Lawyers Face Increased Cyber Risks During COVID-19 Crisis

Apr 2, 2020

Cyber RisksEveryone is trying to stay safe during the coronavirus outbreak — “shelter in place”, stay-at-home, and remote work has become the new norm. For the legal profession, working from home, however, brings with it another set of risks: cyber infection.

In an industry not yet fully immersed in the nuances of technology, lawyers need to be aware of practicing safe cybersecurity. Since each and every home device and wireless connection presents another point of entry for hackers and other online ne’er do wells, extra caution is needed for those working from home.

In fact, there has already been a significant increase in phishing attacks during the COVID-19 crisis. These hackers are preying upon the fears of those working online, including offering cures or tax breaks, and sometimes using scare tactics. They have also been using Facebook groups, such as those offering updated coronavirus information, like school closings, to insert malware links.

People are more vulnerable to these sorts of things during the crisis, as they focus their attention on the physical safety of themselves and loved ones, rather than suspicious online activity. Remote workers, though, need to be extra vigilant, as these hackers and phishers look to capitalize on the situation.

Home networks are often unsecured, and this can put a law firm’s sensitive data at risk. Attorneys’ normal work patterns have been disrupted, adding to the confusion.

Here are a number of actions law firms can take to help increase cybersecurity for their remote employees during these challenging times:


Educate Employees

Law firms should refresh their policies, making sure all employees are reminded of the protocols. And in light of the current uptick in phishing activities, make sure everyone is aware of what those might look like.


Update Security Policies

There are a number of activities that lawyers wouldn’t have thought of doing in the past, that in the new world order could be high risk. These need to be addressed and prevented. Examples include:

  • Using personal emails to send sensitive information
  • Discussing law firm business on social media
  • Using unsecured, public wireless connections to conduct business
  • Screen-sharing mishaps while using video conferencing tools

Related to this, firms should offer up-to-date anti-virus software for attorneys’ personal devices.


Review and Update Data Breach Response Plan

Finally, make sure employees know exactly what to do and who to contact in the event of a security breach.

These are unsettling and unprecedented times for everyone. Of course, personal health and safety comes first. But the legal professional should be devoting a keen eye to the remote work environment, as cyber infection can also be disastrous for businesses.

xchangedocs from Korbitec is one of those legal technologies that can help, by reducing the risk of sending legal documents through unsecured means such as email or public file sharing tools. Learn more at korbitec.ca/xchangedocs/.