SIM Swap and Its Impact on Law Firms

Haseeb Awan
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August 29, 2023


Law firms have always been a lucrative target for cybercriminals, and cyberattacks on the law firms and attacks on companies and governments are becoming more common worldwide.

In recent years, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, lawyers working from have become an easy target because they lack security infrastructure and support to protect them.

Legal firms need to understand that they are the primary target for cybercriminals and hackers and should provide security to their clients and themselves. 

Clients delegate their lawyers with personal data and sensitive information, so legal firms' security should be a significant concern for any law firm. Hackers search for confidential information for financial gain and use the information for malicious purposes. Due to the growing influx of SIM Swap attacks, it is high time for law firms to enforce security measures to protect data.

This blog will discuss the SIM swap impact on law firms and best practices to prevent SIM swap attacks on your law firm.

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Why Legal Firms Data is Super Important?

Not only is data security mandatory for you and your law firm, but failing to ensure security can also have highly negative consequences for your customers. 

Since lawyers have access to clients' trade secrets, financial accounts, and other personal data, this means that all the information that the client share with their attorney must remain confidential and secure.

For hackers and crooks, law firms are fascinating. Valuable information like client's information, financial accounts, financial assets, intellectual property, personally identifiable information (PII), and trade secrets attract cybercriminals to infiltrate legal firms through email spoofing and SIM swap attack other types of cyberattacks.

And while multinational organizations can afford cybersecurity infrastructure, many law firms either cannot afford or does not consider legal firm security a priority.

SIM Swap Attacks on Lawyers Stats

In a SIM swap attack, the attacker exploits the vulnerability of two-factor authentication via SMS and convince your cell phone carrier to transfer your stolen phone number to a different SIM card that they own.

Hackers use SIM Swap or SIM-hijacking to access personal and financial accounts steal money, crucial data, and other valuables. As more and more work is now being carried out online, the threats on law firms are increasing. Like others, lawyers use emails to send sensitive data to clients, make a client call, send attachments via email or smartphone apps. All of these activities expose information that hackers can use to break into your legal firm.

Although cyberattacks on legal firms are not new, here are a few statistics that show the staggering growth in cyberattacks over the years.

  • According to American Bar Association, up to 42% of legal firms with more than 100 employees have experienced a data breach.
  • A survey conducted by ABA in 2021 shows that 25% of law firms had suffered from a data breach at some point. 
  • Approximately 4% of non-client data was the target of unauthorized access.
  • In the 2021 survey, 32% of respondents said that their firms have policies to manage data retention for personal technology use or BYOD
  • 35% of legal firms with 10-29 attorneys experienced a data breach, and nearly 35% of law firms with more than 100 layers experienced cybersecurity attacks like SIM Swap. 
  • In 2020, numerous cyberattacks of malware, SIM swapping attacks, and ransomware attacks forced several leading legal firms to shut down systems and their website to protect clients' data.

Law firms should prioritize data security and enforce security measures to avoid significant losses that can easily damage the firm's reputation and business.

Impact of SIM Swap on Law Firms

Legal firms that do not focus on cyber security put clients' data at risk. For the legal industry, public image is vital to gaining new customers, and countless new business opportunities are linked.

As a result, law firms need to take the necessary steps to improve and integrate their information security policies to protect clients' sensitive data and business information effectively.

Let's discuss the impact of SIM Swap on legal firms and the hackers' motives behind obtaining data via illegal means.

Data Breach and Ransom

Data leaks can have financial consequences like information ransom and hackers constantly looking for financial gains. Cybercriminals leverage the information gathered through data breaches to extract money. 

A successful SIM Swap attack leads to a data breach, and once the data breach occurs, the hacker can retrieve data and send a ransom message, threatening to release the information to the public. Disclosure of private information to the public can have long term consequences, such as financial harm to customers, reputation damage of legal firms, and regulatory penalties. 

On the other hand, cyberattacks are not restricted to financial strain. But can damage business relationships. 

Clients also focus on the online security of legal firms that represent them and use third-party security assessments and questionnaires. 

Investment decisions using hacked data

Hackers can benefit from the data retrieved from the law firm and make investment decisions based on private information about clients, such as financial statements, financial agreements, litigation, merger and acquisitions, and more. 

Furthermore, if the client's information is breached, they may terminate their contract with the law firm.

Other risks and repercussions of successful SIM swapping attacks include hackers disrupting your network and restricting access to the information you need to complete the client's work. Furthermore, a successful SIM swap attack can give easy access law firm's website resulting in loss of search engine rankings and traffic and, as a result, loss of perspective. Google also does not recommend websites that may compromise users' security.

Law firms should be fully aware that even a minor attack can contribute to business losses, longer recovery time, and a range of legal expenses and financial losses.

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Best Practices to Prevent SIM Swap on Law Firms

Lawyers and attorneys must do everything in their power to protect their information, respond to unauthorized access and security violations, and notify all clients who may have been affected by the SIM swap threat. It makes preventing SIM swap attacks on lawyers is super important.

We have compiled a few effective practices for SIM swap attacks protection and tips for improving your firm's security in the sections to follow.

Continuous assessment of Systems

Law firms should evaluate and monitor their systems, standard operating procedures, and plans to reduce security breaches reasonably and consistently.

Bump Up the mobile security of your law firm

As more and more lawyers are working remotely, law firms should strengthen and provide mobile data security. Using secure mobile applications dramatically simplifies the security process; for example, Clio's mobile application for lawyers lets you access your business anywhere. 

Here's how to protect your phone, laptop and other mobile devices:

Add PIN Verification

Add the PIN verification to your SIM card. You'll be required to enter the PIN code if you choose to transfer your phone number to a new SIM card.

2FA (two-factor authentication apps

 Law firms should encourage their lawyers and attorneys to use 2FA applications or physical tokens such as Authy, Yubikey, and Google Authenticator.

Use Password Managers

Get a good password manager instead of saving all your passwords to your phone.

Leverage Efani Mobile Services

Law firms should focus on their lawyer's mobile security against SIM swap attacks and subscribe to Efani's secure mobile services to strengthen mobile data security.

Mitigate security vulnerabilities by securing your communications

Hackers can intercept your data through vulnerable communication channels. Review and mitigate your contacts and communications vulnerabilities (such as encrypting your business emails). You can also install communication applications like Wire and Signal.

Avoid Oversharing on Social Media

Reduce the chances of SIM swapping scams by avoiding oversharing information about your financial assets on social media and forums.

Educate your Lawyers and Clients

Educate about SIM swapping scams and other cybersecurity threats and enforce safe practices to maintain data security. To prevent the risk of data exposure escalating, lawyers must train and inform their clients about the safety methods to boost the cybersecurity of their assets. 

Furthermore, lawyers who notice a data breach must promptly inform the clients about the issue to make informed decisions.

Want Guaranteed Protection Against SIM Swap? Reach Out to Us.

Haseeb Awan
CEO, Efani Secure Mobile

I founded Efani after being Sim Swapped 4 times. I am an experienced CEO with a demonstrated history of working in the crypto and cybersecurity industry. I provide Secure Mobile Service for influential people to protect them against SIM Swaps, eavesdropping, location tracking, and other mobile security threats. I've been covered in New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Mashable, Hulu, Nasdaq, Netflix, Techcrunch, Coindesk, etc. Contact me at 855-55-EFANI or for a confidential assessment to see if we're the right fit!

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