NI law firms urged to prioritise defences against cyber attacks

  • Solicitors and other professional firms in Northern Ireland were warned today that they face being hit with significant fines as well as reputational and financial loss if they fail to prepare for the escalating risk of cyber-attacks on their businesses.

    Specialist cyber security firm Nihon Cyber Defence (NCD) said that companies in Northern Ireland are increasingly being targeted by cyber-attacks, which can have catastrophic impacts on business and lead to significant financial loss.

    NCD highlighted that the local legal sector continues to be targeted by financially motivated cyber-crime actors because it can be perceived as an easy target. Legal firms hold highly sensitive data which means they can be exploited through loss of access to systems, theft of data, exposure of sensitive data or customer information being traded for secondary crimes such as fraud.

    Last month a law firm in England was fined almost £100,000 by the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) for failing to protect and secure sensitive personal data including medical files, witness statements and the addresses of crime victims that were contained in court bundles published on the dark web following a data breach caused by ransomware.

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    Murlands Solicitors, one of the longest established law firms in Northern Ireland, which has offices in Belfast, Downpatrick and Ballynahinch, has recognised this threat and taken action to protect its networks, data and customers against the impact of cyber attacks. Under a new contract with NCD, Murlands has deployed additional monitoring to enable early detection of suspicious and malicious network activity and to respond immediately to any such incidents in order to mitigate financial, reputational and regulatory damage.

    The increase in cyber attacks on businesses has coincided with a number of global insurance companies pulling out of the market for cyber insurance and others severely downgrading what is covered under their policies. 

    Alan Reid from Murlands said: “We are pleased to announce our contract with NCD which will provide the means to ensure that we are protected from and are ready to respond to the threat of a cyber-attack on our systems. Sensitive data and information is critical to our business operations, so we cannot afford to fail to prepare for an incident. Our reputation is key and the NCD protection and support ensures that we are recognised for prioritising and focussing on both protection and response.”

     Toyko-headquartered NCD provides robust, intelligence-driven cyber defence solutions, services and support to governments, businesses and public sector organisations to proactively identify, and protect them from, all forms of cyber attack designed to cause financial, political or social disruption.

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    Now operating in Belfast with a local specialised team, NCD provides a range of protective cyber services including network monitoring, detection solutions and a bespoke incident management service. The company has recently added four senior cyber security professionals to its team in Northern Ireland.

    Dougie Grant, Managing Director at NCD Europe said: “With continued expansion of the digital and online world the risk of cyber-attacks and compromised systems is continuing to increase. Nearly half of all businesses now expect a cyber-attack in the next 12 months and it is only through early preparation that the risk and impact can be reduced.”

    He added: “Nihon Cyber Defence provides one of the most experienced and advanced cyber response services globally and we are delighted to be offering this to local organisations in Northern Ireland with our local team. Preparing organisations for the increasingly inevitable incident is key and is at the core of our response but being able to respond effectively to an incident is equally important in reducing impact and ensuring rapid recovery and business continuity while protecting your organisation, customers, and supply chain.”

    NCD in Belfast focuses its support in the legal, accounting, critical infrastructure and specialised sectors, providing proactive cyber services, network monitoring and incident management capabilities to enable organisations to prepare and respond to increasingly complex cyber risks and threats. 

    Source: Written from press release.

    About the author

    Aoife is a Sync NI writer with a previous background working in print, online and broadcast media. She has a keen interest in all things tech related. To connect with Aoife feel free to send her an email or connect on LinkedIn.

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