Recently, FBI agent Mary Galligan warned that the FBI knows of hundreds of law firms that have been targeted by hackers. Whether it’s a 12-attorney firm that filed a $2.2 billion lawsuit against the Chinese government, or global AmLaw-100 law firms, lawyers are increasingly the target of hacktivists, cyber criminals, and foreign governments.
Why are law firms targeted? Hackers are financially motivated and law firms’ computer systems are perceived as being more easily accessible than those of their clients . More importantly, law firms are a repository of extremely valuable confidential information—information that, in the wrong hands, can be worth billions of dollars. Couple these challenges with pressures to keep current with technology and exchange information effortlessly with clients and you have a recipe for cyber disaster. The expenses in responding to an information security breach can be significant. Moreover, attorneys have ethical, common law and contractual obligations to protect client confidences. Failure of law firms to take appropriate steps to protect client data could have disastrous consequences including malpractice claims, bar complaints, or serious damage to a firm’s reputation.
|This post was part of our SPOTLIGHT ON CYBER: Is Any Industry Safe?, published June 25, 2013. The feature also included these other risks:|