Why Would A Small Law Firm Be An Attractive Target For A Cyber Criminal?
Regardless of size, any and every law firm is an attractive target for a cyber criminal. Think about it. Law firms serve clients of all shapes and sizes in every sector of our economy and thus a significant amount of the data residing on law firm networks, backup drives, laptops, PCs, and mobile devices is highly sensitive and/or personally identifiable information. Corporate documents, trade secrets, correspondence, financial information, social security numbers, names and addresses, and bank account numbers are examples of the type of information cyber criminals are after. Couple this with the reality that many lawyers are also regularly involved in moving money on behalf of their clients and you can begin to understand why any law firm would be on the radar of cyber criminals.
Making matters worse is the reality that many lawyers who practice in the solo or small firm setting don’t view themselves as an attractive target due to firm size. As a result, fewer financial resources tend to be devoted to cyber security than perhaps should be, often little to no ongoing cyber security training occurs, and cyber criminals are all too aware. When it comes to trying to breach a network or perpetrate a cyber crime like wire fraud, cyber criminals simply view smaller firms as the low hanging fruit.
If up until now you’ve failed to fully appreciate the level of cyber crime risk your firm faces, the good news is you can choose to do something about it. Don’t continue to play the part of a fool because remaining in denial about how valuable a target your firm actually is places you and your clients in a very precarious situation.
Authored by: Mark Bassingthwaighte, Risk Manager
Since 1998, Mark Bassingthwaighte, Esq. has been a Risk Manager with ALPS, an attorney’s professional liability insurance carrier. In his tenure with the company, Mr. Bassingthwaighte has conducted over 1200 law firm risk management assessment visits, presented over 600 continuing legal education seminars throughout the United States, and written extensively on risk management, ethics, and technology. Mr. Bassingthwaighte is a member of the State Bar of Montana as well as the American Bar Association where he currently sits on the ABA Center for Professional Responsibility’s Conference Planning Committee. He received his J.D. from Drake University Law School.