Canada’s online legal magazine.

Archive for ‘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

Legal Technology Businesses in Toronto

Toronto technology lawyer Addison Cameron-Huff has posted a list of “Toronto-based legaltech startups & established players.”

He notes that, “I’ve only listed startups that are active, have a software service or product, and appear to have their main office in Toronto … some of the established players are Canadian subsidiaries of foreign companies that have a larger headquarters elsewhere.”

With 40 startups listed this is a great start and he welcomes suggestions for the list at addison@cameronhuff.com.

Cameron-Huff also maintains FlatLaw, “Canada’s Flat Rate Legal Marketplace.” . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law, Technology

Vendor Quiz: Loom Analytics

Vendor Quiz is a periodic feature here at Slaw in which we ask a legal marketplace supplier a series of substantive questions about their product or service. Our goal is to provide insight and guidance to Slaw readers who might be considering a purchase, and who would benefit from practical information with which they can make a more informed choice. Vendor Quiz is an advertorial service, with each post sponsored by the featured vendor.

Loom Analytics is basically ‘moneyball’ for the legal industry. It provides legal analytics at your fingertips to help you identify historical trends in legal data.
  . . . [more]

Posted in: Vendor Quiz

Of Cryptoviruses and Hope for a Cure From Malwarebytes

If you’re in a rush, skip on over to the official security blog at Malwarebytes for the original post on this possible anti-ransomware breakthrough. It’s early news about a beta release tool at this point, and not ready for prime time, but it could be a ray of hope for law firms who live in fear of infection by the most dreaded of malware variants: the cryptovirus.

I feel like this may particularly be a good sign for small firms who cannot afford active threat protection services from premier providers. If average users can rely on standard anti-virus tools, it  . . . [more]

Posted in: Technology: Internet, Technology: Office Technology

Electronic Designation of Beneficiaries

From time to time the question of electronic wills is raised for discussion. This Uniform Law Conference has visited the topic a couple of times.

I have a related question today: should people be able to use electronic means to designate beneficiaries of savings plans (pension plans, RRSPs, TFSAs etc.) or insurance policies? If so, how? And if not, why not?

Usually such designations have be in writing and signed. The Uniform Electronic Commerce Act permits both e-documents and e-signatures. However, the UECA excludes wills and codicils. Most if not all provinces and territories have adopted this exclusion.

It is . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law: Legislation, Technology, ulc_ecomm_list

Consent in the Online World

Online consent is a mirage. Every day we are asked to click yes “I agree” to download the latest software or to use Wi-Fi connections. However, rarely do people read the license agreements or terms and conditions attached to the service. For all we know, we could be agreeing to the sale of our first-born child, as shown in this experiment.

Online contracts remain unread because consumers lack any meaningful incentive for reading the agreement. Before hitting “I agree”, people cannot call up Apple or any other provider and negotiate a different license agreement. We either accede to the . . . [more]

Posted in: Technology: Internet

Using Hypothes.is With Legislation

At the same time as Simon Fodden was publishing Hypothes.is and Annotation, a group of colleagues and I were in the middle of a series of invited comments to U.S. Federal Communications Commission, about their rulemaking for home Wi-Fi routers. We were using Google docs for mutual editing already, so Hypothes.is looked like something worth trying for mutual markup.

To make a long story short, it was excellent. I’m now running permanently with a “Launch Hypothesis” button in my bookmarks bar.

Over and above Simon’s description, the things that stood out for me were:

  • Links to particular annotations as
. . . [more]
Posted in: Technology: Internet

AODA New January 2017 Compliance Deadlines

Large and small organizations in the private and non-profit sectors have a new Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) compliance deadline coming up on January 1, 2017.

1) Large organizations (50+ employees)

Starting January 1, 2016, provincially regulated organizations with 50 or more employees in Ontario must work to comply with the design for public spaces standards under the built-environment to address barriers impeding access to outdoor public spaces by persons with disabilities, but not those barriers inside buildings. This task must be completed by January 1, 2017.

This standard covers a variety of public spaces such as exterior . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous, Practice of Law, Practice of Law: Practice Management, Substantive Law, Substantive Law: Legislation, Technology, Technology: Internet, Technology: Office Technology

Update to Internet Explorer 11 Now for Security

Microsoft has just ended support for Internet Explorer versions 10 and earlier. That means Microsoft will no longer provide security patches, which makes them risky to use from a security perspective.

Anyone still using those versions should update to IE 11 immediately. Those using Windows 10 can use the Edge browser instead. Edge works well, but unfortunately does not yet support add ons like password managers. Another option is of course to use Chrome.

If there is a need to use an earlier version of IE because of legacy internet applications that are not up to current standards, IE 11 . . . [more]

Posted in: Technology: Internet, Technology: Office Technology

The Year of the Hybrid Cloud

Last year I indicated that there were changes in Ontario which suggested that cloud computing had been implicitly authorized for lawyers. There was no other practical way to implement the new services rules under the amended Rules of Civil Procedure.

Despite these changes, there is still resistance to adopting cloud computing in practice, and sometimes with good reason. Security breaches of online databases have illustrated the enormous risk and problems created in a digital world.

The Ashley Madison hacks had many scurrying in embarrassment, and others concerned because their names had been used by the website without their permission. . . . [more]

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