Common Cybersecurity Threats Facing Law Firms

Technology for businesses is a double-edged sword. On one side, employees can now collaborate remotely, data organization and analysis are easier, companies have new channels for marketing, and losses are at an all-time low due to tracking systems. 

On the other hand, technology has introduced avenues for hackers and other malicious persons to attack businesses. Statistics show that reported cybercrimes in the U.S. cost businesses a total of $3.5 billion in 2019, up from $2.71 billion in the previous year.

Law firms make a perfect target for cybercrime because they hold sensitive information that criminals can use to blackmail clients. Due to this, law firms bear more consequences because their reputation suffers in the process. Some are forced to close shop, while others bear the brunt of lawsuits. 

One of the ways to protect your law firm is to understand the common cybersecurity threats facing the legal industry. From here, you can then take strategic prevention measures.


This is, by far, the most common cybercrime threat facing law firms and other types of businesses. 

Phishing occurs when a criminal tricks an unknowing user into clicking a malicious link. Normally, these links have been altered to look legit or appear to come from genuine sources, such as your accountant or a potential client. These cybersecurity threats commonly occur through social media, text messages, and emails. In some cases, clicking on these links gives the hacker unauthorized access to your firm’s network and data systems.  

To prevent these attacks in your law firm, ensure that your employees are well-trained to identify potential phishing attempts.

Data Diddling

Data diddling is the illegal activity of altering sensitive data before or when feeding it into a computer system. The perpetrator then changes back the data to its original form after processing. 

This type of attack is difficult to track or detect and is commonly carried out by someone within the organization. Individuals with full access to computer systems, such as an accountant or data clerk or even executive leaders, can alter data to their own advantage. 

Conduct routine data checks to detect any data anomalies early into a data diddling scheme. 


This is a common type of malware attack that has cost numerous law firms millions of dollars. 

A cybercriminal first uses malicious software, such as viruses, rootkits, and backdoor entries, to access your law firm network. They might deny you access to sensitive data or even the entire system until you pay a particular amount of money. Unfortunately, paying up does not guarantee that you will regain access to your data. 

Preventing ransomware attacks begins with educating employees on how to identify malicious links and performing regular system vulnerability tests. 

Hijacking Emails

Email hijacking is a common type of cyberfraud where hackers intercept your email server, enabling them to send malicious messages through real accounts. 

For instance, a client might receive an email from their Orange County car accident lawyer requesting access to sensitive information associated with a lawsuit. This attack can be difficult to detect and prevent because messages are sent through true email accounts.  

Implementing two-factor authentication measures can alert you when someone attempts to access your email account.

Data Breaches

Unauthorized data leaks can have long-lasting effects on a law firm’s reputation. Cybercriminals targeting the legal industry are always out to get their hands on sensitive client information. 

Data breaches can be conducted through one or a combination of other cybersecurity threats discussed above. 

Detecting and mitigating data breach attempts require proactive measures, such as installing antiviruses, implementing access control, and investing in intrusion prevention systems (IPS).

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