Law Firms and Others Facing Increasing Cybercrime

In the past few years there have been myriad news stories about cybersecurity threats at law firms and other companies around the world. Hackers just love a challenge, but more than that, they love overcoming one. And their motivations run the gamut, but when they’re successful, they create lots of problems that can be extremely costly for the targeted organization.

To be sure, law firms aren’t alone. Cybercrime is a major concern today for just about every industry you can name, and it doesn’t seem to be slowing down. In fact, many sources say that it continues to rise. CNBC has reported that the overall cost of cybercrime has exceeded $600 billion.

Why is this happening? For one thing, most professional offices today depend heavily on technology to conduct their daily business, so the same widespread connectivity that helps us do our jobs is also making us vulnerable to cyber attacks.

Law firms are rightfully concerned about cybercrime because of the immense volume of confidential data — legal, financial and personal — that they maintain and transfer online. And law firms specializing in corporate or property law are at even greater risk because of the potential for financial gain by hackers.

Additionally, there have been many news reports in recent years about hackers employing cybercrime to satisfy political, economic or ideological motivations. The truth is that cybercriminals can range from computer buffs looking to have fun to business competitors and even spies or terrorists trying to topple governments.

In any business or legal environment, cybercrime is a threat that must be addressed. Smaller office networks are considered easier to break into since they may have fewer security resources and a smaller IT team than larger ones. All companies need to be aware of what’s happening out in the ether and the consequences that can follow a cyber crimes, and be prepared in the event such an incident does occur.

Email, where cyber criminals are most active, can be extremely vulnerable to phishing attacks. According to Verizon, email is responsible for 92.4 percent of malware. These attacks can take various forms including cleverly disguised messages that appear to be from a familiar source. Another common form of phishing can arrive via attachments that, if opened, can cause major problems. These and other ruses are developed to motivate recipients into divulging confidential information, providing users’ credentials or downloading viruses and other malware.

This is why it behooves all companies to be on guard. You never know when something malicious might arrive in your inbox, and clicking on an errant link could easily start a chain reaction that’s capable of shutting down your company network for hours, even days, at a time.

So what’s the solution? Well, hackers are nothing if not smart, even brilliant. And they’re also devious. The good news is that companies of all types are becoming more and more alert to this growing trend and are actively exploring ways to address it. Head the hackers off at the pass, so to speak.

If you own a company or business that has an in-house network, do everything you can to keep them as safe and worry-fee as possible. This means installing prevention technology that detects problematic emails and cyber attacks before they have an opportunity to enter and infect your system. This way, your network does all the heavy lifting, preventing you and your company from experiencing costly downtime.

Also, teach all the members of your team what to look for, should a malicious email appear in their inbox. This can range from checking the footer of a suspicious-looking message with professionally designed graphics to ensure that it’s really from the sender it claims to be from, to being aware of warnings noted by the system that it might be a malicious email to being very careful about opening attachments that haven’t been scanned by your company’s email system to determine safety.

It’s an old adage that still holds true today: An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.