• Nearly three-quarters of top UK law firms victims of cyber attacks

    Some 73 per cent of leading law firms in the UK have fallen victim to data security breaches in the last year, PwC finds

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    Some 73 per cent of leading law firms in the UK have fallen victim to data security breaches in the last year, PwC finds

    • Almost three-quarters of the UK's top law firms have come under attack from criminals looking to gain access to sensitive information such as client details, a recent report has revealed.

      PwC's annual Law Firms Survey found nearly 73 per cent of the country's top 100 firms were targeted by attackers in 2015-16, while the overall number of incidents grew by 20 per cent when compared with the previous 12 months.

      Larger firms were the most affected, with 90 per cent of the top 25 firms facing attack, Legal Week reports.

      Patrick Hill, a partner at DAC Beachcroft and head of the firm’s professional risk team, noted that aside from any financial losses that law firms may incur as a result of a data breach, it may be the damage to a company's good name that has the biggest impact.

      "You can see a big reputational threat to law firms on the wrong end of these data breach incidents," he stated. "If you are a major law firm, the ability to ensure your clients' data is kept confidential is absolutely key to your standing."

      While the most common types of attack included phishing emails that attempt to gain access to clients' money (seen by 84 per cent of firms) and malware attacks (55 per cent), law firms were also reminded of the need to counter internal threats, such as careless or malicious employees.

      More than four out of ten law firms (41 per cent) experienced security incidents as a result of the actions of their own staff. This may include deliberate efforts to steal information or the inadvertent exposure of information.

      One problem that must be tackled is that of 'visual hacking', whereby an individual is able to gain access to sensitive data by viewing it on an employee's screen. This may be a greater risk than many businesses realise, as a test carried out by 3M earlier this year revealed an undercover hacker was able to obtain information in 91 per cent of occasions after gaining access to a corporate office.