Saturday, May 13th, the world’s largest cyberattack took place, locking thousands of people in 150 different countries out of their computers. This type of attack is known as ransomware, which is defined by CNN Tech as “…a virus that locks people out of their computer files until they pay a ransom to the hackers”. These types of hackers target major companies, government offices, hospitals and corporations, completely freezing their networks until they are forced to pay a ransom.
Ransomware attacks are a major reminder of the importance of cyber security. According to the Center for Strategic and International Studies, cybercrime costs the global economy over $400 billion per year. The issue of cyber security should be a priority to further prevent criminals from paralyzing networks.
It’s not surprising that the U.S. government has taken several steps to help prevent cyber attacks. 47 U.S. states have implemented laws requiring security breaches to be reported. Government agencies can track security breaches, enabling them to strengthen security against certain software viruses. Businesses need to update security measures in order to prevent system breaches. By upgrading to malware protection, businesses will have antivirus protection to protect their network.
Law firms are a major target for ransomware attacks because most are willing to pay the ransom to protect their clients’ information. Law firms need to make sure cybersecurity is a number one priority to protect their information. Here are 6 steps any law firm can take to protect their practice against dangerous ransomware attacks:
- Fraudulent companies sending emails to hoax victims into sharing personal information is known as phishing. Once an office employee opens an email, ransomware viruses could potentially be hidden inside. Even the best type of antivirus protection cannot prevent an employee from opening an email, however, firms can develop security awareness programs to educate their employees on how to handle a seemingly odd email.
- An emergency plan needs to be implemented in the case of ransomware attack. Therefore, when the attack occurs, employees will know how to act quickly in order to restore breached files.
- Ransomware is often found in pop-ups of legitimate websites. Firms can make sure all employees have enabled their pop-up blockers to prevent them from accidentally clicking on malware.
- If a computer is infected with a virus, it is especially important to disconnect the computer before the ransomware can steal personal information.
- Employees should research software or seek a cybersecurity professional before downloading any software on their computers or devices in order to prevent the accidental download of a virus.
- Firms can update antiviral software often to ensure their computers have the most up to date programs to protect against viruses. The latest protection software will restore all information back to where it was fifteen minutes prior to the virus and it does it in only twenty minutes to one hour. Technology like this is offered by companies like Principium Technologies, LLC.
Ransomware continues to be a large threat to law firms. While there is no way to completely avoid a ransomware attack, a law firm can take the aforementioned steps to protect their computers as much as possible.