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Ongoing Digitization of UK Legal Sector Elevates Exposure to Cyber Risks -- Nic Miller, Counter-Ransomware (C-RW)

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Conversation with C-RW's Nic Miller
NEW YORK - Amzeal -- The threat landscape in which law firms across the United Kingdom operate is worsening in frequency and intensity, challenging leaders in the sector to reassess how to better mitigate risks and protect the interests of clients and other stakeholders. So says Nic Miller, Virtual CISO and Consultant with London-based Counter-RansomwareTM (C-RW) in a podcast interview for journalists.  C-RW (www.counter-ransomware.com) is part of Othrys (https://www.othrys.uk/), an ethical security consultancy.

"Law firms in the United Kingdom face two major threats: 1) financial fraud and 2) ransomware attacks. Solicitors' and barristers' offices often handle high-value payments and are targeted by hackers looking to redirect or steal these payments. Ransomware attacks are of significant concern, as firms often hold sensitive client data. Attackers may encrypt systems and demand a ransom to regain access to the data, or they may steal the data and threaten to release it publicly if the ransom is not paid. These threats can have severe consequences for both the law firm and its clients," says Miller.

He adds that the opportunities for bad actors to harm firms have expanded significantly in recent years with the evolution of the IT landscape in the UK legal sector.

"Many firms have implemented ambitious technology modernization initiatives, adopting cloud solutions for email, document management and storage while automating other critical business functions. It is a trend that accelerated during the COVID-19 pandemic to support the shelter-in-place economy," he explains.

While the dramatic shift has revolutionized the nature of work and introduced many efficiencies, it has also exposed vulnerabilities that remain largely unmanaged across the UK's legal community.

According to the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) -- the largest regulator of legal services in England and Wales -- cyberattacks now represent three-quarters of all reported crime in the community, as hackers and organized crime syndicates target UK Law firms to access, compromise and control sensitive information.

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The grim assessment is further supported by the latest analysis from the Information Commissioner's Office -- a non-departmental public body that reports directly to the Parliament of the United Kingdom. Breached legal firms have compromised the personal data of 4.2 million people – amounting to 6% of the UK population. Almost half of the cases (49%) impacted customers, and 13% impacted employees. Basic personal information (49%), economic and financial data (13%), health data (10%), and official documents (10%) were the main types of data breached in the legal sector.

"The impact of successful cybercrime attacks on clients and firms is immense. People can easily lose their homes, employment or businesses, while several firms have been forced to pay huge sums in ransomware, and others have been forced to shut down altogether," says Miller.

Reducing Frequency and Severity of Attacks on the UK Legal Sector

C-RW, which is staffed primarily by former agents and officials in UK national and cyber security agencies, works with law firms to address the threats of cyber-attacks in general -- and ransomware in particular.

"We offer advice and guidance on preparing for a ransomware attack, both organizationally and technically. We also assist in managing ongoing breaches and can help with ransom negotiations. C-RW's objective is to help firms become more resilient and mitigate the risks and impact associated with ransomware attacks," he says.

To that, end, Miller offers the following advice for leaders in the UK legal sector to consider as the industry becomes more digital -- and therefore more exposed to cyber risks:

●     Recognize cybersecurity as a business risk: Law firms need to understand that cybersecurity is not just an IT problem but a business risk that can critically impact their operations and clients. They should take responsibility for managing their cybersecurity risks.

●     Assess and understand the risks: Firms should thoroughly assess the cybersecurity risks that affect their business. This includes identifying potential vulnerabilities and understanding the potential impact of a cyber-attack.

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●     Implement basic controls and best practices: Firms should implement basic cybersecurity controls and best practices to reduce their exposure to common cyber threats. This includes implementing multi-factor authentication, regularly updating software and systems, and training employees on cybersecurity awareness.

●     Audit cloud services: Many law firms increasingly rely on cloud services for email, document storage, and other critical business functions. It is essential to ensure that these cloud services have built-in security measures and proper access controls.

●     Stay informed and updated: Law firms should stay informed about cybersecurity threats and trends through regular training by attending industry conferences and staying updated on cybersecurity news and best practices.

●     Seek professional advice: Law firms can benefit from seeking professional advice from cybersecurity consultants who specialize in working with the legal sector. These consultants can provide tailored guidance and recommendations based on the specific needs and risks of the firm.

Cysurance-Certified Counter-RansomwareTM (C-RW) Professional Security Services

C-RW
has developed a comprehensive suite of professional services specifically designed to address the unique information security needs of the UK legal sector. The frameworks and methodologies developed by C-RW services have been evaluated -- and objectively validated -- by Cysurance, a next-generation risk mitigation company that insures, warrants and certifies security solutions deployed by enterprise end-users.

"The Cysurance warranty behind C-RW certified services for the UK legal community offers an additional layer of protection by providing firms with financial resources to offset the monetary impact of a cyber incident. The willingness to commit financial support reflects the high level of confidence Cysurance has in C-RW's ability to implement proactive and effective cybersecurity strategies that reduce exposure to cyber threats while enhancing the overall security posture of UK law firms and related institutions," concludes Miller.

[EDITORIAL NOTE: Click here to see the full interview with Nic Miller, Virtual CISO and Cyber Security Consultant, Counter-RansomwareTM]



Source: Cysurance

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