How law firms can fight the rising risk of cybercrime


Date: 19 May 2021

A hacker targets a law firm's data

Cybercrime in the legal sector has been on the rise in recent years. The perfect example is the Panama Papers leak that happened back in 2016. This collection of documents uncovered celebrities, politicians, and other public figures who have off-shore accounts and launder money. While the Panama Papers leak has been closely investigated, nobody knows who released the documents.

You shouldn't take cybersecurity lightly, regardless of which market your company is in. However, law firms have been frequent targets in the last couple of years. These businesses are more attractive to cybercriminals because they handle private or sensitive information. Law firms also handle large amounts of money.

So, what can law firms do to prevent cyberattacks? If you want to learn which antivirus software to use or who can help you with cybercrime, keep reading!

The most common cyber threat for law firms

Malware is not a new cyber threat, but it keeps evolving. The most well-known form of malware is ransomware. It is popular among cybercriminals targeting law firms. After all, ransomware restricts access to databases, files, and documents. Cybercriminals then proceed to blackmail their targets in hopes of extorting money from them.

There was a largescale cyberattack on several law firms just last year. Many law firms would pay to get their data back. After all, a cyberattack could ruin their reputation and that of their clients if the documents are released. The problem is that cybercriminals often continue with the blackmail even after the payment has been made. Another consideration is that some files might be lost in a ransomware attack, which is why it's essential to create backups.

How to protect your law firm from cybercrime

Luckily, there are several steps you can take to protect your law firm and clients from cybercriminals. Remember to combine these methods for complete protection.

Use antivirus software and VPN

Antivirus software can recognise malware and warn you before it does any damage. However, buying full versions is the way to go. Free antivirus software could lack features that are crucial for lowering the risk of a cyberattack. To fully protect your database, invest in good antivirus software that can completely erase malware from the system.

Installing a VPN is another excellent idea. What is a VPN? This tool can encrypt the data you send or receive. It can make things a lot harder for cybercriminals because encryption is impossible to crack. So, make sure all computers in the office have a VPN. In case your team is working from home, encourage them to install this tool on their devices.

Consider hiring experts

If you are running a law firm, you know that seeking legal help is necessary when going in front of a judge. You should approach cybercrime the same way – hire an expert. After all, your job is to focus on providing legal assistance and not on preventing cybercrime. Adding a cybersecurity specialist to your team could be beneficial.

These individuals can help secure your data, educate your employees on how to minimise possible security breaches, and manage your law firm's cybersecurity. This includes contacting the authorities, which is a must in the event of a cyberattack. Don't shy away from getting an IT expert to aid your firm. They can save you a lot of time and allow you to get on with your regular business. 

Have an action plan

Even if you have various cybersecurity measures in place, you need to be prepared for a possible data breach. Good organisation is the key. Knowing what to do if your database is hacked can help minimise the damage and preserve your law firm's reputation. Consult your cybersecurity expert, if you have one, or come up with a simple action plan yourself.

For instance, if your database is down, you have to restore it as soon as possible. Having a backup will do this in a couple of hours. Your law firm can be up and running in no time. Just remember to update your backup regularly and keep it offline. Also, remove ransomware from infected devices before you restore a backup. It is not uncommon for the infected nodes to spread to the backup and encrypt the files.

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