One in three top law firms targeted by cyber attackers

sw-surveyOne in three of Ireland’s top 20 law firms were the subject of cyber attacks in the last 12 months, according to a major report by Smith & Williamson.

The accountancy firm’s Survey of Irish Law Firms 2015/16 report found that one in five of all Irish law firms had reported attempted or successful cyber attacks over the past year, suggesting that cyber attacks on the legal profession are becoming more prevalent.

The report says 83 per cent of Irish law firms invested in their IT systems over the last year and almost two-thirds plan further investment over the coming year.

A further 14 per cent of firms surveyed listed security concerns as the main reason for their increasing investment in IT.

However, the report stresses: “Cyber security is not just about IT, its domain incorporates people, processes, practice and oragnisational norms and culture. Risks of reputational damage and client expectations of security and privacy are extremely high.

“It is clear that there is increasing focus on this area with regular media reportage, high profile data leaks and incidents of system and data hacks. Although regulatory requirements are de minimus, there is an expectation that firms will keep pace with and have adequate defenses and controls in place to mitigate these risks.

“Increasing IT investment by legal firms is evident from our survey results. These investments will bring an increased reliance on information technology, systems and processes.

“This increasingly digital environment in an interconnected world means law firms need to be more sophisticated about how they protect both client and indeed their own data.

“The importance of up-to-date online security cannot be over emphasised and particular care should be taken if unsolicited emails are received requesting information about bank accounts.”

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