South Florida Law Firms Ransomware Data Breach

Ransomeware Attack in Coral Gables Florida

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Cyber Attack in Coral Gables, Fl

The Coral Gables-based company TrialWorks, a software company that manages electronic records for thousands of law firms in the US, was subject to a ransomware attack. Digital legal documents were held hostage in a classic ransomware attack.

Last Thursday, one of the law firms who’s information is kept by TrialWorks, was forced to request more timed to meet a filing deadline in an important case in federal court because it could not access its documents.

How did it Happen?

TrialWorks alerted its customers about the breach and stated it was caused by a Microsoft service outage affecting Outlook desktop and mobile apps, according to court records.

Software management services like TrialWorks continue to grow as law firms look to store their abundance of electronic documents in a host facility. This part of a larger trend of digital transformation.  In other words, the cloud. And as industries move their files and digital information to the cloud, security becomes essential against cyber threats. Government facilities throughout Florida have already suffered from cyber-attacks involving ransomware. Banks have experienced breaches as well.

Cloud computing is the natural progression of software technology. The old client-server model of getting physical disks and installing software on local servers was the only viable solution for the better part of two decades. Now industries are looking to cloud technology for a more practical approach to data storage.

TrialWorks alerted the law firms and attorneys that use its case management services that they could not access their electronically stored documents while they were resolving the breach issue. This created a more issues as TrialWorks informed customers that it had a high ticket volume and response times would be delayed.

The company merged with another company, Needles and expanded greatly. Law firms using Trialworks suffered significantly. Attorneys working cases couldn’t access the necessary files and creates set-backs that impact TrialWorks and all of their clients.

Data Breaches & Cyber Attacks

Data breaches, social engineering and ransomware attacks are devastating and are, unfortunately, underestimated by small and medium sized businesses. One of TrialWorks’ clients was a small firm of nine lawyers working on a civil litigation case. The TrialWorks breached slowed down their work. Their deadline issue was resolved, however, they have until November 14 to respond to a dispute over the testimony of an expert witness. This response requires access to critical documents in the case.

What happened at TrialWorks is not specific to them. In the month of September of 2019 alone there were 75 data breaches and a total of 531,596,111 breached records. This number is significantly less than August, which had 95 incidents total. However, there was an overall increase of 363% in terms of records breached.

A data breach happens when a cybercriminal successfully infiltrates data sources and extracts sensitive information. The more valuable the information, the likelier an organization is to become a target. The healthcare industry, for example, is often targeted. In fact, the medical industry is the top industries for cyberattacks. However, there are a number of other industries also vulnerable to attack.

The most targeted sectors for cyberattacks are the following:
1. Healthcare
2. Retail
3. Financial Services & Insurance
4. Public Administration
5. Information
6. Professional/Scientific
7. Education
8. Manufacturing

Among these, the top three are Healthcare, Retail and Financial Services. These verticals are where average consumers, clients and patients expose their most sensitive information.

South Florida Law Firms Ransomware Data Breach Statistics

Healthcare

In healthcare, hospitals house a lot of private data. A patient’s medical record, social security, insurance provider, and medication are all valuable to a hacker.

Retail

Retailers are lucrative because of the swipe and go payment machines and the high amount of transactions make credit card or debit card information accessible to cybercriminals through various methods like skimming. Skimming is a means to get card data by creating a duplicate payment cards and re-using the copies.

Financial Services

It’s well known that over 25 percent of all malware attacks target the financial sector. Cyber criminals target financial services companies by implementing Trojan viruses to steal banking information and download data. One of the most famous examples of this was the Equifax data breach. The company’s estimated to lose over $600 million because of it. Furthermore, companies in the financial services industry are paying more to secure infrastructures and protect critical data from theft. That is why financial cloud computing is becoming popular in the industry. Cloud accounting technology is also on the rise.  However, criminals are still motivated to commit cyber crime due to the low risk, high reward nature of cyber-attacks.

Not Your Average Theft

Unlike a physical robbery, it isn’t immediately apparent when you’ve experienced a data breach. It can take weeks, months or, in some cases, years before a breach is discovered. Hackers use this to their advantage, targeting the weaknesses within regulatory guidelines. That’s why it’s important not to take any compliance risks.

These cyber breaches are becoming more dangerous and harder to detect. A financial company’s IT infrastructure is not enough anymore. Organizations are adopting a more proactive approach by employing advanced cyber security software, multi-factor authentication and expert security response professionals layered on top of efficient cloud technology. As a result, financial cloud providers not only anticipate attacks as early as possible, but train financial services firms to assist in their own protection.

The breach in TrialWorks is a perfect anecdote to what can happen to any firm in a number or industries.  When you experience a breach, your company loses credibility, clients, resources and has to deal with all the ramifications of the breach itself. There are long, extensive investigations into the nature of the breach, potential lawsuits and compliance related hassles that can stagnate if not completely ruin a financial firm regardless of size.