Hackers Are Targeting Law Firms

Cyber attacks against law firms are on the rise, and that means attorneys have to develop skills for the digital age in order to protect their clients’ secrets. Law firms send millions of gigabytes of confidential information though cyberspace every day. Much of their business is conducted using email, smart phones and other mobile devices. These new tools offer tempting targets for hackers who consider law firms as easy targets to get inside information on mergers, patents and other deals. Lawyers now need to encrypt emails, protect their smart phones and iPads with sophisticated passwords. Even text messages can link to malware that records keystrokes or conversations. The smaller the firm the more difficult it is for them to put in the proper controls and to educate all of the staff. Generally statistics on law firm cyber attacks are not kept, and few firms are willing to publicly disclose a breach for fear of damaging their reputations, but internal vigilance could very well soon become a professional duty for all lawyers. Several bar associations have advised their members that keeping up with technology and taking reasonable steps to protect client information from being stolen are part of their ethical obligations. In fact this summer, the American Bar Association is expected comment on whether to incorporate such requirements into its model rules of professional conduct, which serve as a guide for state bar associations.

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