Even Lawyers Can Get Hacked: Infamous Law Firm Data Breaches

How many data breaches occurred in 2013? Writer John Hawes reports, “In 2164 separate incidents, over 822 million records were exposed…Four of those breaches made the all-time top ten and almost half involved the loss of password data. Hacking accounted for almost 60% of incidents, and over 70% of leaked records.” With the overwhelming amount of cyber-hacks and data breaches that occur against companies each year, this means big money for lawyers, and represents a growing concern amongst their clients. This begs the question: are law firms and those working in the legal system safe from data breaches and cyber attacks? Since 2009, NBC reports, “The FBI has issued an advisory that warns companies of “noticeable increases” in efforts to hack into the law firms’ computer systems — a trend that cyber experts say began as far back as two years ago but has grown dramatically.” So not only are law firms not immune from data breaches and cyber-attacks, they are specifically targeted. What does this mean for law firms that keep most of their files, confidential information, and records onsite? It’s a serious concern for their clients, who could suffer tremendous losses if their information is compromised. Matthew Goldstein from the New York Times writes, “…companies are asking law firms to stop putting files on portable thumb drives, emailing them to nonsecure iPads or working on computers linked to a shared network…In some cases, banks and companies are threatening to withhold legal work from law firms that balk at the increased scrutiny or requesting that firms add insurance coverage for data breaches to their malpractice policies.” What were some of the worst data breaches that affected the legal community in recent history? Read on to find out.

Top Law School Guilty of Leaking Confidential Information

Staci Zaretesky of the popular online legal blog, Above the Law writes, “In March 2014, Loyola Law School in Los Angeles sent out an email with a heap of financial information for the entire graduating class — up to and including Social Security numbers and loan amounts — to some members of the Class of 2014.” How could a law school, whose entire mission is to educate and inform their students of the law, best practices, and proper methodology leak their student’s confidential information? This case makes you question just how safe any of our information is from a data breach.

Leading Lawyer on Cyber-Security Gets Law Firm Hacked

John W. Simek and Sharon D. Nelson of Law Practice Magazine report, “Matt Kesner, the CIO of Fenwick and West LLP, who has lectured at ABA TECHSHOW and acknowledged that his law firm has been breached twice. He noted that it is very unlikely that we are aware of most law firm data breaches since firms have a deeply vested interest in keeping breaches quiet.” Fenwick and West LLP is a prominent law firm in Mountain View, and if a law firm with such a positive reputation and deep knowledgebase of the risks of data breaches could be hacked— what does that mean for the rest of us?

Alabama Law Firm Loses Reputation After YouTube Account is Hacked

Warning: this is one of the strangest cases we’ve come across. Alabama law firm McCutcheon and Hamner was deemed as “racist” after an offensive commercial was released on their YouTube Channel after it was hacked. Can you say damaging to one’s reputation? The law firm released this statement “Attention: McCutcheon and Hamner’s You Tube Channel has been hacked. Our firm did not approve the latest advertising commercial. We apologize to anyone who has watched the commercial. Our IT team has been working all morning to get the commercial taken off YouTube and find the person who is responsible for this action.” Just like any other company dealing with highly confidential information, law firms are targets of data breaches and cyber-attacks. Storing highly sensitive documents onsite is a huge liability and can result in major data breaches that can result in lawsuits or leaking of private information that can be potentially damaging for your company. Learn how you can protect yourselves from data breaches with Corodata today!