Current cyber security processes that lawyers use can put their client data at risk, according to a new research done in Australia.
Researchers from Edith Cowan University’s Security Research Institute carried out a survey of 122 lawyers regarding their cyber security conduct. This survey revealed the lack of knowledge among the lawyers in regards to cyber hygiene.
Key findings from the research showed that
- Around 11% of the lawyers had no antivirus software on their work computers
- 41% had no clue what cyber security countermeasures were put in their smartphones
- 64% of the lawyers reported using free public Wi-Fi
- 53% lawyers forwarded work-related emails to a non-business email account such as Gmail or Hotmail
- 94% used email to send confidential data and only 9.4% used encryption to protect their clients data.
Mike Johnstone, researcher Associate Professor claimed that there were some serious flaws in the way that the lawyers were protecting themselves from cyber-attack.
He said, “Lawyers, along with doctors, are the two professions which handle most of our confidential information on a day-to-day basis.
It’s incredibly important that their cyber security practices are improved to protect their clients and themselves.
Imagine if a lawyer you’d engaged to draft a will had their email compromised and a cybercriminal gained access to all of the information contained in that will?
Trials could also be affected if key documents related to arguments are inaccessible due to a ransom ware attack like the Wannacry attack in 2017.”
In fact, DLA Piper, one of the largest law firms in the world was hit by the NotPetya attack in 2017 and this attack caused the firm to shut down until the system were restored.
Craig Vail, a professor from ECUSRI claims that vulnerability is not unique to the legal profession.
He said, “ECU is working with the Law Society of WA to provide professional development opportunities for lawyers aimed at improving their knowledge of cyber-security.
What is powerful is the proactive position the Law Society of Western Australia has taken in understanding this and the speed in which training has been deployed against these insights.”
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