Are Law Firms the Next Victims of Ransomware Bad Guys?
Last month, ransomware bad guys held a Providence law firm hostage demanding a $25,000 ransom. The demand came after ransomware infiltrated the firm’s network and encrypted its files. During the attack, the firm’s IT system was disabled and the law firm negotiated a Bitcoin payoff several times.
Because the initial encryption key failed to work, the firm was forced to re-negotiate the pay-off terms more than once and it ended up purchasing more Bitcoins in exchange for additional tools to recover its documents. The ransomware assault effectively grounded the firm’s 10 lawyers for several hours, amounting to $700,000 in lost billings and compromising the firm’s reputation.
This is not the first time a law firm has fallen victim to ransomware. A few years ago, a US law firm was victimized by CryptoWall, a ransomware that spread havoc throughout the world. The employees of the company learned about the attack when they found unusual files (e.g., “HELP_DECRYPT”) on the law firm’s computers. The files were encrypted versions of Office file extensions commonly used by company employees. The original versions of the files were deleted.
The criminals requested the transfer of a ransom of $700 in exchange for the supply of an encryption key which would help employees regain access to their files. The attacked law firm deleted the infected files and replicated their backup drive to the previously uninfected drive. It took them two days to restore 1.5 terabytes of targeted data.
Similar attacks on law firms have occurred in Canada, Ireland and other locations in Europe. Recently, a British Columbia law firm realized that they had been attacked when the following message appeared on their computer monitors: “Your files were encrypted and locked with an RSA2048 key.” The ransomware requested the firm contact a certain address within 12 hours and pay the requested ransom. Furthermore, the malicious program threatened the firm that the fee would double in case of non-payment within the specified period.
21st century legal practices include an online presence, and cloud-based legal software offers a host of benefits, whether it’s 24/7 access to law firm data, convenient data backup, mobility, or secure client communication. Nevertheless, risks remain that must be understood and evaluated. Understandably, for many lawyers, the process of evaluating cybersecurity issues can seem daunting.
Cynet provides law firms and other organizations real peace-of-mind with its Cynet 360 platform. The Cynet 360 advanced threat detection and response platform simplifies enterprise security by providing a holistic answer to all the organization’s protection and prevention needs.
Cynet 360 decreases security spend by providing multiple capabilities in a single solution, while putting less drain on organizational resources, manpower and budget. Additionally, the Cynet 360 platform provides the highest level of enterprise security by correlating indicators across systems, thus increasing visibility and accuracy of detection throughout the organization, without the need for multiple cybersecurity solutions. Cynet 360 is there to ensure the next ransomware attack is something your law firm only reads about in the papers.