Lawyers under attack

Even as the lawyers battle out cybercrime cases in the courts, new research shows an increase in the cyberattacks in their own backyards

Sonal Desai
New Update
insider threats

MUMBAI, INDIA: Even as the lawyers battle out cybercrime cases in the courts, new research shows an increase in the cyberattacks in their own backyards.


A new study by the American Bar Association (ABA) study revealed that as of 2015, 15 percent of all respondents reported a security breach in organizations. The cybercrimes include lost or stolen computer or smart phone, hacking, break-in or a website exploit.

The key take-aways from the survey include:

•    Loss of billable hours: In 2015 30 percent reported that beaches created downtime/loss of billable hours compared with 26 percent in 2014 and 2013, and 22 percent in 2012.

•    Losses: 18 percent in 2015 report that it resulted in the destruction or loss of files, 7 percent said it resulted in unauthorized access to other (non-client) sensitive data, 5 percent report that it resulted in notifying clients of the breach, and 3 percent report that it resulted in unauthorized access to sensitive client data.


•    The number of breaches has not increased significantly over the last three years. According to the study, in 2014 it was 14 percent; 15 percent in 2013; and 10 percent in 2012.

•    No significant business disruption: The firms that experienced a security breach said that no significant business disruption or loss occurred. That number was 60 percent each in 2015 and 2014, 61 percent in 2013 and 76 percent in 2012.

Overall, 42 percent respondent answered in the affirmative when asked if their firm was ever infected with virus/spyware/malware. 34.9 percent said no and 22.7 percent did not know.


Those affected:

The 2015 survey said firms of 10-49 attorneys were infected with virus/spyware/malware the most of all the firm size categories. That was 52 percent this year, compared with 47 percent in 2014, 50 percent in 2013, and 55 percent in 2012.

Solo practitioners were in second place with 44 percent, compared to 45 percent in 2014, 41 percent in 2013, and 37 percent in 2012. Firms of 2-9 attorneys stood third with 43 percent in 2015, 51 percent in 2014, 49 percent in 2013, and 53 percent in 2012, respectively.

The security tools:

Eighty seven percent respondents said that spam filters were the most common, followed by firewall software at 79 percent; anti-spyware at 78 percent and pop-up blockers at 76 percent. Some other security tools included file encryption (41 percent); e-mail encryption (31 percent); and whole/full disk encryption (20 percent).

Increased budgets:

It is noteworthy that 41 percent of firms’ budgets for technology during this year have increased from 2014. Thirty-one percent of firms’ technology budgets stayed the same.

On average, respondents reported in 2015 they spend $4,673 a year on law firm software, compared with $4,497 in 2014, $4,650 in 2013, and $4,203 in 2012. Thirteen percent report spending $10,000 or more a year on software.

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