Excerpt: The most used method of electronically communicating today is via e-mail. Some may argue that text messaging is the number one method and that may be true for the younger generation, but businesses are generally communicating with some sort of e-mail service. The issue that we need to tackle is whether our electronic communications are secure (or need to be) and how to securely communicate when needed.
Excerpt: Lawyers like the idea of connecting with others on a resume driven site and many lawyers who were dismayed by Facebook felt comfortable on LinkedIn. As we write, author Nelson has 2407 connections and author Simek has 562 (slacker).
Like many people, we experimented with belonging to LinkedIn groups. Sadly, we found most of them dominated by marketers. The noise ratio was high, some posts were indistinguishable from spam and we pretty much gave up on those, finding legal listserve discussions to be far more useful.
Excerpt: One night in 2011, a lot of TV viewers (including the authors) were glued to the screen watching Jeopardy. Three episodes made television and science history as IBM’s Watson, a computer with artificial intelligence, took on two of the best players Jeopardy had ever seen.
Ken Jennings had the longest unbeaten run at 74 appearances and Brad Rutter had won the largest prize – $3.25 million.
Excerpt: There are lawyers – mostly family and criminal defense lawyers – who know at least a little about the Deep Web and the Dark Web. But the average lawyer? Not so much. In fact, after the Ashley Madison breach, a lot of family law colleagues began asking us questions about the Deep Web and the Dark Web – where the full steamy contents of the Ashley Madison breach were published in many places. Most had no clue that there was any distinction between the Deep Web and the Dark Web.
Excerpt: Let’s face it – whether you are talking about securing your data or describing the functions of legal IT products, the average lawyer audience may regard your presentation as useful, but hardly as “sexy.” Since we have been successfully lecturing on these topics for 18 years now, we have amassed a number of tips for making our presentations entertaining as well as educational. A friend suggested we share what we have learned.
Excerpt: Note that we did NOT title this article, “What Will You Do If Your Law Firm is Breached?” The reason is simple – experiencing a data breach is not an “if” – it is a “when.” Just ask the IRS and the Office of Personnel Management. Mind you, their approach to information security was sloppy. Lawyers cannot afford, ethically, to have slipshod security when protecting confidential data.
Excerpt: Before you can protect your data, you need to know where it is. That seems pretty obvious, but a lot of lawyers are unaware of all the locations where their data resides. We’re aware that we need to protect the data on the disks that exist in our desktop computers, laptops and servers. We know that there may be confidential data on external media such as USB hard drives and flash drives. However, many attorneys forget about data stored on voicemail systems and their smartphones. Data on backup media needs to be protected too. So let’s dive in and get to the basics of protecting your data securely.
Excerpt: Recently, the Virginia State Bar Council voted to adopt changes to the Model Rules of Professional Conduct. The changes were based on the American Bar Association’s modifications to the Comments of Rule 1.1 respecting Competence (“…a lawyer should keep abreast of changes in the law and its practice, including the benefits and risks associated with technology…”) and Rule 1.6 respecting Confidentiality (“(c) A lawyer shall make reasonable efforts to prevent the unintended disclosure of, or unauthorized access to, information relating to the representation of a client.”)
What’s reasonable? The Comments go on to list relevant factors:
1. the sensitivity of the information
2. the likelihood of disclosure if additional safeguards are not employed
3. the cost of employing additional safeguards
4. the difficulty of implementing the safeguards
5. adverse effect on the lawyer’s ability to represent clients
Excerpt: Remember the good old days of ransomware? You would get an e-mail saying that you owed the IRS money and could pay it via a helpfully included link. Lots of people did this because it was only a couple of hundred dollars. And who wants to duke it out with the IRS? The same dull-witted people fell for the e-mail claiming that someone at your home had downloaded music or movies illegally (much more likely true than the first scenario) and you needed to pay a fine so no one would come after you (or your spouse/child) for a much greater sum. Again, the price was relatively small and many people paid.
The likelihood that a lawyer would fall for these primitive versions of ransomware was small. Fast forward to the days of Cryptolocker which began in 2013. This ransomware Trojan attacked computers running Microsoft Windows, propagating itself by getting a user to click on an attachment or a link contained in an e-mail. Click on the link or attachment and “Winner, Winner, Chicken Dinner” the malware invisibly downloaded and began to encrypt your files. The malware encrypted files stored locally on the computer system as well as on any mapped network drives, such as those files on your server, connected flash drives and other external USB drives.
First published in the September/October edition of Law Practice magazine at http://www.lawpracticemagazine.com/
Excerpt: Not a single day goes by when you don’t hear something about cloud computing. It could be some new feature or service offering or even a data breach. So what’s all the hype? Are you destined to be using some type of cloud service in your practice, assuming you aren’t already? It’s even likely that you are already using the cloud and don’t realize it. If you use Gmail or other web-based providers, you are using the cloud. Let’s take a look at whether cloud computing is right for your practice and suggest some questions you should be asking of any cloud service.