Security Issues For Law Firms

The numbers of websites that have been reportedly attacked through security breaches are vast, and the numbers are high but few have been publicly reported with regards to the law sector.

‘It is only a matter of time before a high-profile law firm is breached and fined, resulting in clients looking elsewhere’ (Watson, M. (2015).

In May 2015 www.managingpartner.com reported that there were 72 instances of data security breaches by UK law firms that occurred in 2014. The information came from The Freedom of Information request that was submitted to the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO).

Case studies show that this is a major security issue that legal companies need to address.

CASE STUDIES:

WILLIAM SULLIVAN AND FINANCIAL INFORMATION SERVICES
In May 2007 an employee working for Financial Information Services (FIS) named William Sullivan stole 3.2 million customer records. The stolen records were then sold onto a data broker, who then in-turn, sold on the data to marketing firms.
The result of this data breach meant that FIS were charged with negligence and as a result it cost the company millions of dollars in a class action settlement. The settlement entitled each person whom had suffered financial loss through identity theft, up to $20,000 each.

BHP BILLITON Ltd’ UNSUCCESFUL $38 BILLION BID
In 2010 BHP Billiton Ltd placed a bid of $38 billion for the Canadian based Potash Corporation. Potash Corp. is the world’s largest potash producer and third largest nitrogen and phosphate producer. The Government of Saskatchewan opposed the takeover and the offer was subsequently dropped. Online sources revealed that there was a hostile take over bid and that the Chinese-state owned Sinochem Group were behind the hacks on the Law Firms hired for the negotiation. Sinochem Group later went into a joint venture with Potash Corp.

WILEY REIN LAW FIRM vs THE PEOPLES LIBERATION ARMY
In 2012 Washington D.C. law firm Wiley Rein LLC was reported to have had a security breach within their website and twenty of the victims involved in the attack where known to have had information that could benefit China in becoming the world’s largest economy.  According to http://www.ridethelightning.com, the targets were pursuing claims against exporters and energy companies that were preparing to drill in waters owned by China. The National Security Agency (NSA) and the FBI claimed the attackers were linked to China’s military – The People’s Liberation Army.

 

~ Sam Snook

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