A lot of law practices think they are immune to cyber attacks and data breaches because they’re so small, compared to huge corporations that have more data to hack. However, the truth is that your Connecticut or Massachusetts law firm is at risk just as much as Target, Sony, or Walmart.
It’s important to take cybersecurity measures to keep your law practice data safe, otherwise, you risk losing your valuable business data to a hacker and destroying your business reputation or client confidentiality in the process. Chances are that your office will be targeted if you don’t take preventative actions.
Here are three reasons why law firms are at the top of a hacker’s hit list:
1) Legal Practices Have Tons of Sensitive Data
Law firms have copious amounts of sensitive data ripe for the picking. Huge surprise! From employment contracts to medical files, attorneys and their paralegals work with sensitive information on a daily basis, which attracts hackers to the business.
According to the John Sweeney, President of LogicForce, “Law firms are the subject of targeted attacks for one simple reason. Their servers hold incredibly valuable information. That includes businesses’ IP, medical records, bank information, even government secrets. For hackers looking for information they can monetize, there is no better place to start.”
The typical law firm has employee records with social security numbers, financial records like credit card numbers, and some even have health records on file that fetch a handsome price. Hackers take this information and sell it on the black market, which makes it a lucrative source of revenue for cybercriminals.
2) Law Firms Have Limited Cybersecurity Knowledge
While large corporations have the funds and personnel available to enact strict security protocol and regulations, the small and medium-sized law practices don’t. Instead, attorneys rely on their staff’s limited knowledge of cybersecurity to protect their data. According to the Verizon Data Breach Investigation Report, 61% of breaches hit smaller businesses last year, up from the previous year’s 53%. Given the attention directed towards the recent high-profile hacks, like Target and Equifax, you probably wouldn’t have guessed how vulnerable small businesses really are.
3) Law Offices Are Vulnerable to Phishing Attacks
Hackers are pretty methodical and don’t like to take unnecessary risks. Law firms are often targeted by pinpoint phishing tactics, where a hacker attempts to steal credentials by posing as someone with authority in your firm. They might steal the identity of your IT technician or a vendor in order to obtain credentials for internal access or specific documents. Another way they target firms is by sending an email impersonating someone you trust and asking you to download/open an email attachment that gives them access to your data. Worse yet, this type of activity makes it extremely difficult to trace the cybercriminals, making it a safer way to hack computers. Even though law firms are prime real estate for hackers, it actually doesn’t take that much to proactively secure your computers, servers, and network. Proactive monitoring, updated antivirus, data breach response plans, updating operating systems, employee training, data encryption, email spam filtering, enterprise-grade firewalls, and two-factor authentication are just a few ways to dramatically decrease the potential of a hack affecting your law practice.
If you don’t have an IT firm to help you with all of these services and lock down your law firm’s IT security, give us a call at (860) 785-6233 to learn how we can help.