Law Firms

DLA Piper works with FBI as it grapples with malware attack, says client data appears unaffected

  • Print

DLA Piper Logo


DLA Piper is working with forensic experts and law enforcement agencies following a widespread malware attack on Tuesday that forced the law firm to shut down its computer systems as a precautionary measure.

There is no evidence to suggest any client data has been affected, DLA Piper said in a statement released Wednesday.

The law firm ordered the shutdown of its computer systems after its advanced warning system detected suspicious activity on the network, the statement said.

“Our experts are working to bring our systems back online as quickly and safely as possible,” the statement said, “and we are aiming for our email system to be up and running by (Wednesday) evening European time.”

Landline phones were also down Wednesday, though lawyers could be contacted on their cellphones. “People are managing surprisingly well and using personal emails,” an unidentified London partner told Legal Week (sub. req.). “It’s annoying. We’re running around trying to keep clients happy. Clients are—so far—being understanding.”

The malware appeared to be a variant of Petya, the statement said. The firm is working with “the relevant authorities,” including the FBI and the UK National Crime Agency.

Several multinational companies were also hit in Tuesday’s attack, report Law360 (sub. req.) and Bloomberg BNA. It followed a hacking attack last month that shut down British health care systems.

Computers hit in the latest attack displayed a message stating that files have been encrypted, and users would need to pay $300 to access them, the New York Times reports. The story indicates the virus had spread to DLA Piper’s Australian branches.

Experts told Law360 that companies and law firms can prevent the spread of malware with a standard incident response, segmented networks, and policies that limit network access to vital personnel.

DLA Piper appeared to have benefited by segmenting networks, according to Law360. Although its phone and email systems across the United States and Europe appear to have been compromised, people at its offices in Toronto and Vancouver, Canada, and in San Juan, Puerto Rico, said their systems weren’t affected, the story reports.

Experts also said it’s important to stress the basics: Make sure system patches that prevent vulnerabilities are in place and teach employees not to click on suspicious emails. Some experts indicated, however, that the latest virus was able to take hold even though companies had installed the latest patches.

Give us feedback, share a story tip or update, or report an error.