliferating is because it has become a franchise opportunity. Anybody can buy ransomware packages and go into business for a fee.

The Next Wave

Once you realize that the next cyberattack is as close as the nearest Starbucks, it's time to get back to the business of improving cybersecurity.

It may require some education, but that is required by the model rules of professional responsibility anyway. Some states are even making technical competence part of continuing legal education.

"Cybersecurity" is an old song, and some lawyers may be tired of hearing it. But it's a lot better to learn the tune before a ransomware attack than after one.

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