Unfortunately, the global coronavirus epidemic, as well as the increase in individuals working from home, has resulted in an increase in cybercrime. The cost of cybercrime in the United Kingdom is estimated to be £27 billion per year.
The legal industry deals with sensitive data and significant financial transactions, making it an appealing target for cyber thieves who are always seeking new methods to exploit whatever scenario they can.
The Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) issued its analysis of companies that had experienced cyber-security breaches in September 2020, concluding that the effects ‘were frequently disastrous.’ Law firms suffered additional expenditures in the form of higher insurance premiums, wasted time, and harmed client relationships in addition to the money taken.
The SRA posts current scam alerts on its website so that we may all be aware of what to avoid. It also includes a scam round-up to provide a summary of current scam activities.
Steps to improve cyber security that you can take right now
Cyber-attacks may have severe consequences for both clients and legal companies, which may never regain their corporate reputation. It has never been more critical to ensure that safeguards are in place.
A well-practiced and well-communicated incident reaction action plan (IRAP) may assist everyone in understanding their role in a crisis and minimizing the unavoidable effect. This strategy should include:
- The first measures towards securing the situation.
- A public relations/communication strategy for stakeholders, clients, and third parties.
- Keeping a contemporaneous document that tracks the problem, critical facts as they are found, crucial choices, and consequent actions.
- Lessons learned and future security strategies.
There are various accreditations that can assist, such as Cyber Essentials Plus, a government-backed initiative that can show your stakeholders that you take cyber-security seriously.
Law firms can decrease risk and be sure that if a breach occurs, they know how to respond and have everything they need in place with basic planning, training, and the proper technology in place.
Here are some questions to ask to get a sense of where your company stands right now:
- What are the current cyber-crime threats to real estate agents and legal firms?
- What is the state of your present cyber security policies?
- Is there anything new or developing in terms of cyber threats that we should be aware of and consider addressing?
- Do your IT systems have an adequate backup, network, and system protection in place to aid in diagnostics and resolution in the case of a problem?
- Do you have the in-house competence to cope with cyber-security, or do you need to outsource to specialists and have them ready in case you need them?
You might devise a strategy based on the following suggestions:
- It makes no difference how large or little your firm is; plan as though you’re going to be attacked. Anyone might be affected.
- Implement a robust password protocol. For example, insist on password length (minimum 12 characters, more is preferable), and follow the most recent recommendations on creating passwords – for example, by combining three words to make them easier to remember, and mixing in capitals or numerals.
- In the event of a ransomware attack, back up your data often and in many locations (online and offline). Remember to verify the backups on a regular basis.
- Be wary of the most recent phishing scams, which may occur by email, phone, or text. Remember that phishing accounts for around 80% of all assaults.
- Implement a mobile working policy: Ensure that employees who are not located in an office are aware of business policies and procedures in order to prevent sensitive information from being lost, stolen, or compromised. Consider using a VPN as your primary way of remote access.
- Ensure that all employees’ and customers’ personal information is securely secured and that your data protection impact analysis is up to date.
- Invest in employee training: Ensure that employees are aware of the many forms of cyber-attacks and how to report a suspected attack.
- Finally, seek professional guidance. If you don’t have your own cyber-security team, you must rely on specialists and a good technology partner.
More information is available from the National Cyber Security Centre. It has compiled a collection of materials to assist businesses in protecting themselves from cybercrime.