Cybercrime continues to plague the lives of honest people, and the chances of recovering our losses from these thieves are minimal. Today’s Wills and Probate published an alarming report on the topic on November 21, 2019. This reveals the majority of the UK’s 200 leading will and probate companies do not have adequate protection.
This Information Comes from an Independent Study
University of Portsmouth’s Centre for Counter Fraud Studies has been working with associates to determine the vulnerability of the law industry. It has found practitioners are increasingly losing money to cyber criminals. In fact the sector lost £9.4m of client money in 2016. This increased to £10.7 in 2017.
The National Cyber Security Centre participated in the study. Its Legal Threat Report found that 60% of UK law firms reported an attack in 2017. The figure for 2013 was 42% so again a significant increase.
UK Solicitors Regulation Authority Expresses Concerns
The authority takes cybercrime seriously. In fact, it regards it as one of the greatest challenges facing UK law firms. Apparently, the first six months of 2019 recorded client money losses to the tune £731,250. Therefore, we agree with Today’s Wills and Probate’s conclusion that the legal fraternity is facing a real threat.
- Some 90% of law companies received email spoofing attacks. Their sender addresses were slightly altered clones of legitimate companies, and may have contained the seeds of phishing, malware, and ransomware attacks.
- Just over 80% had vulnerabilities in their info tech systems. These could have included web and email servers open to hacking. Moreover, one in five was using at least one internet service with outdated software.
- A quarter of the legal firms surveyed had security certificates that were expired, withdrawn or could not be trusted. An alarming 79% had a domain registered to a private email address creating further vulnerability.
Moreover, UK Law Firms are Attractive Cyber Targets
Cyber criminals know UK solicitors hold large amounts of client funds, not to mention their sensitive information too. The latter includes personal, and business data lying open to successful hackers in conveyancing, divorce, probate and testamentary documents.
It’s extremely important to note that big business has taken over from the solitary hacker still in the public’s mind. Large cybercrime undertakings use very large computers to try different data combinations, until they finally hack into the information they want.
Therefore, it’s extremely important to use long-form user names and passwords, and to have different ones for different accounts. In olden days, John Wayne took care of bank robbers with a Colt six-shooter revolver. Those times are gone because of improved brick and mortar security.
For these reasons the preferred hunting ground has become private companies, and individuals like you and we. If you are taking care of probate on behalf of a deceased family member or a friend, you are therefore equally vulnerable.
That’s because your name and email address appear in probate documentation on government and banking servers. You should therefore create a different email address for the purpose, and close it down after finally distributing the last assets.