Thursday, May 31, 2012

Hacking Risks Facing Law Firms (More on Chinese and Russian Attacks)

LTN editor-in-chief Monica Bay sends a timely update from recent LegalTech conference. "Law Firm Risk Factor: China, Russia Cyberspies" summarizes key themes from keynote speaker Joel Brenner's address. Brenner is of counsel at Cooley LLP, and formerly held roles including: senior counsel at the NSA, head of US Counterintelligence, and NSA inspector general.
  • "China and Russia conduct 'relentless targeting of the private sector, not for military information, but for reasons having just to do with technology. 'This is not the cold war, revisited,' he said. 'These are not diplomats, they are every day business persons. This is a different world than any of us grew up with.'"
  • "Law firms, especially large international shops, and public relations organizations, are frequent targets for systematic attacks, said Brenner. 'Lawyers are attacked at work, at home, while traveling, and it's embarrassing to have to tell clients,' he said. At issue is confidential data, especially for negotiations. 'Lawyers who have clients doing business in China, or lobbying, are hardest hit. They worry about losing information.'"
  • "Law firms and their clients need to change their mindset about secrecy, and focus more limiting access than preventing access, he said. 'Secrets are like isotopes, they have half-lives. Our job in the information security business is to prevent and slow the degradation of those half-lives. We are talking about managing secrets,' he said -- differentiating the things that are not very important, or short-lived, from more important information."

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