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Some NY Law Firm Reps Said to Be Clueless as FBI Warned of Hackers Seeking Corporate Data

Posted Jan 31, 2012 9:53 AM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss

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Representatives from New York’s top 200 law firms learned about hacking risks in a meeting with the FBI last November, and some were better prepared than others.

The FBI’s cyber division in New York City held the meeting because of the rising number of law firms getting hacked, Bloomberg News reports. A warning was issued: Hackers are targeting law firms to access data about their corporate clients.

Mary Galligan, who heads the FBI division that held the New York meeting, talked to Bloomberg about the dangers. “As financial institutions in New York City and the world become stronger, a hacker can hit a law firm and it’s a much, much easier quarry,” she said.

At the meeting, law firm representatives were told they need to diagram their networks and to know how computer logs are kept. “Some were really well prepared,” Galligan told Bloomberg. “Others didn’t know what we were talking about.”

Cybersecurity firm Mandiant Corp. estimates that 80 major law firms were hacked last year, the story says.

In Canada, seven law firms were hit in 2010 by Chinese-based hackers who were apparently trying to derail a $40 billion corporate acquisition, according to Digital Wyzdom, the cyber security company hired to investigate. A law firm involved in the deal was the first to notice telltale hacking signs, including network disruptions. It turned out that spyware compiled on Chinese-language keyboards had been launched by spoof emails.

Related coverage:

ABA Journal: “The Hacktivists: Web Vigilantes Net Attention, Outrage and Access to Your Data”

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