Ransomware and Your Law Firm

Imagine if your law practice and client data were held for ransom.

The last few years have given rise to a frightening new digital threat: Ransomware.

Ransomware is the marriage between computer viruses and electronic theft and fraud. Ransomware is software that spreads like a virus, infects a computer and (without the user’s consent) encrypts all of its contents. The victim must pay a ransom to the creator of the ransomware to acquire the key necessary to decrypt their data.

How Ransomware Works

Ransomware spreads like a computer virus, primarily by email (so as always: be careful opening email from unknown sources!) as well as certain web sites meant to look familiar, but cleverly impersonated to allow the casual user to unknowingly become infected. Once the virus infects the computer, it immediately begins encrypting the computer’s hard drive and any other attached drives it can find. Any data including documents, videos, images–will be encrypted: forever locked away unless you pay the ransom. We’ve observed the exact ransom to range from $200 to $5000 USD per incident.

Once the ransomware virus is installed, it will then open a window alerting the user that it has struck, and the only way to decrypt the data is to pay a fee (ransom), which the victim can do right from their computer. See below–a screen shot of a computer infected by Cryptolocker, one of the most prevalent forms of ransomware today.

About the Author: Dennis Dimka
Dennis Dimka is the CEO and founder of Uptime Legal Systems, North America's leading provider of technology, cloud and marketing services to law firms. Dennis is the author of Law Practice as a Service: How and Why to Move Your Law Firm to the Cloud, and was an Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year finalist in 2016. Follow Dennis on LinkedIn.

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