In the rapidly evolving digital landscape, legal services firms are in the crosshairs of cyber threats due to their invaluable data assets. This article delves into the prevalent risks and consequences and introduces a proactive approach to fortify IT security in the cloud era.
Understanding the Threat Landscape:
Driven by diverse objectives, cybercriminals frequently target legal organizations to pilfer client data and compromise critical legal documents. The most common tactics include:
- Ransomware attacks.
- Distributed Denial-of-Service (DDoS).
- Exploiting vulnerabilities in third-party vendors and Software as a Service (SaaS) applications.
Phishing and Ransomware:
The Canadian Bar Association released articles regarding cybercrime. For example, the Canadian Bar Association has published an article on “Recent trends in cybersecurity” to assist readers with Canada-specific statistics on cybersecurity incidents. The article highlighted an increase of 70% in phishing attacks. It continues to suggest that the threat of cybercrime is not only prevalent but also evolving, making it crucial for organizations to stay vigilant and adopt effective cybersecurity measures.
Additionally, the Canadian firm Blake Cassels & Graydon released the “Canadian Cybersecurity Trends Study 2022,” which discusses the dramatic increase in the number and perniciousness of cyberattacks in Canada.
These articles and reports provide valuable insights into the cybercrime landscape in Canada and its impact on the legal profession.
DDoS and SaaS Vulnerabilities:
Legal firms are also susceptible to DDoS attacks, causing server overload and potential offline status. Additionally, inadequate security measures in third-party vendors and SaaS applications can lead to significant breaches.
Consequences of Cyber Attacks:
A successful cyber attack can have immediate financial repercussions, with ransomware payments reaching millions. According to a new survey, the average ransomware payment made by mid-sized Canadian companies this year was just over $1 million.
The survey of IT professionals at 1,000 organizations with between 100 and 1,000 employees, done for Palo Alto Networks, was released Thursday. Called “The Canadian Ransomware Barometer”, it found that while the volume of ransomware attacks here had decreased since the last study two years ago, the average ransom paid was $1.13 million. That’s a 150 percent increase over 2021.
Of most businesses that paid ransoms, just over half paid more than $500,000. By comparison, only 29 percent paid over that amount in 2021.
In the face of these challenges, legal firms can significantly bolster their IT security through a proactive methodology focused on more profound insights and best practices.
The Proactive Approach:
- Beware of Phishing Emails: Exercise caution with phishing emails — if you suspect one, report it promptly. Ransomware often spreads through phishing emails containing malicious attachments. These deceptive emails mimic legitimate communication, tricking recipients into clicking links, opening attachments, or divulging sensitive information. Implement a browser-based security that uses proactively scans content clicked links.
- Keep devices updated with the latest software patches. Cybercriminals exploit software vulnerabilities to propagate ransomware. Software vulnerabilities are weaknesses in a program that hackers target. Address this by applying software patches, which fix security vulnerabilities. Implement a patch management solution that patches operating systems as well as any third-party applications.
- Encrypted files.
Encrypting files is crucial for cybersecurity as it ensures the confidentiality and protection of sensitive information. It helps comply with regulatory requirements, mitigates insider threats, enables secure data transmission, and acts as a defense against ransomware attacks. Encryption is a fundamental practice to safeguard intellectual property, whether stored locally or in the cloud, providing a comprehensive and effective layer of defense against various cyber threats.
- Backup local and cloud data.
Backing up both local and cloud data is of paramount importance in defending against ransomware attacks and avoiding the need to pay ransoms. In the face of escalating cyber threats, having comprehensive and regularly updated backups serves as a resilient strategy to recover critical information in the event of a ransomware incident. By maintaining local backups, organizations ensure quick restoration of data without succumbing to the extortion demands of cybercriminals.
The importance of a monitored backup system cannot be overstated, as regular monitoring allows for the early detection of anomalies or irregularities that may indicate a ransomware attack in progress. In the unfortunate event of a ransomware attack, organizations with a robust and monitored backup system can confidently restore their systems and data, minimizing downtime and preserving business continuity.
- Insight into SaaS Infrastructure and Shadow IT.
Implement a third-party risk management program to identify vulnerabilities in third-party cloud services and prevent supply chain attacks. Risk management application provides a comprehensive view of SaaS applications across the organization. It classifies risks and assesses organizational productivity, allowing firms to categorize apps by security, financial, or productivity risk levels. The multi-tenant solution fosters collaboration and empowers security partners to enhance SaaS security and productivity.
- Protecting Microsoft 365 and Critical Cloud Applications:
Leverage a state-of-the-art platform to Secure, audit and monitor security policy enrollment, reducing the risk of breaches. With millions of daily fraudulent sign-in attempts on Microsoft Office 365, Atrix10 Secure addresses blind spots, enhances security posture, and offers global Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) visibility. Custom reporting lets you track your security score improvements, providing tangible value through a customer-facing Quarterly Business Review (QBR) report.
Conclusion and Next Steps:
As legal firms navigate the surge in cyber threats, a proactive two-step strategy offers a robust defence. To build a tailored security roadmap for your firm and mitigate the risk of data breaches, reach out today. Let us collaboratively design a security plan to safeguard your legal practice in the dynamic digital landscape.
Articles of reference:
Canadian Bar Association – Recent trends in cybersecurity (cba.org)
Canadian mid-sized firms pay an average $1.13 million to ransomware gangs | IT World Canada News
Canada Ransomware Whitepaper 2023.pdf (paloaltonetworks.com)