Ethics of Disaster Recovery and Data Breaches

Coming December 10 at 1:00 pm Eastern, 10:00 am Pacific – a lawyer’s ethical duties in responding to disasters and data breaches. Featuring ABA Formal Opinion 483: Lawyers’ Obligations After an Electronic Data Breach or Cyberattack and Formal Opinion 482: Ethical Obligations Related to Disasters (2018).

This session will offer real-life examples on how to recover from a disaster or a data breach — ethically.

Disasters and data breaches bring with them conflicting priorities to resolve. Duties of disclosure compete with those of confidentiality for your attention. The responsibility to provide legal services for which your clients have contracted may be adversely affected by disaster. Model Rules 1.4 and 1.6 provide the standards and the recent ABA opinions flesh out your ethical duties in the event of a disaster (natural or man-made) or a data breach (which is of course a very specific form of a disaster!).

Join our panel of experts as they guide you through these opinions with practical examples of how best to ensure you and your clients are protected in the face of this new world and all it has to throw at you.

This is a free CLE for ABA members. Register here.

All Rights Reserved 2019 Beverly Michaelis

Phishing Scam Hits OJD Users

Here are the details.

Imposter Fraud

Imposter fraud is perhaps the most common type of scam encountered by lawyers. As the FTC warns, it comes in many forms. Scammers pretend to be computer technicians, IRS officials, your banker, a client, or a law firm vendor. They may even pretend to be you!

No matter the method, the goal is always the same: to use social engineering to manipulate you into sending money. Here are nine tips from Webroot on how to avoid falling prey to phishing, vishing, and SMShing scams:

  1. Slow down. Spammers want you to act first and think later. If the message conveys a sense of urgency or uses high-pressure sales tactics be skeptical; never let their urgency influence your careful review.
  2. Research the facts. Be suspicious of any unsolicited messages. If the email looks like it is from a company you use, do your own research. Use a search engine to go to the real company’s site, or a phone directory to find their phone number.
  3. Don’t let a link be in control of where you land. Stay in control by finding the website yourself using a search engine to be sure you land where you intend to land. Hovering over links in email will show the actual URL at the bottom, but a good fake can still steer you wrong.
  4. Email hijacking is rampant. Hackers, spammers, and social engineers taking over control of people’s email accounts (and other communication accounts) has become rampant. Once they control an email account, they prey on the trust of the person’s contacts. Even when the sender appears to be someone you know, if you aren’t expecting an email with a link or attachment check with your friend before opening links or downloading.
  5. Beware of any download. If you don’t know the sender personally AND expect a file from them, downloading anything is a mistake.
  6. Foreign offers are fake. If you receive an email from a foreign lottery or sweepstakes, money from an unknown relative, or requests to transfer funds from a foreign country for a share of the money it is guaranteed to be a scam.
  7. Delete any request for financial information or passwords. If you get asked to reply to a message with personal information, it’s a scam.
  8. Reject requests for help or offers of help. Legitimate companies and organizations do not contact you to provide help. If you did not specifically request assistance from the sender, consider any offer to ’help’ restore credit scores, refinance a home, answer your question, etc., a scam. Similarly, if you receive a request for help from a charity or organization that you do not have a relationship with, delete it. To give, seek out reputable charitable organizations on your own to avoid falling for a scam.
  9. Secure your computing devices. Install anti-virus software, firewalls, email filters and keep these up-to-date. Set your operating system to automatically update, and if your smartphone doesn’t automatically update, manually update it whenever you receive a notice to do so.  Use an anti-phishing tool offered by your web browser or third party to alert you to risks.

All Rights Reserved 2019 Beverly Michaelis

 

 

Are Changes Coming to Oregon’s Data Breach Law?

Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum is urging the Oregon legislature to update Oregon’s data breach law:

“Data breach and the distribution of personal information is a growing risk for Oregonians. Nationally, data breaches in 2013 exposed an estimated 546 million piece of personal information. The Oregon Identity Theft Prevention Act of 2007 requires businesses and governmental agencies to notify consumers of digital data breaches and develop safeguards for personal information but provides no protection for medical, insurance or biometric information. By extending enforcement power to the Oregon Department of Justice, Oregon will be able to use the effective enforcement tools of the already-existing Unlawful Trade Practices Act .” Read more here.

Track the status of legislative action on this issue and in other areas that affect your practice by using the Oregon State Bar 2015 Regular Session Bill Tracking tool.

The 2015 Oregon State Bar Law Improvement Proposals are found here. The 2015 Oregon State Bar Legislative Priorities include improvements to court funding in general, eCourt funding in particular, and legal services to the poor. Read more here.

Cyber Security and Data Breach Response

lock“Cyber threat is one of the most serious economic and national security challenges we face as a nation.”  Barack Obama, President of the United States

The Identity Theft Resource Center has documented over 500 data breaches in 2014 through early September.  This represents a 26.2% increase over the same time period last year. The news isn’t any better for the legal profession.

The latest ABA Legal Technology Survey Report notes that “Nearly half of law firms were infected with viruses, spyware or malware last year.”  Fourteen percent of law firms “experienced a security breach last year in the form of a lost or stolen computer or smartphone, a hacker, a break-in or a website exploit.”

Where to Start

With such staggering numbers, it is easy to become overwhelmed.  If you are concerned about cyber security but don’t know where to start, begin here at the ABA Web site. If you are a prolific user of mobile devices, be sure to check out the ABA’s suggestions for Security on the Go.  To understand the state of security in US law firms, read this post by Bob Ambrogi.

Make Encryption Your Best Friend

Encryption is a powerful way to protect sensitive data belonging to you and your clients. The ABA post Playing it Safe provides a good overview.  Since TrueCyrpt is no longer available, check out the following reviews of encryption software: LIfehacker, GFI, PC World, and Gizmo.

You’ve Heard it Before: Use Strong Passwords

It seems we are reminding lawyers every other day about the importance of using strong passwords unique to each account or Web site.  See these recent posts on the ABA Law Technology Today blog:

Firewalls, Anti-Spam, Anti-Virus, Malware Protection

The best protection is comprehensive.  This excerpt from The 2014 Solo and Small Firm Technology Guide provides guidance.  Don’t be afraid to hire an IT expert to help.

Purchase Cyber Liability and Data Breach Coverage

The Professional Liability Fund (PLF) Excess Claims Made Plan automatically includes a cyber liability and data breach response endorsement with these features:

  • Forensic and legal assistance to determine compliance with applicable law
  • Notifications to individuals as required by law
  • 12 months credit monitoring to each notified client
  • Loss mitigation resources for law firms

If you aren’t eligible or don’t wish to purchase excess coverage through the PLF, contact a commercial carrier.

Protect Yourself Against Scams

The security measures outlined above are a good start toward protecting your firm and your clients from scams.  For more complete protection, get educated.  Order the free PLF CLE: “Protecting Your Firm and Your Client from Scams, Fraud, and Financial Loss,” and talk to your bank about fraud protection services.

[All Rights Reserved – 2014 – Beverly Michaelis]