The Bar Council has warned chambers to check their IT security systems and obtain insurance for cyber breaches, following a spate of ‘ransomware’ attacks against legal practices.

It has been reported that both 4 New Square and 3 Verulam Buildings have suffered cyberattacks in the past month. The former is pursuing the unknown hackers in the High Court, obtaining an injunction blocking the use, publication, communication or disclosure of information listed in a confidential schedule. 

Hacker holds phone showing coding

There has been a spate of ‘ransomware’ attacks against legal practices

Source: iStock

The Bar Council said the attacks ‘should act as a wake-up call for everyone to check the security of their information networks and that their critical business interruption plans are up to date and effective. This is particularly the case where so many barristers continue to work from home. It is not only chambers’ systems but home systems which are vulnerable to attack.’

It added that there has been a recent surge in malware attacks through text messages which include hyperlinks asking readers to ‘click here’ for more information.

‘If you and your chambers have not obtained insurance for cyberattacks or business interruption, it may be sensible to consider this now.’ The Bar Council is also looking at cybersecurity training providers for the bar.

At the start of lockdown, the Solicitors Regulation Authority warned of the risks of homeworking to cybersecurity, publishing extensive guidance for firms. However, a survey of 3,500 firms by software provider Access Legal found that over 40% of practices have not fully updated their cybersecurity policies since moving to remote working in March last year.