51 RI Bar J., No. 3, Pg. 21 (November, 2002). Securing Your Clients' E-Information.

AuthorToby Brown

Rhode Island Bar Journal

Volume 51.

51 RI Bar J., No. 3, Pg. 21 (November, 2002).

Securing Your Clients' E-Information

Securing Your Clients' E-InformationToby BrownSenior Vice President, Strategic Initiatives for e-Business SolutionsA hot topic these days is how lawyers should be securing the electronic versions of their clients' information. Given the ethical duties and malpractice concerns this issue presents, this topic deserves the attention it is getting.

The topic of security gives rise to a number of questions, especially applied to the legal environment. In order to explore this topic, we will follow through a typical line of questioning. As we move through these questions, you can compare the descriptions to your own situation. Hopefully, this will help you in evaluating your current security and give you ideas for how you might improve it.

Can someone breach your computer(s)?The answer is yes. Just like the best lock can be picked or better safes lead to better burglars, more sophisticated firewalls lead to more sophisticated hacking tools and techniques. You will never have a 100% security solution. The real question is: Do you know what your security risks are and have you quantified them?

What is the likelihood someone will attempt to get in?Following from our quantified risk note above, let's break this question down into two parts. 1) What is the likelihood someone is going to single you out for an attack? This is hard to measure, and the risk may well be low. But, you never know when someone might find you or your firm an interesting target. 2) What is the likelihood of a random attack? The answer is: High. Most hacking attempts come from "Script Kiddies." These less sophisticated hackers borrow hacking 'scripts' (small programs) from more experienced hackers. They then run these automated attacks against random Internet addresses. Since the Internet is made up of sequential numbers, the attackers pick a number and work up from there.

When an automated attack gets to your address, it runs a series of known attempts to get into your system. If any of these are successful, an alert is sent to the hacker that a security hole has been found. Now the hacker will pay specific attention to your network and start playing around with your system. To give you an idea of how many of these attacks occur, my Internet...

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