find the latest legal job
Corporate/Commercial Lawyers (2-5 years PAE)
Category: Corporate and Commercial Law | Location: Adelaide SA 5000
· Specialist commercial law firm · Long-term career progression
View details
Graduate Lawyer / Up to 1.5 yr PAE Lawyer
Category: Personal Injury Law | Location: Brisbane CBD & Inner Suburbs Brisbane QLD
· Mentoring Opportunity in Regional QLD · Personal Injury Law
View details
Corporate and Commercial Partner
Category: Corporate and Commercial Law | Location: Adelaide SA 5000
· Full time · Join a leading Adelaide commercial law firm
View details
In-house Legal Counsel & Commercial Lawyers
Category: Corporate and Commercial Law | Location: All Sydney NSW
· Providing lawyers with flexibility and control over when they work, how they work and who they work for.
View details
In-house Legal Counsel & Commercial Lawyers
Category: Corporate and Commercial Law | Location: All Melbourne VIC
· Providing lawyers with flexibility and control over when they work, how they work and who they work for.
View details
Mobile devices risking client confidentiality

Mobile devices risking client confidentiality

Lawyers are failing to encrypt their mobile devices, risking the loss or theft of confidential client information, a technology expert has warned.

Mark Garnett, partner and head of the forensic technology team at McGrathNicol, told Lawyers Weekly that he often works with lawyers who haven’t encrypted their mobile phone or laptop in any way, risking confidentiality disclosure.

“Loss of data is the most common threat to sensitive information and it’s the easiest to address – but it’s amazing how many firms don’t address it,” he said.

Garnett fears that many practitioners view mobile devices, such as smartphones and tablets, as a “necessary evil” and are failing to educate themselves on the security risks associated with them.

“These are the lawyers who are so far behind the curve that it’s going to be difficult for them to catch up,” he said.

He advised lawyers to approach mobile devices with the knowledge that they are more vulnerable than desktop computers. This includes resisting the temptation to access confidential information on public wireless networks, like in airport lounges, Garnett added.

“You don’t know who’s on that network with you and how secure the network is.”

Private networks are not immune, he continued. Specialising in seizing and analysing digital evidence, Garnett has handled a number of cases where a threat, such as a keylogging program that can track keystrokes on a keyboard, has accessed a private network and transmitted information to an external party.

Manufacturers and software developers regularly upgrade mobile devices and their operating systems to address security vulnerabilities, said Garnett.

“But it’s still a game of catch up,” he added.

A simple preventative measure lawyers can adopt is a good password procedure, said Garnett. Strong passwords start at eight characters, consist of uppercase and lowercase letters and include numbers and special characters.

Despite repeated recommendations by technology experts like Garnett, most users fail to choose strong enough passwords, according to a study by computer scientist, and researcher at Cambridge University, Joseph Bonneau.

Bonneau shared the results of his analysis of the passwords of around 70 million Yahoo! users at the 2012 IEEE Symposium on Security and Privacy last month (23 May). He claimed in his report that experiments to actively encourage users to choose stronger passwords have largely failed.

Like this story? Read more:

QLS condemns actions of disgraced lawyer as ‘stain on the profession’

NSW proposes big justice reforms to target risk of reoffending

The legal budget breakdown 2017

Mobile devices risking client confidentiality
lawyersweekly logo
Promoted content
Recommended by Spike Native Network
more from lawyers weekly
Scales of Justice
06:03
Timing ‘critical’ in unusual contempt of court ruling
A recent case could have interesting implications for contempt of court rulings, according to a Ferr...
Dec 14 2017
International arbitration and business culture
Promoted by Maxwell Chambers. This article discusses the impact of international arbitration on t...
Papua New Guinea flag
Dec 14 2017
World-first mining case launched in PNG
Citizens of Papua New Guinea have launched landmark legal proceedings against the country’s govern...
APPOINTMENTS
Allens managing partner Richard Spurio, image courtesy Allens' website
Jun 21 2017
Promo season at Allens
A group of lawyers at Allens have received promotions across its PNG and Australian offices. ...
May 11 2017
Partner exits for in-house role
A Victorian lawyer has left the partnership of a national firm to start a new gig with state governm...
Esteban Gomez
May 11 2017
National firm recruits ‘major asset’
A national law firm has announced it has appointed a new corporate partner who brings over 15 years'...
opinion
Nicole Rich
May 16 2017
Access to justice for young transgender Australians
Reform is looming for the process that young transgender Australians and their families must current...
Geoff Roberson
May 11 2017
The lighter side of the law: when law and comedy collide
On the face of it, there doesn’t seem to be much that is amusing about the law, writes Geoff Rober...
Help
May 10 2017
Advocate’s immunity – without fear or without favour but not both
On 29 March 2017, the High Court handed down its decision in David Kendirjian v Eugene Lepore & ...