29
Apr2015

Law Firm Silence over Cybersecurity Threats is Frustrating – and Dangerous

Companies’ data breaches and hackings have become a regular staple of news agencies. Home Depot and Target are just two of the many targeted companies. These cyberattacks range from annoying to menacing. Many result in the exposure of the private data of millions of individuals. This can result in serious financial harm to companies and individuals.

Although the legal industry is especially vulnerable to cyberattacks, it has resisted transparency concerning data breaches and hacking. As a result, a recent report exposed the problems faced to the clients, especially banks.

The Problem Faced by Big Law Firms

Due to the highly confidential digital information stored, Citigroup warned its employees that these organizations are choice targets. A leak or data breach can expose the personal and financial information of large corporate clients such as Citigroup. This, in turn, can lead to serious financial losses by these entities.

To make matters worse for law firm clients, the report indicated that law firms are particularly hesitant to disclose when a data breach occurs. The law firm may view being hacked as a “badge of shame” and attempt to cover up the fact that it occurred. This makes it difficult to track trends and develop procedures to prevent future data breaches.

Law Firms and Other Professionals Need to Reform Their Ways

The report notes that some law firms are taking positive steps to address the threat. A simple step is acknowledging a data breach has occurred. While this may seem obvious, it is still not widely practiced. By reporting a data breach to clients, this allows them an opportunity to mitigate any harm the data breach may cause. Not only this, but prompt reporting of the breach can help law enforcement agencies investigate the breach and find the responsible party. Finally, reporting a data breach can help cybersecurity companies track trends and design more secure solutions for law firms.

Conclusion

The problem the report highlights is not limited to law firms. Many firms that routinely deal with sensitive client information are finding themselves at risk. These organizations do their reputations and clients a disservice by trying to keep data breach incidents hidden. Instead of viewing cyberattacks as a shameful failure, firms ought to work with their clients and law enforcement agencies.

Do you have questions about legal liability after a cyberattack? Reach out to us today for advice at (312) 223-1699.