Saturday, June 30, 2012

Law firms are a prime target for hackers

Mobile devices and apps provide multiple avenues for hackers to access confidential information

Laptops, cell phones and mobile apps for devices such as iPhones and Androids keep us constantly connected to friends, family and colleagues. Unfortunately, they also may be connecting lawyers to predatory hackers, according to an article in the Wall Street Journal.

Law firms are a prime target for hackers seeking to access valuable confidential information, such as documents related to upcoming mergers and acquisitions or litigation. Over the past few years, several Canadian and U.S. law firms have been targeted by hackers linked to Chinese computers, according to the article. In 2010, lawyers at Gipson Hoffman & Pancione received emails—ostensibly from members of the firm—that were designed to steal data from their computers.

At the time, the firm was representing a software company in a $2.2 billion lawsuit against the Chinese government and computer manufacturers. Emails are just one way for hackers to retrieve sensitive information. Popular cloud storage applications such as Dropbox, for instance, afford lawyers the convenience of accessing their files on multiple devices.

But these applications potentially leave information vulnerable to third parties—Dropbox reserves the right to turn over files in response to legal or regulatory requests.

To protect data security, many firms are advising attorneys to take increased security measures, such as encrypting messages, avoiding free Wi-Fi connections, password protecting their devices and deleting suspicious emails or text messages.

Read the full story at the Wall Street Journal.

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