Quite apart from the widespread disruption that COVID has wrought on all of our lives, you could also be mistaken for thinking that we were in the middle of some kind of ‘cyber war’. Not a day seems to go by without another headline telling us about the latest cyberattack, data theft or ransomware scenario. And for reasons that we will cover here, the pandemic has actually brought cybersecurity very much to the fore due to the technology demands placed by a largely remote and network-challenged workforce. And the legal profession is no different in this respect. Imagine having to tell all of your clients that cybercriminals were now in receipt of all of their data. Law firms handle significant volumes of confidential and sensitive information and client funds as part of their daily work. Like many other sectors, the legal profession is delivering and transacting in an increasingly online fashion – indeed there is a drive to become paperless. Firms need to be especially attentive towards the threat of any cyber attack taking into account the massive amount of sensitive and important client data held in their information systems.
And this is not a pie-in-the-sky scenario. Just recently we heard that the law firm acting for companies such as Ford, Boeing, Exxon, Marriott, Walgreen and others, was hacked in an apparent ransomware attack. In this attack it is feared that social security numbers, passport numbers, payment card information, medical information and biometric data were all stolen by cybercriminals. Here in the UK, the London Stock Exchange recently revealed a filing by a UK listed law firm who had suffered a cyber attack – once again, sensitive client information was compromised.