By Marco Maggio – When it comes to ransomware, hackers don’t discriminate—every business, and every industry, is fair game. With ransomware shutting down a boutique Rhode Island law firm and the latest Petya attack placing global biglaw squarely in its crosshairs, it’s becoming clear that hackers have set their sights on the legal world.
A Ransomware (Wiper-Ware) in Disguise
To make matters even more harrowing, the latest Petya “ransomware” attack appears not to be ransomware at all. According to industry experts, it’s actually a “wiper-ware” whose purpose is to create chaos and obliterate files altogether. This is not good news for law firms, whose livelihood depends on safeguarding sensitive case files, court documents, and client trust.
A wiper-ware—or ransomware—type of attack takes cybersecurity disaster to a whole new level by encrypting files, blocking access to computers, and demanding a ransom…then ultimately destroying the victim’s files anyway.
Client Cybersecurity Audits Mean Business Losses for Unprepared Law Firms
For law firms, cybersecurity disasters raise all sorts of legal and business concerns. Even a minor attack can jeopardize critical attorney-client privilege, endanger time-sensitive case progress, and permanently damage a firm’s reputation in the long run.
As part of the hiring process, in light of the recent uptick in ransomware and other cyber attacks, clients are demanding that their lawyers have a proven cybersecurity plan in place. The American Lawyer reports that 34 percent of law firms have undergone a client cyber audit—and according to a recent survey, industry experts expect that number to increase to 65 percent by 2018.