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Ransomware, a type of malicious software that encrypts files, blocks access to computer systems and then requires an anonymous payment to get it back unharmed, has the ability to make a dramatic and devastating impact on any type of business and its clients. TechTarget states ransomware is an absolute pandemic and BBC News reports that more than 120 types or “families” of ransomware currently exist. While there have been a number of attacks on large banks and corporations that are assured to have heavily fortified systems, hackers are also using ransomware to target smaller businesses, such as law firms.
Law firms are unfortunately targeted due to their sensitive, confidential data, such as contract negotiations, trade secrets, mergers and acquisitions, financial data, divorce details, personal injuries and more. Digital intruders know that having access to this confidential information is troubling to clients, making law firms more likely to pay to get their data back safely. In doing so, this process can cost law firms a great deal of money and will undeniably ruin even the best reputation.
While some law firms may feel they are unaffected by this cybersecurity epidemic, it only takes one click of a mouse to quickly become infected with ransomware. Oftentimes, it occurs when staff opens attachments within fraudulent emails. These emails may appear to contain important client data or a shipping confirmation, but it is just disguised malware, which can an infiltrate their computer—and any computer associated with that computer’s network. Microsoft Malware Protection Center notes your firm’s infrastructure can also become exposed to ransomware when employees access fake or suspicious websites.
Keeping your data and applications safe and secure from ransomware attacks, while increasing your clients’ awareness of malicious software, requires collaboration with your internal IT department and/or managed IT provider. Here are five things you can do to better protect your firm and clients:
1. Perform a Security Audit
As stated earlier, law firms store and access personal and confidential information on a daily basis. It is crucial that firms make certain this data is kept safe and unharmed at all times. In doing so, your firm should perform a security audit– the process of testing and identifying vulnerabilities in your organization’s IT infrastructure in order to ensure that your company assets are fully protected.
3. Increase Levels of Security
Hackers tend to focus on systems that are easy to access. So the more levels of security you have, the more likely they will move on to avoid wasting time and effort.
It’s important to secure all of your systems, not just your hardware. By implementing network-wide security solutions, such as anti-virus, web filtering, firewalls and password protection, your hardware and employee devices will have the same level of security. Data should never be protected by a single password, no matter how creative or complex that single password may be. Digital intruders have the intelligence to hack into systems, track keystrokes and uncover patterns to consequently gain access to data. When a hacker has full access to private data, including emails, social media accounts, or personal and financial details, your firm is at risk to fall victim to fraudulent acts, which can result in a ruined reputation and create costly lawsuits.
As mentioned earlier, emails containing suspicious attachments and fake websites can lead to your firm becoming infected with ransomware. To minimize the likelihood of your staff opening these types of emails or websites, collaborate with your internal IT department to develop and implement cybersecurity training courses. Cybersecurity training courses will help educate your staff on the different types of ransomware threats.
Firms should consider disallowing files with certain extensions in mail attachments that are unnecessary to your business and ensuring that the programs which are allowed to open attachments are up to date. Having out-of-date programs leaves too much room for error when dealing with cybersecurity threats. Administrative personnel should take initiative by only permitting approved programs to be opened and only allowing users to modify files needed to do their work. Files staff have no reason to modify should be restricted to ‘read only’ access for them.
In addition, your organization can conduct research using websites like ID Ransomware, and follow IT-related current events in order to alert your staff to the different variations of ransomware that are striking companies across industries. Once your employees become well-versed on threats and how to avoid them, then they can pass along their knowledge to your clients as advisory services.
Examining your IT infrastructure, updating security measures, and educating staff and clients will help you protect not only your organization, but your client base.
While keeping up with cybersecurity threats in an IT industry driven by constant innovation can be challenging, relying on your IT department and providing them with the resources they need to stay informed will enable them to keep you up and running at all times. And if they appear to be falling behind, don’t be afraid to see outside help. A cloud service provider with extensive experience and knowledge can help beef up your security practices.
Besides providing the best legal services to your clients, your firm’s top priority must be keeping your IT infrastructure and your clients’ data safe from any cybersecurity threats, including ransomware. Ransomware isn’t going away any time soon- if anything, these types of malware will continue to become more dangerous- so consider taking these steps now.
Cetrom Support fixed all of my problems, their engineers are very professional, courteous, friendly and very efficient. If all customer service out there was like...- Mid-sized