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Hackers to Law Firms - "You are the weakest link!"

il y a 9 mois

Most lawyers do not realize that hackers are targeting them, but their firms are at risk and they need to make sure to have comprehensive security programs in place. 


Hacking Lawyers Can Be Lucrative

Late last year, three Chinese citizens were charged with federal crimes for making more than $4 million by trading on knowledge that they obtained by hacking into law firms.  They targeted big New York City firms that were involved in mergers and acquisitions.  Apparently, stolen information on M&A activity can be quite lucrative.  In one situation, a hacked law firm was working on the sale of an American drug maker to a Swiss company and the sale of a U.S. microchip manufacturer to another American company.  The hackers broke into the firm’s servers after getting ahold of an employee's login credentials and then installed malware that allowed them to obtain information about the ongoing deals. 


The men used what they learned about these two planned deals to buy stock in the involved companies on the open market.  Indeed, when the mergers became public the stock prices rose and the hackers made a lot of money.  As a result, once they were caught, the three men were charged with both insider trading and with making unlawful computer intrusions.  It is worth remembering that the companies involved in the merger do not appear to have been compromised themselves, it was only their law firms that were attacked.


Lawyers Must Take Steps to Protect Their IT Systems  

Experts talking about the case were quoted as saying that hackers have identified law firms as the weakest link in cybersecurity, including the two large, sophisticated firms involved in this case.  Knowing they are under attack, lawyers must recognize their obligations to protect the privacy of client information.  In Canada, the Bar Association’s Ethics and Professional Responsibility Committee has made security a key component of a lawyer’s ethical obligations.  The Committee says that the confidential data of clients must be protected by both physical and technological means.  On the physical side, that means items like locked files and laptop tracking.  On the technological side, that means firewalls, intrusion detection software, and anti-viral or anti-malware software.  A law firm must also have organizational security policies and training in place.  


            For American lawyers, the American Bar Association Model Rules of Professional Conduct have incorporated technology into the basic Rule 1.1 requirement that an attorney must be competent.  In a comment to the rule, the Bar Association says a lawyer must “keep abreast of changes in the law and its practice, including the benefits and risks associated with relevant technology.”  Model Rule 1.6 also requires lawyers to safeguard against the unauthorized disclosure of information, including reasonable efforts to prevent unauthorized access.  


iT Mangoes Can Be Your One-Stop Shop

            Many lawyers fall short of their ethical obligations because they lack the computer skills needed to safeguard client information.  In that situation, hiring an experienced outside operator is the way to go.  iT Mangoes brings to the table a top-notch team that has provided IT services to some of the largest software, retail, manufacturing, and government agencies in Canada and the United States.  We also work with law firms to keep them on top of evolving technology and security threats.  If you think your law firm might be falling short, book us for a free assessment at You can also send us an email at or call us at (289) 499-3111


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