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Cybercrime targeting law firms, on the rise

by Michael Bailey | 6 June 2016

In recent months we have seen a number publicised incidents in which prominent law firms are being targeted with cybercrime.  It’s big money for the criminals who are preying on easy targets that don’t see it coming. QBE states that £85m has been stolen in the legal industry within the last 18 months and very little ever being recovered.
As more and more law firms move to online case management systems and cloud based computers, it’s now easier than ever to hack into a firm’s data.  Sensitive data, payment details, access to contact your clients - think of the damage that could be done.
Malware is the common type of attack, brought in by opening suspicious email attachments, visiting harmful websites and removable drives.  Fraudsters are also able to access your data and hold it hostage until you make a significant payment to them. 
Hacking someone’s password or via an unsecured WiFi is also an easy route, we commonly use the same password for all of our logins, it’s easier as everything these days has a password. However, once someone knows one password, they will know them all. 
One common end route is bogus emails from the firm, once into your systems the fraudsters are able to email your clients from your own email, an example could be that the firm has recently changed their bank account details and all future monies should be sent to XXX.

In recent month’s clients emails have been hacked, when a firm emails their client, the fraudsters are able to delete that email and replace with their own.  The most vulnerable person here is the client - they can unknowingly be sending their deposit for their new home away from the firm.  
Whilst there is no way to stop every type of attack there are many prevention methods, daily backups, anti-virus and malware, a strong IT policy and making clients aware will all reduce risk and liability. As it is big money, insurers are starting to increase premiums and ask what measures firms are doing to stop it.
Here are Sellick Partnership we work with a number of specialists who are able to assist from advising and implementing processes and procedures to help tackle this problem.  

If you have any questions or would like any advice please get in contact with the legal team by calling 0113 243 9775. For further industry updates and insights, sign up for our quarterly newsletter.