Big law firms in Wall Street have become the latest target of hackers in what law enforcement authorities see as an insider trading-related attack.
The data breach affected some of the bigwigs in New York City’s legal circle such as Cravath Swaine & Moore LLP and Weil Gotshal & Manges LLP, whose computer systems were accessed illegally, though there is no conclusive evidence at present that indicates some sensitive pieces of information were used with malicious intent. The only certain thing about the data breach, therefore, is that the networks of these law firms were simply hacked.
The companies described the breach as limited in its scope, meaning the attack did not affect the entire information technology systems of the law firms. But that does not degrade the level of alarm that the attack creates in the aftermath, especially because these law firms hold sensitive data about business transactions.
It’s a good thing the companies were quick to roll out patches to their computer networks immediately after the discovery of the data breach incidents. Some security experts were of the common opinion that the attacks were meant to steal information in order to aid in insider trading activities.
The Wall Street law firms targeted by the hackers are in possession of different information related to patents pending approval from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. Some other law firms specialize in mergers and acquisitions deals. By stealing information from the computer networks of these companies, hackers will be able to manipulate the stock market or take advantage of patent data t to their gains.
Some hackers will engage in identity theft, with a particular focus on c-suite executives whose email addresses are contained in the computer systems of high-profile law firms, as well as financial fraud. It has happened in the past, and there’s no reason why it could not happen now. The rise in cyber attacks that target corporate law firms that deal with patents must serve as a wake-up call for corporate IT security departments to beef up their security posture.
It would help to assume that attackers behind these data breaches are not just keen on stealing email addresses. It could be well beyond that. It is highly recommended for law firms to revamp their security practices, according to some industry experts. In fact, it would help a lot to completely overhaul security protocols in place.
Employees must also be trained, as we keep saying again and again, since humans are the weakest link in the security chain.