In the November 25, 2019 issue of South Carolina Lawyers Weekly, Renee Sexton (“Sexton”) provided some key information into the ever-evolving world of cybersecurity. Most people today are connected to their smartphones and other electronic devices. I have seen signs at local businesses informing customers that, “we do not have free Wi-Fi.”
Most people fail to consider the consequences of connecting to a company’s Wi-Fi network. Sexton opens her article by explaining the first thing we, as consumers, are told to do before connecting to another’s Wi-Fi network is agree to the terms of using the network. Whenever consumers connect their devices to another’s network, they become susceptible to that network’s security. Sexton continued by saying once a company has access to a person’s electronic device, then the company can track everything that person does on their device and screenshot confidential information. Thus, it is no surprise when Sexton mention how attorneys are potential targets for cyberattacks.
Attorneys have access to confidential client information and could be held liable for any breaches in that confidential information. Sexton spoke with Karen Painter Randall (“Randall”), who is an attorney, and Randall urges attorneys and law firms to view cybersecurity as “a process, not a product.” Law firms should have a plan in place to prevent cyberattacks, but also a plan to address a cyberattack.
Randall recommended law firms follow the National Institute for Standards in Technology ISO 27001 and ethics guidelines. The article concludes with suggestions drafted by the University of South Carolina School of Law Cybersecurity Legal Task Force. These suggestions include attorneys turning off the Wi-Fi setting on electronic devices, setting up a Virtual Private Network (VPN), or using a separate phone for business purposes.
This article provided great insight for attorneys, as well as the general public, on the potential negative consequences of connecting to a public Wi-Fi network. Additionally, the article explains why attorneys and law firms should be mindful of connecting to third-party networks and how to take steps to enhance cybersecurity.
By: Erika Fowler
J.D. Candidate, Charleston School of Law
Library Research Fellow
Head Lexis Associate
Secretary, Federal Bar Association-Student Division
Vice Chair of Relations, Honor Council