An Australian supplier to the legal services industry has suffered a cyber security incident.
Law In Order says the attack occurred over the weekend and, as a precaution, it limited access to segments of its network, which also halted much of its business operations.
The firm has brought in specialist cyber security investigators who are conducting a forensic investigation into the “scope and details of the incident” with a priority to restore systems safely and quickly.
Some of the Sydney-based business’s legal industry clients may have been impacted by the incident.
“We’re assessing reports that a very small proportion of data on Law In Order’s servers has been exfiltrated and proactively advising customers who may be impacted,” the firm’s statement says.
Law In Order says it is working with the Australian Federal Police and the Australian Cyber Security Centre (ACSC) and is committed to being open and transparent with clients.
Could it be ransomware?
Although Law In Order has not confirmed details of the security incident, an article from IT News speculates that it may have been the Netwalker ransomware, which has been around since 2019 when it was known as Mailto.
Cyber security specialists at Mcafee noted in a blog in August 2020 that its research suggests that Netwalker “malware operators are targeting and attracting a broader range of technically advanced and enterprising criminal affiliates.”
In an interview reported by intel471.com, an alleged member of a cyber-criminal gang said that law firms were among the most desirable targets for attacks. He also said that victims typically pay ransoms rather than risk data being released online.
The threat to law firms globally remains elevated.
A recent article from the Law Society Gazette said that UK law firms had reported a 300% increase in phishing attacks during the first two months of lockdown alone. Almost two and a half million pounds of funds held by firms had been stolen in the first half of 2020.
This rise in cyber-criminal activity has also been seen in Australia.
Last week, ACSC head Abigail Bradshaw said cyber security has become a bigger concern during the pandemic with “a sharp rise in email phishing, message scams and ransomware attacks targeting COVID-19 services and stimulus and welfare programs.”
“The cyber landscape has evolved,” she said. “It has escalated and expanded quite significantly. It is indisputable that the scale, frequency and sophistication of malicious cyber activity is on the rise.”
Bradshaw said a collaborative effort was needed to protect Australian individuals and businesses from the risk.