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Law Firms and the Scourge of Ransomware: How to Prevent, Detect, Respond and Recover

Level: Advanced
Runtime: 63 minutes
Recorded Date: February 10, 2021
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        • Ransomware 1.0 Definition
        • Ransomware 2.0
        • Attorneys Duty to Safeguard
        • Preventing & Defending against Ransomware
        • Responding & Recovery from a Ransomware Attack
        • Ransomware Examples
                - Maze
                - Egregor
                - REvil
        • Attack Vectors
        • Conclusion

: 1 hour, 3 minutes
Recorded: February 10th, 2021


Today's ransomware often steals your confidential data before its encryption. Frequently, we now see two ransoms demanded, one for the decryption key and one for a promise (because cybercriminals are so honorable) to destroy your data. Many law firms are paying, sometimes because they have cyberinsurance and paying is cheaper than being inoperative for an extended period of time. If stricken, how should they handle the attack? Should you pay the ransomware? Is it illegal to pay the ransomware? Spoiler alert: Sometimes it is. How do you recover from a ransomware attack? Our experts will offer chilling stories of law firms crippled by ransomware along with tips for defending against and responding to ransomware.

This program was recorded on February 10th, 2021.

Provided By

American Bar Association
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Sharon Nelson

Sensei Enterprises, Inc.

Sharon D. Nelson, Esq., is the President of Sensei Enterprises, Inc., a digital forensics, managed IT service provider and managed cybersecurity firm in Fairfax, Virginia. Ms. Nelson graduated from Georgetown University Law Center and has been in private practice ever since, now concentrating exclusively in electronic evidence law. Ms. Nelson was the President of the Virginia State Bar June 2013-June 2014, and is a Past President of the Fairfax Law Foundation, and a Past President of the Fairfax Bar Association.

She became Chair of the American Bar Association Law Practice Divisions Professional Development Board in August 2015 and served as the former Chair of its Publishing Board. She served three years on the ABA’s Cybersecurity Legal Task Force and has served on the ABA’s Standing Committee on Technology and Information Systems since 2012. From 2012-2014, she served in the ABA’s House of Delegates. She was inducted into the College of Law Practice Management in 2014.

She is also a graduate of Leadership Fairfax, a past chair of the American Bar Association’s TECHSHOW, the Chair of VSB TECHSHOW 2014, 2016, 2017, 2018, and Co-Chair 2019, and served for many years on the Virginia State Bar Governing Council and on its Executive Committee, on its Standing Committee on Budget and Finance, and was the former Chair of the Unauthorized Practice of Law Committee. She was Chair of the Virginia State Bar’s Future of Law Practice Committee and its Better Annual Meeting Committee (2016-2019). She served on the Virginia State Bar’s President’s Committee on Lawyer Wellness (2018-2019). She is a member of the Virginia Women’s Attorneys Association, the Virginia Bar Association, the Virginia Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers and the Virginia Trial Lawyers’ Association.

She is a co-author of The 2008-2020 Solo and Small Firm Legal Technology Guides (American Bar Association, 2008-2020), Locked Down: Practical Information Security for Lawyers (American Bar Association, 2016), Encryption Made Simple for Lawyers (American Bar Association, 2015), Locked Down: Information Security for Lawyers (American Bar Association, 2012), The Electronic Evidence and Discovery Handbook: Forms, Checklists and Guidelines (American Bar Association, 2006) and Information Security for Lawyers and Law Firms (American Bar Association, 2006), as well as How Good Lawyers Survive Bad Times (ABA, 2009).

Ms. Nelson is the author of the noted cybersecurity and electronic evidence blog, Ride the Lightning and is a co-host of two Legal Talk Network podcast series called “The Digital Edge: Lawyers and Technology” and “Digital Detectives.”

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John W. Simek

Vice President
Sensei Enterprises, Inc.

Mr. Simek is the Vice President of Sensei Enterprises, Inc., a managed IT service provider, digital forensics and cybersecurity firm located in Fairfax, VA. Mr. Simek has a national reputation as a digital forensics technologist and has testified as an expert witness throughout the United States.

He holds a degree in engineering from the United States Merchant Marine Academy and an MBA in finance from Saint Joseph’s University.

Mr. Simek holds the prestigious Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP) and EnCase Certified Examiner (EnCE) certifications. He is also a Certified Handheld Examiner, Certified Novell Engineer, Microsoft Certified Professional Internet, Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer, NT Certified Independent Professional, and a Certified Internetwork Professional. Mr. Simek is a 2016 Fastcase 50 award recipient and a Fellow (class of 2016) of the College of Law Practice Management. He is also a member of the High Tech Crime Network as well as the American Bar Association and the Fairfax Bar Association.

He currently provides information technology support to hundreds of Washington DC area law firms, legal entities and corporations. He is a co-host of the Legal Talk Network podcast “Digital Detectives” and a co-author of Locked Down: Practical Information for Lawyers 2nd Edition (American Bar Association, 2016), Encryption Made Simple for Lawyers (American Bar Association, 2015), Locked Down: Information Security for Lawyers (American Bar Association, 2012), The Electronic Evidence and Discovery Handbook: Forms, Checklists and Guidelines (American Bar Association, 2006), Information Security for Lawyers and Law Firms (American Bar Association, 2006), The 2008-2018 Solo and Small Firm Legal Technology Guides (American Bar Association, 2008-2018) and a contributing author of eDiscovery, 3rd Edition (Pennsylvania Bar Institute, 2014). He is a frequent author and speaker on information security, legal technology and electronic evidence throughout the country.

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Dave Ries

Of Counsel
Clark Hill, PLC

David G. Ries has devoted his legal career to helping organizations traverse complex environmental, technology, and data protection challenges.

David focuses on supporting data security and privacy clients by providing innovative solutions, designing a strategy for implementing comprehensive compliance programs and for responding to security incidents and regulatory actions and court claims relating to confidential business, employee, and customer data.

Information governance, including document storage and destruction, is multifaceted and constantly changing as individual regulatory bodies redefine the rules and court rulings place new responsibilities on businesses. David earned a distinguished reputation among his clients for his ability to understand the intricacies of governance and to provide actionable and sustainable recommendations.

David’s extensive experience and understanding of the evolution in cybersecurity law, as well as his position as a member of the American Bar Association's Cybersecurity Legal Task Force, make him a sought-after speaker in cybersecurity circles. He is the co-author of Locked Down: Practical Information Security for Lawyers, Second Edition, and Encryption Made Simple for Lawyers. He is also the editor of eDiscovery, Fourth Edition, and a contributing author to Information Security and Privacy: A Legal, Business and Technical Handbook, Second Edition.

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