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Cybersecurity Threats faced by Legal Practitioners in 2020

Did the above data get your attention? How many times have you set and thought about the complexity behind your password, let alone how long it may take for a hacker to crack it access important client information from your firm’s database. And that is just the tip of the iceberg!

  • The kinds of cybersecurity threats faced by legal practitioners across the board are commonly identified as phishing emails, spoofing and virus, spyware, or malware attacks. Law firms 10 years ago were not faced by the level of cybersecurity threats as they do today and as a result need to be aware and better equipped with resources that enables them to feel secure and ensure the same level of security to their clients. In the event that, a hacker does obtain a law firms client information, there is not way to reverse this process. Such a breach of process can only mean reputational damage or even worse, further loss of client funds and compromise of other nature that is usually deemed irreversible and hugely detrimental in most serious instances. The Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA), in the United Kingdom, reported that in 2016-17, over £11 million of client money was stolen due to cybercrime. In the last year alone, 60% of law firms reported an information security incident - almost a 20% increase from the previous 12 months. It’s clear that the cyber threat to the UK legal sector is significant and is growing. So, what are law firms worried about and how does this compare to the views of the experts at the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC)? The answer is that the trends across both sets of research are fairly consistent. The importance of cyber security awareness for the legal industry is more important than ever. The awareness of having proper cybersecurity measures in place for any practice has become one of the highest priorities for law firms globally and one that dictates their calibre and capability to their clients to a large extent. The only way that legal practitioners can prepare themselves and there teams with the ways of preventing their practice from being attacked with cybercrime events, is through educating their team and ensuring that their staff at all levels is aware of the symptoms of a potential hacking event. Early identification of these events can enable prevention of further and more serious cybercrimes as precautionary measures can be taken to prevent the hacker’s efforts from progressing. Also, effective notes can be taken in preparation of cybersecurity risk mitigation strategies that the practice may want to internalise in its firm’s policies as a plan of action for future threats faced. - Anishka Prasad, Founder of RESOLV

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