News of international ransomware cyber attack serves as a wake up call to law firms

Hayes Connor SolicitorsBy Legal Futures’ Associate Hayes Connor Solicitors

Practices should review the robustness of their cyber security according to a data breach specialist following a report in June of a large-scale ransomware cyber attack affecting 22,000 computers at an international aluminium manufacturer.

The hackers attacked in the evening locking its 35,000 employees out with demands made for money before its systems could be restored. The malicious attack reduced the large workforce to using pen and paper, but the organisation refused to pay instead, spending more than £45 million to return to business as usual.

Kingsley Hayes, managing director at data breach and cyber security specialist Hayes Connor Solicitors, said: “This is the devastating reality of a cyber attack. Hackers are increasingly sophisticated as is evident in the sheer scale of this incident. Law firms are a prime target with the large volume of personal and sensitive data on file and client monies held on account serving as lucrative incentives.

“The SRA reported that £10.7 million of client monies had been stolen due to cyber crime during 2017. The regulator also reported a staggering 52% increase in the number of cyber crime incidents in 2017 compared to the previous year.

“Data protection is serious business and legal practices are amongst the most vulnerable to hackers. The ICO places the legal sector in the top five for data security incidents which is unsurprising.

“As firms continue to invest in a greater use of technology, it is essential to the survival and success of their business to approach cyber security as an ongoing priority.

“The vast majority of data breaches are a result of human error however, one well executed cyber attack can potentially bring a firm to its knees.”

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