virusIn recent years, hackers have increasingly targeted law firms and public relations companies in an attempt to steal their clients’ sensitive information. The hackers are using a sophisticated e-mail scheme that breaks into the company’s computer network and steals data often linked to overseas clients. As a result, the FBI has issued warnings towards the rising amount of computer hacks that have been occurring in law firms. Apparently it was a trend that started as early as two years ago but it has grown dramatically since then. The hackers are using a system known as “spear fishing,” which uses a personalized spam e-mails that can slip through common defenses.

“Law firms have a tremendous concentration of really critical, private information,” said Bradford Bleier, unit chief with the FBI’s cyber division. Infiltrating those computer systems, he said, “is a really optimal way to obtain economic, personal and personal security related information.”

Alan Paller, Director of Research at SANS Institute, a computer-security organization, stated that the hackers going after law firms often target companies that are negotiating a major international deal concerning anything from seeking a patent on a sensitive new technology to opening a plant in another country. While opening a “spear fishing” e-mail itself does not pose a danger, they often contain links or attachments that when opened will infiltrate the network or install malicious programs. The FBI warned that the attachments or links can appear to be anything from a photo to an executable program. The FBI also warns that while hackers used to work in solidarity, they are now working in transnational criminal organizations which pose a bigger threat to businesses.

(Via CW 14)

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