Coronavirus Outbreak Puts Attorneys at Risk for Cyber Infections

As the corona virus pandemic has continued to spread across the U.S., law firm are facing new cyber threats. Hackers are taking advantage of the situation to attach malware to fake reference materials and other deceptively legitimate resources that individuals are seeking out.

For law firms, the immediate threat is not to the network infrastructure or cyber security mechanisms they have in place, but to the partners, attorneys and other human resources who, for the time being, are no longer working in the same physical offices.

Hackers are aware that most law firm employees are working from home, without peers or tech support around to remind them that a seemingly friendly email could be a trap designed to lure them into forfeiting money or personal information.

Part of the issue is that most emails bearing “coronavirus” or “COVID-19″ in the subject line are not a threat. Richard Rosensweig, a director in the litigation group at Goulston & Storrs, indicated that he’d been averaging between 30 to 40 emails a day with updates about the corona virus, many sent from courts, vendors and clients.

But in the absence of peers and co-workers, firms have to be more creative about how they remind employees to think carefully about opening emails. Over at Day Pitney, for example, CIO Kermit Wallace said the only “technical” security change the firm has made in response to the corona virus is to update the color of the external email notification banner found at the bottom of communications originating from someone outside the practice.

And it is not just email scams that firms have to be worried about. For instance, some attorneys may be visiting unofficial Facebook groups to find out more information about activity cancellations, and Wallace pointed out that it’s easy for hackers to post infected links into those forums. Read more about the situation here.