How To Upkeep Your Law Firm Website Health, Security & Design
It was too late.
The young, shy law intern had only been at the law firm for a few weeks. To say that things had been in a whirlwind would be considered a vast understatement. He was still adjusting to the life and culture of a fast-paced law firm where the slightest mistake was frowned upon.
After opening what seemed to be a link from a source that had come through the law firm website intake form with the subject matter connected to an important client the firm was representing, his computer and their entire network it was connected with, was instantly infected with ransomware.
Bad actors were in. The damage was done. The law firm would suffer.
What is Ransomware?
“Ransomware is an ever-evolving form of malware designed to encrypt files on a device, rendering any files and the systems that rely on them unusable. Malicious actors then demand ransom in exchange for decryption.
Ransomware actors often target and threaten to sell or leak exfiltrated data or authentication information if the ransom is not paid.” This is according to the U.S. Government’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Assurance Agency”. (CISA)
So what does that mean?
Hackers take advantage of security weak spots, such as phishing and ransomware emails disguised as form fill emails from your law firm website, to steal sensitive data or lock files. These criminals will only give you the key to access your system, or return the files, once you’ve paid their ransom.
In 2021, we saw many high-profile attacks on corporations and firms across the country and the world. Just six ransomware groups are responsible for breaching the cybersecurity defenses of 292 organizations.
These criminal organizations have so far taken more than $45 million in ransom money from their attacks. (ZDNet)
How To Keep Your Website Secure
Your law firm website is most likely the first and most prominent place that people find you online and are able to contact you. So it is very important that vulnerabilities to your law firm data infrastructure are strengthened at the very first point of contact between your law business and bad actors online.
One of the easiest and most important ways to keep your website secure is to keep it up-to-date with the latest code updates.
If you are working with WordPress, a CMS platform we recommend to all our law firm clients, this can be as simple as clicking a button on the backend of your website. If all goes well, your site updates with the latest security patches and code updates to keep your website secure.
If all doesn’t go well and you break your website, you can hopefully restore from a backup that you set up with your hosting, like we do here at ClearBox for our clients. If you didn’t do that, then maybe you can backup from another method, perhaps the developer you hired a few years ago is still around. Hopefully.
Website Intake Form Plugin Updates & Security
Other important elements of your website that should be kept updated to the latest release are plugins. Although plug-ins vary widely, all have the potential to create security problems that often begin with a loss of control of the device: the appearance of pop-up ads, erratic behavior, etc. They can also cause data loss given that they collect personal information, including login information, and send it secretly.
WordPress forms are much more secure than putting your email on your site for visitors to use when they need to get in touch.
This cuts down on spam email to your personal email box. A practice we like to use at ClearBox for our clients is setting up secondary email aliases that run virus scans on incoming form submissions so that they are scrubbed clean before they get delivered to the lawyers inbox.
Something you can do for your law client intake practice is scrubbing your personal emails from your website to decrease the ways bad actors online can get to you and hold your data hostage.
Can You Do It Alone?
Unfortunately there are a myriad of dark possibilities when it comes to your online safety and security these days.
That’s why when you can do it on your own, by all means, do it. But it’s a smart choice to leverage professional help when you can’t do it all on your own.
Considering you have a law practice to run, website and email security should be the last thing on your mind.
The law firm cybersecurity experts at ClearBox Law Firm Digital Marketing can protect your site from potential threats. Book an appointment with one of our experts today!