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Law Firms Attractive Targets for CyberCriminals

Have you ever wanted to know why hackers target law firms?

Law firms have become very attractive vectors to steal sensitive data. Why?

Because law firms have an extraordinary amount of client data. Due to attorney-client privilege law firms seem to gather more data from clients than anyone else. Plus this data builds over time-based on the client and the case. Law firms also become a target based on the types of clients they represent. Making this data issue worse is that historically law firms aren’t great about getting rid of data.

Law firms often represent companies that have a lot of enemies and while their clients may have good defenses, the law firm potentially doesn’t. Specifically, if the law firm is smaller and has not had to spend much on data security up to this point in time. Law firms debate the question impact likelihood question of why spend money when there hasn’t been an incident they know of yet?

Smaller and mid-sized law firms think why would I now start spending money if I haven’t had to deal with this issue before?

The problem is, lawyers have an ethical obligation to safeguard and protect that client data, it’s just now that law firms are starting to realize they need to wake up and take that more seriously. As the data privacy pendulum swings, you will notice more law firms are targeted and made examples of when data breaches occur.

One major hurdle for law firms is their limited embrace technology. Many small to medium size offices are using outdated software and systems but don’t realize the vulnerabilities create. For example, small offices could be using personal licensed software and free email accounts for their communication. Not realizing their emails can be compromised due to lack of protection.

Many law firms even though they may have remote tech support that may have installed firewalls at the office, failed to secure home office locations with data protection protocols. You could almost guarantee that these small offices could not even tell if and when an incident has occurred because there is not real-time threat detection and response strategies in place.

Most law firms are highly vulnerable to email phishing, smishing, and voice-based vishing attacks. Because of how law firms use email as a primary communication channel internally and externally.

Law firms that handle IP cases or trademark cases should be aware of their threat detection process. Understanding where the threats are coming from will allow you to target your defenses and response strategy. Larger law firms can become under attack from nation state-sponsored attacks to steal and compromise Intellectual property.

Law firms need to understand that the data they store is more valuable to cybercriminals than it is to the law firms. Particularly if the cybercriminals are trying to exploit the firm’s clients.

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