Is Your Email Vulnerable? Ask the Chinese Military

Image: ribkhan, Pixabay

I’m a current events junkie. I’ll admit it. And I work with law firms. Thus, my favorite podcast? “Stay Tuned with Preet.” Yes, this is Preet Bharara, the former U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York. Check out an episode. Preet takes a few questions about the law at the beginning of each episode. Then he has a guest. Preet is not only smart, but surprisingly personable. It’s a fast-moving hour.

A recent guest was John P. Carlin, former Assistant Attorney General for the National Security Division at the Department of Justice and Chief of Staff to Robert Mueller at the FBI. He is currently a partner with Morrison & Foerster. Carlin is an international cybersecurity expert.

One of the things which caught my attention in this episode was Carlin’s story of the US subsidiary of a German company whose data was stolen by hackers in the Chinese military. The company, SolarWorld, in Hillsboro, Oregon, made solar energy components.

How was the data stolen? Email. Carlin said, “Email. It is the least protected part of the system, usually. Not like Intellectual Property which is encrypted or where special measures are taken to protect it. They stole email traffic.”

Oh. “…the least protected part of the system.” Overwhelmingly true. Carlin said that the Chinese military found data which allowed them to figure out the exact price point of the solar panel components which would cause pain to SolarWorld. The Chinese dumped the China-origin solar energy product, selling at below market prices. Eventually this forced SolarWorld into bankruptcy. They are still operating in Hillsboro today.

John Carlin went on to say, “To add insult to injury, when SolarWorld sued for unfair trade practices, the Chinese military stole the litigation strategy.”

Arghh.

It’s a lesson to us all. Email is not as secure as it must be. Some law firms have a way for attorneys to send encrypted email to clients on as-needed basis. The reality is that these techniques are awkward for both the attorney and the client and are not used as often as they should be.

The day is probably a few years off when much of business email will be encrypted. Encrypted email must become easier to use for both parties for it to be widely adopted.

 But don’t be caught doing nothing. There are straightforward actions which you can take today:

  1. aUse your “trusted sanctuaries,” e.g., in legal technology, Document Management systems. Have a discipline of capturing and recording data in the sanctuary – this allows IT to manage the data.
  2. When possible, send document links, rather than attachments. Ideally send secure links or use Information Rights Management.
  3. Leverage DMS for data classification. Use the classifications to restrict outbound emailing of sensitive data.
  4. Apply pattern-based content filters to avoid emailing Social Security Numbers or other identifiable sensitive data.
  5. Provide education on phishing.

Take-way: Avoid being an example in John Carlin’s next book. 😉

Here’s a link to this episode of Stay Tuned with Preet.

–Maureen Blando is the President and COO of Mobile Helix, makers of the LINK Encrypted App for Lawyers

 

John P. Carlin, cited in the post, is the author of “Dawn of the Code War: America’s Battle Against Russia, China, and the Rising Global Cyber Threat.

CodeX FutureLaw 2018 Conference – Innovation Under the Redwoods

Last week I attended the sixth annual CodeX FutureLaw Conference, under the canopy of the redwoods on the Stanford University campus. I did not know entirely what to expect, but as my office is a few miles down El Camino Real from Stanford, I thought that it was worth investigating. I found the event to be stimulating and I would like to share what I  learned so that others may consider attending FutureLaw in the future.

What is CodeX? It is a Stanford group, associated with the Law School, whose mission is to create legal technology that empowers all parties. It is ably headed up by Dr. Roland Vogl.

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ILTA Webinar: Secure, Mobile Workflows – NetDocuments & LINK Encrypted App

 

Join this co-hosted ILTA Product Briefing webinar on Feb. 5th to see a demo of NetDocuments’ Trusted Cloud Platform integrated with the LINK secure container app. 

View the recorded webinar here.

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Passing Through U.S. Customs and Border Patrol with Your Smartphone? LINK App to the Rescue!

Peripatetic lawyers, take note from Friday, 1/5/2018, in the Washington Post:

“U.S. customs agents conducted 60 percent more searches of travelers’ cellphones, laptops and other electronic devices during the government’s 2017 fiscal year, according to statistics released Friday by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP).

The agency said it searched 30,200 devices but the inspections affected only 0.007 percent of the 397 million travelers — including American citizens as well as foreign visitors — who arrived from abroad during the 12-month period that ended Sept 30.”1

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ABA Webinar: Lawyers, Do It All with Your iPad

How to Drop the Laptop and Work from your iPad or iPhone

Join us on January 24th for this ABA Legal Technology Resource Center Webinar

Watch the recorded webinar HERE

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Mobile Helix CEO, Seth Hallem, talks with Ari Kaplan about Lawyers & Mobility

 

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Ari Kaplan

Ari Kaplan spoke with our CEO and co-founder, Seth Hallem.

They discussed the genesis of Mobile Helix, how the LINK app empowers lawyers on the go, the crossroads of usability and security in mobile apps, and our partnerships with iManage®, NetDocuments® and Handshake Software®.

Listen to Ari and Seth in this 12 minute podcast.

Or, download the transcript here.

Surface Pro v. iPad: 3 Legal Mobility Insights from the ILTA Technology Survey

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Each December the International Legal Technology Association (ILTA) publishes their tour de force Technology Survey. Where BlackBerries were indispensable, iPhones dominate and iPads are nearly ubiquitous – but the Legal mobility scenario is dynamic. Here’s a look at three charts from the survey.

Microsoft Surface Pro – Making a Run for It 

Is it a bird, is it a plane? Is a Surface Pro a tablet or a notebook PC? Whatever you call it, the Surface Pro is on the radar in Legal now.

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