The Importance of Cybersecurity Amid COVID-19
As society shifts to deal with the spreading virus, some longstanding issues are becoming more prevalent. Cybersecurity is one such thing that’s all the more important in light of the global situation.
Cybercrime has always been a relevant concern, especially for law offices. As a legal professional, you work with a lot of sensitive information and often a considerable amount of money. The nature of your work makes you a prime target for hackers.
In a 2018 survey by the American Bar Association, 23% of law firms reported they had experienced a data breach. This statistic is concerning enough, but remember, it comes from before the COVID-19 outbreak. The pandemic may put you at an even higher risk.
Increased Cyber Risks
Times of confusion offer cybercriminals the perfect opportunity for data breaches. When people become desperate for information, it’s easier to misinform them. Enticing headlines about leaked government information or coronavirus updates convince unsuspecting users to click on malicious links.
These concerns aren’t just a theory of what could happen — they’re happening already. The number of fraudulent emails regarding coronavirus has skyrocketed since January. One Russian cybersecurity company found 500 instances of these scams spread to 403 of its customers.
The surge in remote work also increases the risk of cybercrime. Your home computer may not have the same security software as your work one. As a result, you’re a more vulnerable target for a hacker looking to steal sensitive data.
As a law professional, the threat of a data breach is all the more serious. If someone got their hands on the legal records or financial information of your clients, it could be catastrophic. They could leak it, causing a massive breach in privacy, or hold it hostage through ransomware.
Your office or firm probably uses robust cybersecurity measures, but you may not have the same level of protection at home. The information you work with is just as sensitive, but it’s at higher risk if you don’t have the same security protocols.
Your firm may also rely on IT staff or third-party vendors for cybersecurity concerns. While you’re working from home, you probably can’t contact these services as quickly. Even if you can reach out to them, they may be operating at a lower capacity than usual.
Weathering the Cybercrime Wave
In light of these increasing risks, you should take greater care when it comes to cybersecurity. The first step is reminding yourself and your co-workers of company cybersecurity protocols. The chaos of the outbreak can be distracting, so ensure everyone at your firm maintains safe internet behavior.
You should always pay attention to suspicious emails, but it’s even more crucial now. Double-check anything you receive that mentions coronavirus, as these links are far more likely to be fake. Even mail from a seemingly credible source could be a trap, so inspect everything.
It’s also essential to ensure all personnel have access to the right security tools. When you’re working with sensitive legal documents, you can’t risk a data breach. Make sure everyone at the firm or office can access company cybersecurity software, even from home.
Working from home can feel more casual than an ordinary day of work, but you shouldn’t let this relaxed atmosphere lull you into poor security habits. Only use your company email to discuss sensitive information like client data or financial records.
Finally, your firm should embrace a data breach response plan if you don’t already have one. If you are the victim of a cyberattack, you should have a protocol in place to handle the situation.
Keeping Legal Data Safe
The current pandemic presents a more severe cybercrime risk, but that doesn’t mean you can’t handle it. With careful forethought and cybersecurity habits, you can continue to work with clients without risking anything.
Author: Kayla Matthews is a legal and technology journalist with expertise in IT, cyber security, business efficiency and professional productivity. Her work has appeared in publications such as VentureBeat, VICE’s Motherboard, Gear Diary, Inc.com, The Huffington Post, CloudTweaks, and others. She is a senior writer for MakeUseOf and the owner and editor of the productivity and tech blog Productivity Bytes.