Law Firms Hit With Ransomware: The Way Forward
Another pandemic, possibly worse than COVID-19, has wormed its way into the legal industry, threatening to bring it to its knees. Five more law firms have joined the alarmingly growing list of firms hit by Ransomware in recent weeks.
What is even more worrying is that these attacks happen in the worst way possible: publicly. When it happens, you won’t be able to hide it from the public, and your clients. The attackers either hold your legal firm at ransom or make your sensitive data available to everyone online. There is no worse nightmare than this.
And Ransomware attacks aren’t a preserve of large firms. Many of the firms reporting attacks are those with 10 or fewer attorneys. The small firms don’t hog the limelight after an attack because it’s the big players that always make headlines. This means that even small law firms need reliable and efficient IT support services from a trusted IT service provider, such as Rekall Technologies.
Ransomware attackers have not spared software companies, either. Some companies that had launched their own cloud hosting offering were also taken down by cyber-criminals, as was the case for TrialWorks, whose clients couldn’t access their data for days. Every law firm needs to make Cybersecurity, especially Ransomware threats, a priority.
What to do to avoid being the next law firm Ransomware headline
To combat the ever-growing threat of ransomware attacks and other Cybersecurity threats, it is imperative that you take preventive measures. Here is a checklist of important measures to undertake to minimize the chances of your law firm being hit by attackers:
Install an antivirus and anti-ransomware
Your ordinary virus protection software won’t be of much help against ransomware. Attackers are always creating new ransomware, whose architecture is unique and keeps changing, making it difficult for your general-purpose vanilla antivirus to detect and fight. Your law firm, as well as your private cloud provider, should have specific anti-ransomware systems in place.
It is also important that your malware protection strategy have multiple layers. Most cyber-attacks, including ransomware, infiltrate your computer systems via email. Your firm needs protection at several levels to seal such loopholes. Every bit of data coming into your law firm needs to undergo the following checks:
- Email or exchange level
- Firewall or perimeter level
- Desktop level
Use enterprise-grade firewalls
Firewalls stand between your computer systems and the internet, helping to protect your systems from external threats such as viruses and ransomware. But not just any firewall will protect your from ransomware. Firewalls come in different grades, ranging from $600 firewalls from Best Buy or OfficeMax to the more effective $10,000 firewalls with AI-like capabilities.
Your small-scale law firm may not really need the massive firewall with AI features, though it is the most effective when it comes to fighting malware. However, you shouldn’t go for the cheapest firewalls because they are likely to let you down. Whichever option you go for, be sure it’s enterprise-grade. It may cost you, but it would be nothing compared to the harm caused by ransomware attacks.
Embark on 24/7 security monitoring
The people and processes behind your cyber-security systems are an essential factor in their efficacy when it comes to fighting security threats. You may have the best firewall or antimalware software in place, but without a professional monitoring them round the clock, and testing them regularly, these systems may be useless.
It would be difficult to spot telltale signs of security breaches, such as failed login attempts, without regular monitoring and checks. You will also be able to identify security vulnerabilities and patch them immediately to prevent cyber-criminals from exploiting them. Remediate known attack patterns, where applicable, and, if possible, block them completely.
Employ 2-Factor Authentication
The most common way data breaches occur in organizations is through compromised passwords. Cyber-criminals have upped their game, and a mere password may not be enough to deter them from breaking into your data systems. Your law firm has to find ways of securing your passwords to prevent a possible comprise.
One efficient way to keep your data safe is using the 2-Factor Authentication (2-FA), which is low-hanging fruit when preventing your passwords from being compromised. 2-FA ensures that even if your password falls into the wrong hands, it won’t be enough to allow entry into your systems. This is because in addition to the password, a second factor must be verified before logging into the system.
Here is how the 2-Factor Authentication works:
- A user logs into the system from virtual desktop, software, or cloud, with their assigned password and username
- The system then prompts the user via their smartphones or email to confirm the login (to prove that it is them trying to login)
- The user accepts the prompt, which may be a code, and which serves as a second factor, to finally log into the system. A person without the second factor can’t log in even if they have the correct password.
Encrypt your data
The rising cases of cyber-attacks against law firms mean that you can’t survive without data encryption. Data encryption makes your data undecipherable to unauthorized people, hence, useless for them. It is vital to keep your data encrypted in-transit and at-rest.
To make your data safe while traveling from one computer to another, in-transit encryption comes in handy, while at-rest secures it when stored on the cloud or on physical storage devices.
The case for ready-made security
Large law firms may have no problems instituting all security measures to safeguard them from possible ransomware attacks. However, their small and mid-size counterparts may face financial and expertise limitations and may want to opt for ready-made security. It would be much easier for such law firms to move their data to a secure private cloud offered by reliable, professional, and experienced IT service providers, like Rekall Technologies.
You won’t necessarily need to reinvent the wheel if you can partner with the right IT service provider to protect your law firm from ransomware attacks. The right provider already has all the security measures in place, and your data is much safer there. Contact us for more information regarding the security of your law firm data.
I’ve been working with law firms for many years simplifying their technologies while offering them the very best services & support. The model that I have created is based on the reality that IT sucks, and frankly, no one likes it. My experience tells me that this is especially true for law firms. In coming to that realization years ago I had to change the way I did business. Among many other services that we had to offer, in order to cater to law firms specifically, we had to become invisible and that’s exactly what we have accomplished.