find the latest legal job
Freelance Lawyers
Category: Banking and Finance Law | Location: All Perth WA
· Freelance opportunities through Vario from Pinsent Masons
View details
Freelance Lawyers
Category: Other | Location: All Adelaide SA
· • Qualified lawyer with a strong academic background
View details
Freelance Lawyers
Category: Other | Location: All Melbourne VIC
· • Qualified lawyer with a strong academic background
View details
Insurance Lawyer (1 PAE)
Category: Insurance and Superannuation Law | Location: Brisbane CBD & Inner Suburbs Brisbane QLD
· Great Career Opportunity ·
View details
Insurance and Health Lawyer (1-4 PAE)
Category: Insurance and Superannuation Law | Location: Melbourne CBD & Inner Suburbs Melbourne VIC
· New position to support Growth ·
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
Please, Continue (Hamlet), Melbourne Festival
Oct 16 2017
Hamlet suffers slings and arrows of top Victorian barristers
Victorian judges and barristers have performed the unique play Please, Continue (Hamlet) at the Melb...
Julian Assange
Oct 13 2017
When justice fails, according to Assange
WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has dismissed the capacity of judicial systems to deal with complex...
Aussie anti-terrorism laws, detention of 10-year-olds
Oct 13 2017
Treatment of kids under Aussie anti-terrorism laws an over-reach: ABA
The Australian Bar Association has urged the government to reconsider proposed reforms to Australian...
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 & ...