There is a new email attack that is making news, and it has gotten personal for lawyers. It is playing against an attorney’s worst fear — an ethics complaint.
The email which appears to originate from a state’s bar association, has a subject line informing the attorney that they have an ethics complaint filed against them. The “complaint” comes as an attachment, and as soon as the attorney (or their assistant) opens the file, the ransomware runs. It will then begin to lock every file on the computer, as well as any file that the computer is connected to via the network. There is no stopping it, there is no “cancel” button. Once this is activated, you can only hope to restore your files from a backup or pay the ransom.
Hilltop's legal IT specialists have over 35 years’ experience working for law firms, and we understand that an email with a subject line of “ethics complaint” from a bar association’s Professional Ethics Division, would be extremely hard not to open.
Here are some quick tips to help keep you and your firm safe:
- An ethics complaint is never emailed to a firm or attorney, but mailed, according to Professional Ethics Divisions that we have encountered.
- Ensure your firm has a secure backup system in place. The reality of these types of attacks, is that the question is not “If” the attack will happen, it is “When it will happen”.
- Educate all of your users inside your firm about this email attack. If anyone opens this type of email, your firm is still at risk.