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Luddite Patent Attorneys Are More Expensive Than You Think

Is Your Attorney as Tech Savvy as You Are?
You go to great lengths to protect your computer from hackers. But does your attorney? Hackers know all of your most important documents reside on your safe attorney’s computer. If your attorney is not as tech savvy as your company, who is a seasoned hacker going to target? The scariest part is that if a hacker does steal from your attorney, your attorney, and you, may be none the wiser.

Taking Candy From a Baby
Charged with protecting your most sensitive documents, law firms often lag far behind other industries when it comes to identifying holes in their online security. Even if some lawyers realize their lack of technological savvy makes them a hacker’s dream, most erroneously believe their internal information technology department will save them from themselves. Unfortunately, a security system has not yet been developed to withstand the unstoppable force that is a lawyer’s unmitigated hubris. A spear phishing email directed to a clueless attorney can circumvent even a law firm’s most stalwart defenses.

The Scam
According to the Associated Press (AP), the FBI has just issued an advisory warning of “noticeable increases” in law firm cyber attacks. Hackers are growing increasingly aware that lawyers are soft targets. The value of lawyers’ stored digital wealth often greatly outweighs the security measures in place to protect it. Most worrisome, the AP article notes hackers target patent attorneys in particular to gain access to their huge storehouse of sensitive documents. Hackers know that conscripting a lawyer as an unwitting “inside man” is a fast track toward defeating even the most advanced online security system. It is important to know how long does it takes the state attorney have to file charges in case there is a problem.

What Can You Do?
Your company’s sensitive legal documents are only as safe as the weakest link at your law firm. Ask your attorney if you can access the internet from their office. Does he or she allow you access through their network, or through a separate system not connected to their internal network? Ask your attorney about the law firm’s internal security procedures to protect your digital information. What kind of ongoing training do they receive to keep apprised of the latest cyber attacks? The answers to these questions will let you know how soundly you should be sleeping at night.

Brett Trout

(HT Tom Flynn)

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