Hacking and Your Law Practice: It Could Happen to You

Unless your head has been stuck in the sand over the last week, you’ve probably spent some time wondering about how 77 million Sony PlayStation Network gamers had their online data hacked, and their credit card information possibly stolen.

What if a hacker got a hold of your law firm data. You know: client names, addresses, and social security numbers, their bank information, your bank account, your court calendar, and — Holy $&@*#%! — your time and billing information.

Yeah, we know: you’d scream like a 2-year-old. But then what?

Have you ever misplaced your phone, iPad, or (crikey!) your notebook or laptop computer? Stuff happens.

Password protect everything.. If someone takes a five-finger discount on your briefcase in court, your chances of seeing it again are slim to none. Hey, someone might have just picked it up by mistake, right? Good luck with that.

Make sure that all your computers, phones, and other mobile devices are password-protected. If not, someone could likely just steal them, and start using them.

Your iPhone, Blackberry, or other smartphone should alway be locked. No one should be able to turn it on, or wake it up from sleep mode, without first being forced to enter your password. Make sure that it’s something that isn’t too easy to remember.

The same goes for your computer. If you put it in sleep mode, nobody should be able to use it without first entering in a long, but easy-to-remember password.

Oh, and in case you think it’s a good idea to store your passwords in your address book or other contact manager, guess again. Hackers will look there. They will also look for stored user names and passwords saved in your Internet browser. You don’t know where to find them? Hackers do.

Don’t turn on any ‘sharing’ preferences for your music, documents, or other computer files if you can avoid it.

Your data depends upon you. So do the people, businesses, and organizations who hire you to be their lawyer.