Report on cybercrime highlights risks for law firms

A new report highlights emails as the prime vulnerability for law firms, as four out of five cybercrime reports to the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) involve email fraud and scams.

The report highlights how digital innovation, particularly in the wake of the pandemic, has led to risk as well as opportunities for firms.

The Risk Outlook report shows how new threats are emerging as criminals use new technology.

The report states that 83 per cent of cybercrimes reported in 2021 involved email, including widespread phishing scams, with conveyancing reported as the most common target.

It also highlights the growing threat of ransomware attacks which steals data as well as encrypting it, with criminals threatening to release the sensitive information of victims.

Ransomware attacks can be random or targeted, with the report warning that firms acting for clients with national infrastructure or for Ukrainian or Russian clients, could be at higher risk.

The report also warns that criminals, responding to firms boosting their IT security systems, could be focussing on new scams such as voice modification software to impersonate the voice of a solicitor on phone calls to clients.

Paul Philip, SRA Chief Executive said: “Law firms are targeted by cybercriminals as they often hold large amounts of client money and/or sensitive information. It is in everyone’s interest that firms take all reasonable steps to protect themselves and their clients; all the more so as innovation and increased use of IT make information security a priority.

“Protection isn’t just about software. Having the right systems in place, such as anti-virus software or multi-factor identification, really matters. But good training and a culture in relation to managing risks is just as important.”

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