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Biggest Law Firm Data Breaches: What you need to know & How to safeguard your firm from security breaches?

Matrix Solutions - Biggest Law Firm Data Breaches

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For a long time, big law firms have been considered impenetrable fortresses regarding data security. However, recent events have shown that even the biggest and most well-protected firms are not immune to cyber-attacks.

In this blog post, we will take a closer look at some of the biggest data breaches suffered by companies. We will also discuss the consequences of these breaches and what firms can do to protect their data better.

What are Data Breaches?

 

A data breach occurs when sensitive, confidential, or protected information is accessed and acquired without authorization. This can include personal information such as names, social security numbers, credit card numbers, health records, and trade secrets.

Some of the biggest law firms to suffer from data breaches in recent years include DLA Piper, Mossack Fonseca, and Morgan Lewis.

History of Data Breaches

 

Though many believe data breaches only occur when companies store their information digitally, that is not the case. Data breaches happen whenever an individual or company has Sensitive documents, and someone views them without proper authorization, whether those files are stored on a computer or not. Before computing became widespread, something as simple as seeing an individual’s medical records without permission could qualify as a data breach.

In the 1980s, data breaches became more common, and by the 1990s and early 2000s, people were becoming aware of how often these events occurred. To help protect consumers, organizations handling sensitive information must follow laws and regulations such as HIPAA or PCI Data Security Standard. Law firm data breach statistics have shown the risk for businesses and individuals. Still, these rules don’t always exist in every industry, nor do they guarantee that data breaches will never happen.

Most information about data breaches is from 2005 until today because of how technology has advanced and electronic data has become more widespread worldwide. Large data breaches have become increasingly common and can devastate hundreds of thousands – or even millions – of people. A single attack on one company can expose sensitive information to tens of millions of consumers.

Most Notable Law Firm Cyber Attacks

 

Mossack Fonseca

Date: April 2016

People affected: 300,000+

In 2016, Mossack Fonseca, a Panamanian law firm, suffered one of the biggest data breaches in history. The attack (assumed to be an inside hack) exposed more than 11 million confidential documents, known as the Panama Papers.

These documents revealed how wealthy individuals and politicians worldwide used offshore shell companies to hide their assets and avoid taxes. The leak resulted in the resignation of several world leaders and a massive international investigation.

Appleby

 
  • Date: September 2017
  • People affected: 25,000+

In 2017, the Bermuda-based law firm Appleby suffered a major data breach of more than 1.3 million documents, known as the Paradise Papers. These documents exposed the offshore financial activities of several high-profile individuals and corporations, including the Queen of England and Apple Inc.

DLA Piper

 
  • Date: June 2017
  • People and companies affected: Unknown.

DLA Piper, a multinational law firm, was the victim of a ransomware attack in June 2017. The cyberattack spread quickly throughout the organization after hitting its Ukrainian offices while upgrading payroll software. This was made possible due to the flat network structure that DLA Piper employs.

As a result of the attack, employees worldwide could not use telephones or email, and some had difficulty accessing documents; however, no data loss occurred because backups remained intact. After the attack, the firm’s I.T. department worked 15,000 hours of paid overtime to repair damage and bolster security.

Cravath Swaine & Moore and Weil Gotshal & Manges

 
  • Date: March 2016
  • Illegal trading profits: $4+ million

Three Chinese nationals hacked into the law firms of Cravath Swaine & Moore and Weil Gotshal & Manges to engage in insider trading and gather confidential information regarding pending mergers and acquisitions. According to the U.S. government, Iat Hong, Bo Zheng, and Chin Hung earned over $4 million in profits while trading on information they stole from law firms. To gather such information, the perpetrators used their unauthorized access to read emails belonging to partners at both firms about pending transactions involving public companies.

The indictment details how the defendants targeted five law firms with over 100,000 attacks. For their illegal insider trading, the perpetrators were fined $8.8 million by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

Moses Afonso Ryan Ltd.

 
  • Date: April 2016
  • People affected: 1,500+

Moses Afonso Ryan Ltd., a Rhode Island law firm, had its computer system hacked in April 2016. This attack exposed Social Security numbers, bank account information, and medical records of 1,500+ clients. After the system was taken offline, Moses Afonso Ryan Ltd.’s law firm had to negotiate a ransom with the hackers, costing them nearly $700,000 total- this included both their client billings and the ransom they paid.

The initial payment demanded by the hackers was made in Bitcoin, followed by several additional payments later.

GozNym Malware

 
  • Date: May 2016
  • People and companies affected: 100+

In 2016, two law firms were attacked with GozNym malware, which allows criminals to steal banking login and password information. To get victims to provide their banking credentials, the criminals sent a phishing email directing recipients to web pages that looked like their bank’s website. The scheme used keystroke logging, which recorded the keys entered when victims visited the fake bank site. It then sent that information secretly to the cyber breach criminals.

The attack focused on bank accounts located at Bank of America and Brookline Bank. The hackers had already taken control of other U.S. and foreign bank accounts before they gained access to the law firm’s bank accounts. This process made it easy for them to transfer funds into those other accounts from the law firm’s account. Out of the two law firms, one experienced a more significant loss with stolen money totalling more than $76,000, while the other only lost $41,000 in total funds.

Jenner & Block and Proskauer Rose

 
  • Date: May 2017
  • People affected: 2,359

In 2017, Jenner & Block mistakenly sent employee W-2 forms to an unauthorized recipient in response to what looked like a legitimate request. This led to the inadvertent sharing of the personal information of 859 individuals, including their Social Security numbers and salaries.

Proskauer Rose experienced something similar when they received what appeared to be a routine request from a senior executive within the firm. In this case, the attackers got control of more than 1,500 W-2s.

Jenner & Block provided their employees with two years’ access to Experian’s ProtectMyID Elite 3B product and established a hotline for former and current employees. Proskauer Rose went one step further by providing all employees—regardless of whether or not they were involved in the initial breach—with identity recovery services for a full two years following the incident.

Oleras

Date: February 2018

People affected: 1,000+

In 2016, a cybercriminal using the alias Oleras targeted 50 law firms to steal confidential information to facilitate insider trading.

To entice others to join his cause, Oleras advertised a plan detailing employees’ names and contact information at each law firm he targeted.

The FBI recently gave an industry-wide warning to law firms after one of the phishing emails related to the scheme appeared to be from a business journal. This email asked if the recipient wanted a profile run on their work in mergers and acquisitions. If Oleras have targeted any law firm, none have revealed it yet.

Fragomen, Del Rey, Bernsen & Loewy

 
  • Date: September 24, 2020
  • People affected: 10,000+

On September 24th, 2020, the law firm Fragomen, Del Rey, Bernsen & Loewy was subject to a data breach. This security issue primarily involved ex and current Google employees’ personal information. Several driver’s license numbers and other personally identifiable information were in an accessible file for anyone outside the company. Doing this means any Google employee is at a higher risk for identity theft or fraud.

Even today, Fragomen, Del Rey, Bernsen & Loewy are still unsure how many Google employees were affected by the data breach. After filing a notice with the FBI, they notified the state attorney general and updated their security policies for Form I-9s.

Grubman Shire Meiselas & Sacks

 
  • Date: May 2020
  • People affected: 756

In May 2020, Grubman Shire Meiselas & Sacks, an entertainment law firm representing celebrities such as Jennifer Lopez and Madonna, was targeted by a ransomware attack. The hackers demanded $42 million for not releasing the stolen data, including social security numbers and contracts.

Campbell Conroy & O’Neil P.C.

 
  • Date: February 27, 2021
  • People and companies affected: Unknown.

Campbell Conroy & O’Neil P.C. fell victim to a Data Breach on February 27, 2021. After seeing the strange behavior, the company undertook an investigation that proved ransomware to be the reason.

The ransomware assault prevented Campbell Conroy & O’Neil P.C. from accessing crucial system data. Even though the extent of the damage is unknown, the company suspects that the hacker may have gained access to clients’ names, Social Security numbers, driver’s license numbers, and dates of birth, to mention a few identifying details.

After the data breach, Campbell Conroy & O’Neil P.C. hired external forensic investigators to determine which data may have been compromised. The legal firm also notified the FBI and gave its customers free access to credit monitoring and fraud advisory services for 24 months.

List of High-Profile Company Data Breaches In 2022

 

September 2022

 

1. Optus 

 

Date: September 2022

Impact: 9.8 million customers

In September 2022, Australian telecommunications company Optus suffered a massive data breach where up to 9.8 million customers may have leaked their information. Optus’ CEO — Kelly Bayer Rosmarin — activated the company’s emergency response protocol as soon as the attack was discovered and is working around the clock to mitigate damage and prevent future breaches.

Names, dates of birth, phone numbers, and email addresses are some of the customer information that hackers may have released. Also included in the data leak were some customers’ addresses and ID document numbers. Although payment information and account passwords were not revealed, this is still a serious security breach.

2. Uber

 

Date: September 2022

Impact: 50 million riders, 7 million drivers

In September 2022, ride-sharing company Uber revealed that it had been the victim of a data breach. The attack exposed the personal information of 50 million riders and 7 million drivers, including names, email addresses, and phone numbers.

Although Uber has not yet disclosed how the breach occurred, they have notified impacted users and offered them free credit monitoring services for a year. The company is also conducting a thorough investigation and enhancing its security measures to prevent future attacks.

3. TikTok

 

“AgainstTheWest” allegedly hacked TikTok and shared images of the data they obtained to a hacking forum. They claim to have accessed over two billion records and 790GB of user data, platform statistics, code, and more.

After hackers claimed to have broken into TikTok and stolen the app’s source code and the account details of billions of people, the company has investigated and found no evidence of a breach. The source code posted by the hackers is also supposedly unrelated to TikTok’s backend source code, according to recent statements made by the company.

August 2022

 

1. LastPass

 

Date: August 2022

Impact: Unknown number of users

LastPass, a password manager service with over 17 million users, suffered a data breach impact in August 2022. The company discovered unusual activity on its network and immediately launched an investigation, notifying all users to change their master passwords and enable two-factor authentication.

LastPass has not yet revealed the extent of the breach, but it did affect users’ email addresses, password reminders, server-per-user salts, and authentication hashes. The company is currently working on implementing further security measures to prevent future attacks.

2. DoorDash

 

Date: August 2022

Impact: 4.9 million users

In August 2022, the food delivery company DoorDash suffered a data breach where hackers accessed 4.9 million users’ personal information, including names, email addresses, delivery addresses, and order histories.

The company discovered the breach and notified affected customers, offering a free year of credit monitoring services.

3. WA Health

 

Date: August 2022

Impact: 47 Passengers

WA’s health department has issued an apology after carelessly disclosing the personal information of individuals on a flight with someone infected by monkeypox. One woman, who had been aboard the Qatar Airways flight from Doha last week, stated that she received an email containing the names, addresses, and passport numbers of 47 passengers sitting near each other.

4. Cisco

 

Date: August 2022

Impact: Unknown

Cisco, a multinational technology company, disclosed that it had suffered a data breach in August 2022. The extent of the breach is currently unknown, but Cisco has notified affected customers and is working to enhance security measures to prevent future attacks. This follows a string of recent security breaches for the company, including a vulnerability in its WebEx browser extension and a malware attack on its software supply chain.

The hackers accessed and stole over 3,100 files from a Box folder, including NDAs, data dumps, and engineering drawings. In total, they took 2.75GB of data.

5. University of Western Australia 

 

Date: August 2022

Impact: 1.2 million students and staff

In August 2022, the University of Western Australia revealed that it had suffered a data breach affecting 1.2 million current and former students and staff. The hackers accessed names, addresses, dates of birth, phone numbers, and email addresses.

The university is currently working with law enforcement to investigate the breach and enhance its security measures, and it has notified all affected individuals. The university advises anyone who may have received suspicious communications not to respond and report them immediately.

July 2022

 

1. Uber

 

Date: July 2022

Impact: Unknown number of drivers and riders

Uber, the popular ride-sharing service, admitted to having converted up security breaches where hackers accessed the personal information of both drivers and riders.

In October 2016, a hacker accessed Uber’s private source code repository and stole sensitive data from 57 million people.

The data included full names, email addresses, phone numbers, and driver’s license numbers. Criminals can use this information to commit identity theft.

The hack occurred in 2016 but was not disclosed until a year later. Travis Kalanick (the company CEO) and Joe Sullivan (the Chief Security Officer) allegedly knew of the breach. They attempted to cover it up by paying the hackers $100,000 to delete the data and never speak of it again.

2. Perth Festival, Black Swan State Theatre Company

 

Date: July 2022

Impact: 40,000 patrons

In July 2022, a data breach affected three arts organizations in Perth, Australia – the Perth Festival, Black Swan State Theatre Company, and the Western Australian Ballet. The hackers accessed the personal information of approximately 40,000 patrons, including names, addresses, phone numbers, email addresses, dates of birth, and credit card details.

3. Victorian Government

 

Date: July 2022

Impact: 654,000 Victorians

In January 2021, a privacy breach exposed sensitive information about travellers and staff, which only came to light in July 2021. This included names, contact numbers, dates of birth, addresses, and passport information.

The incident occurred over four days when the email account of a seconded staff member from the Victorian Curriculum and Assessment Authority was accessed through cyber intrusion.

Only those travellers whose passport details were exposed were informed of the security breach. The Department of Health and Human Services declined to tell other potential victims or staff members who may have been impacted.

Additionally, data from an unknown number of Victorian students was revealed as part of the fake invoices sent to various schools involved in the incident.

5. Mangatoon

 

Date: July 2022

Impact: 1 million users

In July of 2022, the popular manga reading platform Mangatoon suffered a data breach that affected approximately 1 million users. The hackers accessed users’ personal information, including names, email addresses, and passwords stored in plain text format. They also obtained access to payment information for premium subscribers.

6. China Police

 

Date: July 2022
Impact: 4.5 million people

In July 2022, the personal information of 4.5 million Chinese citizens was leaked from a police database containing details on individuals’ political beliefs and religious affiliations. The leak also included household registration information, identity card numbers, and contact information for family members.

According to an online forum post, a hacker has stolen the personal details of more than 100 Australian citizens, including a former federal MP. The hacker claimed to have taken 1 billion records, mostly from Chinese citizens, and is now offering the information for 10 bitcoins (approximately $300,000).

7. Deakin University

 

Date: July 2022

Impact: 47000+

In a statement, Deakin University announced that data belonging to nearly 47,000 current and former students had been breached. The university also revealed that 10,000 current students were targeted in a ‘smishing’ attack where legitimate communications channels were used.

The credentials gave the attacker access to information from a provider Deakin pays for SMS messages. This unauthorized person then sent an SMS to 9997 Deakin students, pretending to be Deakin University.

The smish was a parcel delivery scam that directed students to a web form asking for more information, such as payment card details, to free a non-existent parcel from customs.

8. AMD

 

Date: July 2022

Impact: unknown

According to a Tom’s Hardware report, AMD has fallen victim to a data breach, with the attackers extracting gigabytes of data from the company. Now, through a mediator group called RansomHouse, they are trying to sell that data back. This is a new threat actor claiming not to attack companies with ransomware.

In January, the group announced that they had acquired data from AMD after a security breach. This data included passwords, system information, and network files.

9. OpenSea

Date: July 2022

Impact: 1 million+ user

In July 2022, the popular digital marketplace for cryptocurrency collectibles, OpenSea, announced that it had suffered a data breach. The company revealed that hackers could gain access to user information such as email addresses, hashed passwords, and transaction history. They also obtained personal information for identity verification, such as government IDs and proof of address.

OpenSea urged users to change their passwords immediately and provided resources for enabling 2-factor authentication for added security. The company is currently working with law enforcement authorities in their investigation of the incident.

May 2022

 

1. Department of Home Affairs

 

Date: May 2022

Impact: Over 9 million

In May of 2022, the Australian Department of Home Affairs suffered a data breach that exposed the personal information of over 9 million citizens. This included passport details, visa information, and citizenship certificates. The department has not yet revealed how the breach occurred or who was responsible.

A Department of Home Affairs (DHA) contractor suspected of illegally sending classified documents to an unsecured location was allowed to continue working in the public service.

The man is alleged to have stripped the “classified” status from files relating to 500 departmental projects before forwarding them leaked information internally via email.

A figure familiar with the “serious” breach of security protocols told by the contractor, So his actions did not trigger an internal departmental alert system. As a result, this caused sensitive and classified data/information to be sent out insecurely.

2. NDIS

 

Date: May 2022

Impact: 380,000+

In May 2022, the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) suffered a data breach that exposed the personal information of over 380,000 participants. This included names, addresses, dates of birth, Medicare numbers, and bank account details. The NDIS announced that they had discovered suspicious activity on their systems and worked with law enforcement to investigate the cyber security incident.

The NDIS is a government program that supports individuals with disabilities, making this breach particularly concerning as it could potentially lead to targeted attacks or financial fraud against vulnerable individuals. The agency has urged affected individuals to monitor their financial accounts and report any suspicious activity to strengthen its cyber security defences.

3. Facebook

 

Date: May 2022

Impact: unknown

It is estimated that up to 87 million Facebook users had their data gathered by Cambridge Analytica without permission. This data is believed to have been used to manipulate the 2016 presidential election. The suit alleges that Facebook misled its users with privacy protection claims while Zuckerberg made decisions that allowed this massive data breach to occur.

Cambridge Analytica, hired by Trump’s 2016 election campaign team, gained access to the private data of 50 million Facebook users. The company claimed the information could be used to identify different types of voters and influence their behaviour.

4. South Australian Government 

 

Date: June 2022

Impact: 1 million+

In June 2022, the South Australian government revealed that a data breach had exposed the personal information of over 1 million residents. This included names, addresses, dates of birth, and Medicare details. The breach occurred through a third-party vendor used by several government agencies.

In November, when Frontier Software’s network was hacked, the data- which included tax file numbers and bank account details- was stolen.

It was said that an overseas criminal organization had perpetrated the attack by accessing Frontier’s systems. After gaining access to this sensitive information, the perpetrators deployed ransomware onto Frontier’s systems before posting some files onto the dark web.

5. National Tertiary Education Union 

 

Date: July 2022

Impact: Unknown

In July 2022, the National Tertiary Education Union (NTEU) suffered a data breach that potentially exposed the personal information of union members. This included names, addresses, phone numbers, and email addresses. The union discovered unauthorized access to their systems and quickly notified affected individuals, urging them to monitor their accounts for any suspicious activity.

The NTEU has been highly critical of the federal government’s higher education reforms, and there are concerns that this breach may have been politically motivated. The union is working with authorities to investigate the incident and strengthen its security measures to prevent data breaches.

 April 2022

 

1. Coca-Cola

 

Date: April 2022
Impact: 74000

The beverage giant suffered a data breach in April 2022, affecting approximately 74,000 current and former employees. Personal information, including social security numbers, addresses, and bank account details, were potentially exposed. Coca-Cola launched an investigation and notified affected individuals, offering credit monitoring services.

The storm became well-known in early 2022 after they were linked to a data breach at Epic Games. Supposedly, the group found a weakness in the company’s internal network, which allowed them to steal nearly 200GB of data, including information on 33 million users.

2. Panasonic

 

Date: April 2022

Impact: 6 million+

In April 2022, Japanese electronics company Panasonic’s subsidiary in Canada revealed that a data breach had exposed the personal information of over 6 million individuals. This included names, birth dates, addresses, and email addresses. The breach occurred through an external vendor used by Panasonic to send marketing materials.

Conti announced the breach on its leak page, stating that it obtained 2.8 gigabytes of data from the company’s human resources and accounting departments. Panasonic Canada neither confirmed nor denied the incident but mentioned investigating the nature of the data taken.

3. Block (ASX: SQ2)

 

Date: June 2022

Impact: 130,000+

Australian tech company Block suffered a data breach in June 2022. Block’s reports included customers’ full name and brokerage account number, and in some cases, also had the customer’s brokerage portfolio value, holdings, and/or stock trading activity for one day.

Importantly, the reports only included usernames or passwords, Social Security numbers, date of birth, payment card information, addresses, and bank account information. They did not have any security code used to access Cash App accounts nor Afterpay services. Customers outside of the United States were also not impacted by this issue.

March 2022

 

1. OKTA

 

Date: March 2022

Impact: Unknown

In March 2022, identity and access management company Okta reported a data breach that potentially exposed customer information. The company discovered unauthorized access to its internal support platform, where some customer information was stored. Only a small number of customers were affected by this breach.

Screenshots emerged online that was supposed to be of Okta’s internal system. They show a digital authentication firm for which hackers took over and claimed responsibility. LAPSUS$ is the hacking group in question. Okta said yesterday that the hack could be related to an incident from January, which they confirmed to have taken place in March.

2. Microsoft

 

The hacking group LAPSUS$ shared a screenshot that suggested they gained internal access to Microsoft’s Bing search engine and Cortana voice assistant projects.

The screenshot has since been taken down from their public chatroom. Still, copies show that the hackers accessed an account on Microsoft Azure DevOps, a product for programmers to collaborate on coding projects.

3. Ubisoft

 

Date: March 2022

Impact: Unknown

In March 2022, Ubisoft, a video game company known for popular titles such as Assassin’s Creed and Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Siege, reported a data breach. It was assumed that hackers accessed the account information of some users on the company’s website and forum, including usernames, email addresses, and encrypted passwords, which, however, was denied as a hoax.

Ubisoft has urged customers to change their passwords as a precautionary measure.

4. Nvidia  

 

Date: March 2022

Impact: Unknown

The Have I Been Pwned? (HIBP) breach website listed 71,335 compromised Nvidia accounts as having login credentials and other data taken in the attack in March 2022. International ransomware threat actor LAPSUS$ has taken responsibility for the incident and has so far offered a tiny glimpse into the data taken.

The group hasn’t requested anything in return for the data yet, but they have given RTX 3000 GPU users a method to get rid of the hash rate limiter. This would normally limit the card’s Ethereum mining capability to around 50%, but this new tool bypasses that. However, there is no guarantee that this new tool is effective, not just malware.

5. Toyota Motor

 

Date: March 2022

Impact: 1 million+

Japanese car manufacturer Toyota Motor Corporation in Australia suffered a data breach in March 2022, potentially affecting over one million customers. The company stated that the personal information of individuals who had inquired about cars via their website and those who had applied for financing or leased vehicles might have been compromised.

Toyota Motor stated that approximately 13,000 cars of output would be lost after suspending Japanese factory operations; this was caused by a supplier of plastic parts and electronic components being hit by a potential cyber attack. Currently, there is no available information regarding who may have been behind the attack or their motive.

January 2022

 

1. Red Cross Australia

 

Date: January 2022

Impact: 550,000

In January 2022, the Australian Red Cross Blood Service discovered a data breach that potentially exposed the personal information of 550,000 blood donors. Over 515,000 people’s confidential data has been revealed from a cyberattack on a contractor working for the International Committee of the Red Cross. The individuals affected by this are “highly vulnerable” due to conflict, migration, and disaster. Many have also been separated from their families. The contractor is based in Switzerland, but no motive or reasoning behind the security incident has been given.

Why Are Data Breaches So Common?

 

There are a few reasons why data breaches in Australia have become so common in recent years. The rise of digital technology and the increasing amount of personal information stored online make it easier for hackers to access sensitive information.

Additionally, companies often fail to secure their systems properly or properly train employees on data security practices, making them vulnerable targets for attacks.

The value of personal data on the black market continues to rise, giving hackers a strong financial incentive to conduct these breaches.

How Do Data Breaches Happen?

 

1. Accidental data leaks or exposure

 

This can happen through human error, such as sending sensitive information to the wrong person or accidentally making it public on a website.

2. Data on the move

 

Data can be compromised during transfer, such as through unsecured Wi-Fi or weak passwords.

3. Malware, ransomware, or Structured Query Language (SQL)

 

Malware, ransomware, and SQL injection attacks involve hackers gaining access to a system through malicious software or code.

4. Phishing

 

Phishing is a tactic where hackers impersonate a trusted entity to gain access to personal information or login credentials.

5. Distributed denial of service (DDoS)

 

In a DDoS attack, hackers flood a system with overwhelming amounts of traffic, causing it to crash and potentially leading to a data breach.

6. Recording keystrokes

 

Hackers can also gain access to login credentials and other sensitive information by recording a victim’s keystrokes on their computer or device.

7. Password guessing

 

Unfortunately, hackers aren’t always forced to work for their information. They can easily manipulate victims into revealing passwords or utilize guessing methods.

8. Physical security breach

 

This can involve stealing physical devices that contain sensitive information, such as laptops or hard drives.

9. Social engineering

 

Social engineering involves manipulating individuals into disclosing sensitive information or performing actions compromising security.

10. Insider threat

 

Insider threats can involve current or former employees intentionally or unintentionally exposing sensitive information.

11. Lack of access controls

 

Failing to restrict access to sensitive information can leave a company vulnerable to breaches.

12. Card skimmer and point-of-sale intrusion

 

This involves hackers installing devices on credit card readers or point-of-sale systems to steal payment information.

13. Cloud misconfiguration

 

When cloud services need to be properly configured, they can leave stored data vulnerable to attacks.

Data Breach Regulations In Australia

 

In Australia, the Privacy Act 1988 and Australian Privacy Principles (APPs) outline regulations for handling personal information.

Organizations must protect personal information from unauthorized access, disclosure, misuse, and loss.

They must also notify individuals and the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC) in case of a data breach.

Failure to comply with these regulations can result in penalties, fines, and civil action.

Organizations must prioritize data security and understand their obligations under Australian privacy laws. This can help prevent data breaches and mitigate the consequences of a violation.

Data Breach Notification Laws

 
  • containing and investigating the breach
  • remedying the breach (e.g., by recovering the data and ensuring it is not able to be misused by anyone who may have had access to it)
  • notifying your insurers/law enforcement
  • notifying regulators, affected individuals, and third parties
  • improving security or practices to ensure the breach does not reoccur.

Data breaches involving personal or credit information

 

Personal information and credit information data breaches (for entities covered by the Australian Privacy Act 1988) or tax file numbers are obliged to follow the Privacy Act’s mandatory data breach notification scheme.

The OAIC requires businesses to notify them and any affected individuals if a data breach occurs, which would likely result in serious harm.

The notification must assess the following:

  • The type of information
  • The sensitivity of the information
  • One or more security measures to protect the info
  • You have 30 days to investigate any suspected data breaches.

And the investigation should involve a detailed overview of the potentially accessed or breached data involving

  • the identity and contact details of the entity
  • a description of the data breach
  • the kind of information concerned
  • recommended steps individuals should take to minimize the impact of the breach.

Source: https://www.ipaustralia.gov.au/ip-for-digital-business/establish/data-breach-obligations

How To Prevent Data Security Breaches?

 

The five most practical ways to prevent data security breaches are:

1. Create and implement a data security policy at your firm

 

This policy should outline how employees should handle and protect sensitive information and the consequences for not adhering to it.

2. Continuously train staff on mitigating data risk

 

Regularly educate employees on recognizing and avoiding phishing attempts, proper password management, and other best practices.

3. Use strong passwords

 

Avoid using easily guessable passwords and frequently update them to reduce the risk of unauthorized access.

4. Encrypt, encrypt, encrypt

 

Encrypting data can prevent unauthorized individuals from accessing sensitive information, even if a breach does occur.

5. Secure your communications

 

Use secure communication channels, such as virtual private networks, to protect sensitive information during transmission.

It’s also important to regularly update software and network security to stay ahead of potential threats. Additionally, periodically assessing and monitoring data security can help identify and address vulnerabilities before a breach occurs.

How Can Matrix Solutions Help Law Firms prevent Data Breaches?

Matrix Solutions offers various managed security services, including, cybersecurity, risk assessments, training for staff, and implementing secure communication channels. Our team can also assist with creating and implementing a comprehensive data security policy for your firm.

Additionally, we offer ongoing monitoring and support to ensure that your firm remains compliant with privacy laws and stays ahead of potential threats.

Contact us today to learn more about how we can help protect your firm from data breaches.

Conclusion

 

Preventing and responding to data breaches is crucial for protecting sensitive information and avoiding potential legal and financial consequences. Creating and implementing a data security policy, regularly training staff, using strong passwords, encrypting data, and securing communications are all important steps for mitigating data risk.

Small and big all kinds of industries and firms have fallen victim to data breaches. Security measures against data breaches are more important than ever for law firms.

Working with a trusted Managed IT Services partner like Matrix Solutions can help ensure that your firm has the necessary measures to prevent a data breach and respond effectively if one does occur. Protect your firm and the sensitive information of your clients by contacting us today.

Data Breaches FAQs:

 

What types of breaches require notifications?

 

Under Australian privacy laws, organizations must notify individuals affected by a data breach likely to result in serious harm. This includes breaches involving sensitive information such as financial information, important passwords/ accounts exposures, or health records.

What four actions should companies perform after a data breach?

 

After a data breach, companies should first contain and control the breach, assess the risks and impacts of the breach, notify the affected individuals and regulators, and review and improve their data security processes.

What are the 4 common causes of data breaches?

 

Data breaches are commonly caused by unauthorized access or attacks, employee mistakes or negligence, system failures, and physical loss or theft.

What percentage of data breaches are caused by human error?

 

According to a 2019 report by Verizon, 34% of data breaches were caused by employee negligence or mistakes. This highlights the importance of regular training for staff on data security best practices.

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Matrix Solutions

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