"Now for the next slide on Cyber-securi-"
The Ince Group has obtained an injunction to protect its confidential data after it was hit by a ransomware attack.
Cyber-attackers targeted Ince on 13 March, and threatened to publish stolen data on the dark web if the firm did not pay a ransom. On 1 April, the High Court granted the firm an injunction to block the use, publication or disclosure of any data taken from the firm's systems by the hackers.
A spokesman for the Ince Group told RollOnFriday that the injunction means that if the hackers publish the data "they may be held in contempt of court and imprisoned, fined or have their assets seized."
It is an illustration of the vulnerability of major law firms to this sort of attack, which is something lawyers working for these firms should be aware of. Ince advises on cyber security, but has now found itself to be a victim. The firm highlights its expertise on its website, and offers clients a "Cyber Security Assessment" to identify any existing vulnerabilities in their networks.
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Ince's IT systems were disrupted following the cyber-attack. RollOnFriday was told by a source that staff had problems with their emails for three weeks, which had affected their ability to access certain emails and documents. Ince staff couldn't record time or raise invoices, either, said an insider. And there was no wifi in the office, so everyone had to WFH or, if they were in the office, to use "hotspotting off their phones".
The firm did not verify the extent of the IT issues, but did confirm there had been problems due to the cyber-attack. A spokesman said: “Whilst we have been experiencing some IT disruption as a result of this incident, where possible we’ve put work arounds in place to ensure client servicing can continue as normal; albeit, in some cases, with slight delays.”
It is not known who is behind the attack at this stage. But Ince is not the only firm that has been hit by hackers. A criminal law firm was recently fined after it failed to secure sensitive court files which were posted on the dark web.
In 2017, a cyber gang crippled DLA Piper's communication network for over two days. The hackers asked the firm to pay an unspecified wedge of bitcoin, but RollOnFriday understands that the firm refused to cough up. In 2020 a ransomware gang claimed that it was auctioning a media law firm's celebrity client files. Other hackers have merely forced law firms to sell diet pills, advertise busty brides and flog Viagra.