Justice Under Attack: How Cybercriminals Target the Legal Sector

Justice Under Attack: How Cybercriminals Target the Legal Sector

Cybercriminals are increasingly enticed by the volume of sensitive data law firms maintain. They thrive not just on the sensitivity of the data but also on the scope and detail of data they can dig up from a successful breach on a single firm, especially if it’s from a large firm. When breaches occur, your law firm is put in a vulnerable position: to comply with the cyber criminals’ demands and lose money or risk having their clients’ confidential data out in public.

Confidentiality is a core principle of the legal profession. Unfortunately, as cybercrime rises, it jeopardizes the client’s privacy of sensitive information and a firm’s reputation. In addition, law firms might have additional compulsory obligations under HIPAA to protect certain types of data, such as personal health information. Failure to do so puts them at risk of legal and regulatory consequences.

The Landscape of Cyber Threats

No law firm can afford a data breach regardless of its practice area, size, or location. However, despite the heightened awareness of these risks, many law firms still need to catch up on industry best practices. To stay ahead of the attackers, law firms must remain up-to-date with the latest cyber security threats and trends. Cybersecurity threats to law firms can be both direct and indirect and primarily include:

Phishing Attacks

Are an attempt by cybercriminals posing as legitimate institutions to try and trick users into sharing sensitive information or personal data or taking actions that make them vulnerable to a cyber-attack. Phishing is often done through emails, text messages, phone calls, or websites designed to deceive or manipulate users into sending information or assets to the wrong people. For example, your client’s email is janedoe@email.com, but criminals contact you through the email janedoe1@email.com in an attempt to make them look legitimate. 

Law firms can protect themselves and their information from phishing attacks using secure passwords and multi-factor authentication.

Ransomware Attacks

Ransomware is malware that infiltrates a firm’s network and encrypts or seizes its information until a ransom is paid. The attack can come in multiple forms, often by unknowingly clicking a malicious link or downloading an infected file. Moreover, while the goal of a ransomware attack is usually extortion, there is still no guarantee that paying will release hold of your files or prevent data leakage. During such an attack, time is of the essence to ensure quick response and avoid crippling losses, both monetary and proprietary. It is, therefore, essential to have a playbook on how to recover from ransomware attacks that details all the steps you need to take next.

Data Breaches

Law firm data breaches often happen through malware, phishing attacks, hacks, or email spoofing. According to the American Bar Association Legal Technology Survey Report of 2022, 27% of law firms report having experienced a security breach at some point. Law firms have an ethical and fiduciary responsibility to protect their client’s information. A breach not only leads to a loss of customer confidence but also damages the reputation of a law firm. Take the example of the 2016 Panama Papers hack, where Panama-based firm Mossack Fonseca lost 2.6 Terabytes of data, costing the firm its reputation to date.

Insider Threats

Insider threats refer to employees who intentionally or unsuspectingly compromise your cyber security. The hybrid working environment has opened up multiple entry points for potential attackers. If employees, for example, are careless with their passwords, bad actors can gain easy access to sensitive data.

Best Practices for Cybersecurity in Law Firms

How should you optimize your cyber security approach and safeguard your law firm’s data against cyber criminals? As technology evolves, cybercriminals are also becoming sophisticated, making it increasingly challenging to protect your business. However, once you understand that cybersecurity is a continuous process, you can embrace an effective holistic approach that takes into account the following:

Employee Training and Awareness

Cybersecurity is not just the responsibility of your IT team. All employees must be aware of the cyber risks they may encounter in their various roles. The first step towards cybersecurity starts with knowledge. Create a cyber situational awareness (CSA) highlighting your critical assets, common threats, and how to respond to those threats. Training will also help employees learn to recognize the signs of cyber threats like ransomware and how to avoid them. Training needs to be ongoing to stay on top of the best practices, even if you rely on managed IT services for law firms.

Multi-Factor Authentication

A good password is your first line of defense against an attacker. Consider all the services and systems your law firm relies on and ensure that strong, complex passwords protect them. To get people to use secure passwords, make it more convenient by employing multi-factor authentication (MFA). When MFA is enabled, users must provide two authentication factors to access a system.

When MFA is enabled, an attacker cannot access your data even if they have a password because they still require additional credentials like biometrics, SMS codes, USB keys, or PIN to get access.

Regular Software Updates

Outdated software and operating systems can present vulnerabilities attackers may exploit to access your systems. Updating software fixes this by optimizing performance and fixing bugs. Also, consider regularly adding patches to your system to reduce security gaps.

Outsource Managed IT Services

Outsourcing for third-party assistance for IT services for law firms is a conventional method for filling the gaps within your IT team—allowing your firm, regardless of its scope, to incorporate services and experts into its processes and improve efficiency. Leveraging managed law firm IT solutions has the following benefits:


Outsourcing law firm IT services to a managed service provider is more cost-effective than maintaining an in-house IT department. You get to avoid upfront costs associated with purchasing and maintaining IT infrastructure, and you only access required services at a predictable and managed cost. Outsourcing is also an opportunity to maximize expert help that you would otherwise not be able to afford with an in-house team. This improves efficiency and security and allows your firm to remain competitive by focusing on other core functions. 

Expertise and Compliance

The legal industry is highly regulated, meaning that there are a lot of laws and compliance requirements you must meet. Managed service providers can help with compliance management by conducting comprehensive security assessments and audits on your firm’s IT infrastructure and system. They are also scalable, which allows them to grow along with your firm and swiftly respond to changes in procedures and regulations.

Focus On Core Competencies

Managed IT services will improve your firm’s productivity by ensuring your systems and networks are always available and running. They have a faster response time, with most offering round-the-clock support, providing access to specific skill sets your firm requires. Moreover, they also provide you with the latest technology on the market.

Risk Mitigation

Outsourcing IT services can help your law firm fill skills that can make you vulnerable without the associated cost of hiring an in-house employee. It also brings in deep experience regarding potential risks and their solutions. This ability to benefit from outside expertise is a crucial advantage of outsourcing. As IT services experts, they can streamline your operations and ensure that your systems are protected more effectively than if you were doing it on your own.

Tailored Solutions for Your LA Law Firm

Managing cybersecurity risks is an ongoing challenge. However, many law firms lack the internal skills, knowledge, and resources to facilitate comprehensive cybersecurity. While you can’t guarantee that a breach won’t occur, you can optimize your law firm’s cybersecurity approach to drastically minimize the chances of it happening.

We Solve Problems IT provides effective IT solutions tailored for organizations based in Los Angeles. We simplify IT solutions to streamline your workflow and productivity. Contact us today to learn more about our managed IT services.

An MSP can help with CMMC compliance

What Is CMMC and How Will It Impact Your Organization?

Many businesses have critical data that needs to be protected. This sensitive data frequently undergoes backup and finds storage on a network or hard drive, with multiple security measures in place. As a result, the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) created a program called the Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification (CMMC) to establish a standardized model to certify a company’s level of security compliance.

This certification is critical to those companies which work directly with the DoD.  For more than 300,000 companies that are part of the federal supply chain, the CMMC certifies security levels to enable these partnerships. The CMMC ensures that these contractors secure sensitive information similarly to the United States government or other large organizations for more effective partnerships.

However, CMMC requirements are subject to change. There is a temporary five-year phase-in period. During this time, CMMC compliance is only required for certain government contracts. Regardless, the CMMC has a significant impact on many organizations and businesses. Keep reading to learn more about how CMMC and how We Solve Problems IT can help your organization!

The Purpose of CMMC

Before understanding how the CMMC will help your business, it is important to understand its purpose. In 2017, the DoD mandated many contractors to complete a Plan of Actions and Milestones as well as a System Security Plan. The purpose was to assess their cybersecurity according to NIST 800-171 standards.

By 2019 the regulations were not being met, so the DoD commissioned new standards in response. These new standards are now known as the CMMC. Before this, contractors had to implement their own standards for storing data and generating their own protective services. Put simply, the CMMC introduced standards for data classification and security, assessed by a third-party for compliance.

Why is it Important?

The CMMC is important for two main reasons: compliance and certification. First, it establishes several security guidelines for companies to meet. Since technology is constantly evolving, IT needs to advance along with it — with that comes updates to CMMC compliance standards. IT professionals are better able to keep up with these evolving standards.

Maintaining CMMC compliance increases a company’s protection against cyber threats. The DoD continually assesses cybersecurity attack vectors in order to build the specific standards and regulations clearly outlined in the CMMC and protect all parties.

Second, CMMC allows companies to be certified as trustworthy vendors, which can remove roadblocks to DoD contracts. The federal government needs to be able to rely on its vendors to protect sensitive information regarding the government and its affairs, whether domestic or foreign.  

How Does This Impact Businesses?

The CMMC helps keep compliance when it comes to cyber security. In fact, the CMMC has directly impacted contractors in two ways. The primary impact is the enforcement of regulated standards for data security. This takes the guesswork out of having to create your own structures for cybersecurity. 

The second impact is financial. In order to work with the DoD, defense contractors are required to engage a third party to complete this CMMC assessment. In order to certify security compliance, businesses may face higher costs.

The CMMC can be a barrier when it comes to money. Small businesses and organizations cannot always afford to invest in the necessary technology. And without the necessary technology, companies may not have optimal security in place to compete in federal contracts. 

Luckily, there are several different levels of CMMC compliance: targeting the correct level for your engagement can help reduce costs for companies with lower compliance requirements. This helps mitigate costs overall.

Preparation for Your Organization

Now that you have a better understanding of CMMC and its impact on your business, it is important to know how it can directly affect you. While the finalized guidelines are not public, contractors must be ready to deal with certain things. These things typically include:

  • Ensuring the organization has a full understanding of its current cybersecurity standing. This also includes reviewing the cybersecurity in place alongside certain compliance such as NIST 800-171. This also includes completing a self-assessment so that businesses know where they can make improvements when it comes to security.
  • Updating current security measures is also standard practice when meeting DoD standards. Certain CMMC requirements may have already been met, so organizations can leverage this when looking to meet CMMC requirements.
  • Certain operational risk is inevitable. However, cloud-based managed services can help organizations prevent this risk and become CMMC compliant.

We Solve Problems Can Help with Compliance

At this point, you have seen the benefits of CMMC compliance. You can use it to better your organization when you understand how to prepare for implementation and how it can impact your business. However, there is one place in particular where you can begin your search for someone who can help you with full compliance. 

If you’re ready to start your CMMC compliance journey, We Solve Problems IT is here to help. Simply contact them online or call 310-998-7070 to get in touch with the team!