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Archive for ‘Technology’

E-Mail – More Secure Than a Postcard

The Apple – FBI tempest got me thinking about email security. (Even though that fight was over device security, not email platform and transmission security.)

Email security has improved over the past couple of years, no doubt in part due to the Snowden – NSA revelations. Many providers of hardware, software, internet infrastructure, and online services have taken steps to implement encryption in general, and to plug the gaps in the chain where encryption was missing. Some, for example, had gaps as they passed email to other mail providers unencrypted, even if they encrypted it while they had it. Encryption . . . [more]

Posted in: Technology

Of Conference Debriefs and #ABATECHSHOW 2016 Chicago Travel Tips

A good conference can leave little time to explore a city itself. Hence, I’ve pathetic little Chicago lore to pass on. No Field Museum meditations, no Magnificent Mile shopping tips. Chicago may not best be described as “the appurtenance to the Hilton along Michigan Ave” but honestly, after attending the 2016 ABA TECHSHOW, I am hardly in a position to describe it any better.

The only souvenirs I acquired bleeped in when I disengaged airplane mode on a layover in Minnesota… 95 Twitter notifications from lawyers and startups I engaged with at the conference. Fellow conference attendee, LSUC’s Phil Brown, . . . [more]

Posted in: Education & Training: CLE/PD, Practice of Law: Future of Practice, Technology

New Lawyer Cyber Dangers and How to Avoid Them

Like the local bank, your practice holds valuable information and money. Your computer systems may contain client information, trade secrets, and intellectual property. Your trust accounts have large sums of money. A cyber breach or trust account theft will harm your clients and potentially cripple your practice. Security guards, specialized safes, and sophisticated procedures protect the local bank. What safeguards have you put in place for your practice?

Perceived to be less sophisticated than banks and big companies, lawyers make easy targets for tech-savvy criminals. The payoff, which can include emptying trust accounts and taking advantage of confidential information, is . . . [more]

Posted in: Reading: Recommended, Technology: Internet

Alberta Ransomware Advisory

The Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner of Alberta has developed guidelines to assist public bodies, health custodians and private organizations with preventing and responding to ransomware cyberattacks. The Advisory published in March 2016 in PDF can be downloaded here.

According to most information technology experts, antivirus vendors and security professionals, “Ransomware” is considered a type of malicious software designed to block access to a computer system and files until a sum of money is paid within a certain deadline, to an unknown party. The sum of money to be paid varies from as little as $25 to . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law, Practice of Law: Practice Management, Technology, Technology: Internet, Technology: Office Technology

Has Apple Lost Its Mojo, or Is Something Else Going on Here?

Apple had an event this week where they announced new products. But it lacked the excitement and wow factor that we have come to expect. Has Apple lost its mojo, or is something else going on here?

New product announcements from Apple and Google seem less impressive than they used to be. They seem more evolutionary than revolutionary.

There could be a number of reasons for that.

Product innovation is happening at a faster pace than ever before. Are we getting so used to that pace that we have higher expectations for innovation than before?

Is the smartphone / . . . [more]

Posted in: Technology

Meet Siri: My New Junior Lawyer

In “Developing Legal Talent: Stepping into the Future Law Firm”, Deloitte predicts that a large tipping point will occur around 2020 from a culmination of three forces. These forces are: technology, client pressure, and demographic changes. It is estimated that by 2025 millenials (individuals born between 1981 – 1996) will make up about 75% of the workforce.

Specifically, Deloitte predicts that by 2025 the legal profession will have:

  1. fewer traditional lawyers in law firms;
  2. a new mix of skills among elite lawyers;
  3. greater flexibility and mobility within the industry;
  4. a reformed workforce structure and alternative progression routes; and
. . . [more]
Posted in: Technology

Browsewraps – Why Bother?

Here’s a comment by Eric Goldman of Santa Clara law school on a California court of appeals case, refusing to validate an arbitration clause in a ‘browsewrap’ format – i.e. a link to ‘terms of use’ with no requirement of the contracting party to acknowledge them.

Are such clauses enforced in Canada, except to prevent obvious dishonest behaviour as in Sutton Realty in Quebec or the similar BC case, Century 21 v Rogers Communications, about scraping real estate listings off an MLS site? (See par 92ff of that decision). Why should they be?

The ULCC published a study of them . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions, Technology: Internet, ulc_ecomm_list

Of KeRanger and Dawning Ransomware Trouble for Mac OSX

From TechCrunch this morning:

Apple has shut down what appears to have been the first, fully-functional ransomware targeting Mac computers. […] This ransomware, called KeRanger, was first reported by researchers at Palo Alto Networks. They also noted that Apple has now revoked the abused certificate that was used in the attack and updated its built-in anti-malware system XProtect with a new signature to protect customers.

Apple is being credited with mounting a quick and defensive response, but the threat is now palpable. This particular threat appears to have been mitigated, but it was in active development and future attackers . . . [more]

Posted in: Technology

Technology as Positive Enabler

The British magazine Managing Partner has been providing information on law firm management since 1998. Their target group is the “senior management team” and they provide resources covering strategic management, case studies, analysis, and opinions from “industry experts and senior managers at leading law firms.” Their March issue reports on the ARK Group’s Legal IT conference held in London in January 2016.

In her introduction publisher Helen Donegan concludes her summary of the event this way:

“While clients were a major focus of the discussions, the question also predictably arose over the future role of the lawyer. With technological

. . . [more]
Posted in: Practice of Law: Future of Practice, Technology

Don’t Take the Bait on a Spear Phishing Scam

By now, most lawyers are familiar with phishing attacks. For those who are not, phishing is the attempt to acquire sensitive information such as usernames, passwords, and credit card details by masquerading as a trustworthy entity in an email. They take the form of a message, allegedly from your bank or an online retailer you deal with, that suggests your account has been compromised or that payment is overdue. Phishing scams are usually bulk emails sent to large numbers of people.

Even if only two or three per cent of recipients fall for them, hundreds or even thousands of people . . . [more]

Posted in: Technology: Internet

Danger: When a Hacker Emails You Instructions in the Name of Your Client

The determination and energy of hackers knows no bounds. They show remarkable imagination and ingenuity in coming up with ever more devious ways to steal trust funds by duping lawyers.

As an example of this, we have recently seen several instances where a fraudster hacked into a client’s email with the intent to divert funds coming out of a lawyer’s trust account. After gaining access to the client’s email account, the hacker surreptitiously monitors emails going back and forth between the lawyer and the client.

At the opportune time, usually just before a real estate deal is closing or the . . . [more]

Posted in: Technology: Internet

Apple Fights Court Imposed FBI Backdoor Order

Apple CEO Tim Cook has taken a very public stand against an FBI request and court order to create a backdoor into the Apple operating system. This arose from the investigation into the San Bernardino mass shooting last December.

See this article on ZDNet for more details. And Read Tim Cook’s customer letter posted on the Apple website for a more complete explanation of Apple’s position.

Kudos to Tim Cook and Apple for this.

Security and privacy experts continue to point out that backdoors are a bad idea that cause far more harm than good.

See, for example, this ZDNet . . . [more]

Posted in: Technology