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Law firms in the East of England. Are you safe from phishing attacks?

If you work in a law firm, you probably already know that the cyber risk to your business is rising continually. The National Cyber Security Centre June 2023 Report on the Legal Sector states that 75% of law firms reported having been the victim of a cyber attack as some point in the recent past.


Those attacks are often in the form of phishing e-mails, and many could lead to business e-mail compromises and ransomware attacks.

Justice statue
Law firms remain attractive targets for cyyber criminals

But as one partner at a law firm in our region who suffered a potentially catastrophic cyber-attack said recently -

‘If the ECRC had approached us about joining the centre the day before the attack we would have been interested in what they had to say, but we would probably not have joined the centre or significantly changed our current processes around cyber resilience.’

Don’t make the same mistake. Do something to protect yourself now!


So, what is phishing?


Phishing at its most basic is a cybercrime in which a target or targets are contacted by email, telephone, or text message by someone posing as a legitimate institution to lure individuals into providing sensitive data such as personally identifiable information, banking and credit card details, and passwords.


You might have heard of phishing, vishing, smishing, quishing, spear phishing, whaling, but all the names mean is that there are a lot of different ways that a cyber-criminal is going to try and trick you. Criminals use all communication methods, so if a new method comes out, you can be sure a criminal will be there trying to exploit it. And these criminals are experts in getting us to act in the way they want, whether that is clicking a link or downloading an attachment.


How could my company be targeted?


Criminals use information from all over to create phishing messages. Knowing what information about you and your company can be found by a criminal can be extremely useful in understanding what information could be included within a phish.


For example, would you believe an email as genuine if it contained your username and password in it? Did you know that if your details have been released in a data breach, usernames and passwords are just one thing that could be known, along with your IP address, address, telephone number, in fact, any sensitive information you might give to a company?


If your company has published that you have just signed a new company, called XYZConsultancy, as a client, a criminal could use that information to create a fake domain XYZC0nsultancy - replacing the o for an 0 - to trick you into communicating with them.


If a message contains any of the following, really think before you click:


  • Urgency “you must do this now” – here the attacker is trying to induce you to panic so that you don’t question the action being asked of you

  • Authority – messages appearing to come from a boss, colleague, or company you engage with regularly, or with information they shouldn’t have unless they are genuine (your IP address for example)

  • Mimicry – attackers send messages that exploit your daily habits such as “please review your calendar entry – click here”

  • Curiosity – enticing you with something like “breaking news”

Why do cyber criminals do it?


They want access to your systems and money. Phishing messages are usually designed to get you to click a link or download an attachment. They hope to either steal your login credentials or install malware on your systems, and once they are in your system, stealing your data is likely the next step for them. And after that they may hold you to ransom to get it back, they might just publish it all on the internet or they could simply destroy all your company data without asking for anything. Or they may just wait for an opportunity to take advantage of their position in order to steal money from you, a supplier, or a customer.


What next?


The impact of a successful attack against your website or network can be catastrophic and lead to website downtime, loss of data and permanent loss of reputation. But all is not lost.


Eastern Cyber Resilience Centre Logo
Join the Eastern Cyber Resilience Centre free of charge

Here at the centre, we would recommend that you consider.

1. Join our community for free . You will be supported through implementing the changes you need to help protect your organisation.

2. Consider how we can help your own supply chain and customers – it would be great if you could look at promoting the centre on our behalf. Again – contact us to find out more.

3. Take a look at our range of affordable services provided by Cyber Path students in full time education.

Reporting a live cyber-attack 24/7


If you are a business, charity or other organisation which is currently suffering a live cyber-attack (in progress), please call Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 immediately. This service is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.


Reporting a cyber-attack which isn't ongoing.


Please report online to Action Fraud, the UK's national reporting centre for fraud and cybercrime. You can report cybercrime online at any time using the online reporting tool, which will guide you through simple questions to identify what has happened. Action Fraud advisors can also provide the help, support, and advice you need.

Alternatively, you can call Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 (textphone 0300 123 2050).


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The contents of this website are provided for general information only and are not intended to replace specific professional advice relevant to your situation. The intention of The Cyber Resilience Centre for the East is to encourage cyber resilience by raising issues and disseminating information on the experiences and initiatives of others. Articles on the website cannot by their nature be comprehensive and may not reflect most recent legislation, practice, or application to your circumstances. The Cyber Resilience Centre for the East provides affordable services and Trusted Partners if you need specific support. For specific questions please contact us.

The Cyber Resilience Centre for the East does not accept any responsibility for any loss which may arise from reliance on information or materials published on this document. The Cyber Resilience Centre for the East is not responsible for the content of external internet sites that link to this site or which are linked from it.

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