DLA Piper rocked by ransomware attack … weeks after publishing ‘How to protect against cyber attacks’ guide

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By Alex Aldridge on

Just when you thought that law firms had mastered IT

One of the biggest law firms in the world has been hit by the huge ransomware attack that is currently sweeping the globe.

DLA Piper has confirmed that its computer systems and phones have been taken out by the mass hacking, making it the first legal profession representative to be caught up in the chaos.

This is the message that was displaying on DLA computers today:

Above the Law

It’s a surprise that such a mega firm would find its defences breached, with DLA and its big law peers spending fortunes on cyber security. In DLA’s case, the firm has even held itself up as a ‘thought leader’ in the area, recently publishing a BuzzFeed-style guide to clients entitled, ‘9 things you should know to protect your company from the next attack’. While much of DLA’s IT systems are apparently short-circuiting, the firm’s website is still live — so you can helpfully still read the guide.

In it, the firm prophetically labelled the WannaCry ransomware attack — on which today’s attack is thought to be based — as “just the tip of the iceberg”.

Today DLA, which has 80 offices globally, issued this official comment on the attack:

The firm, like many other reported companies, has experienced issues with some of its systems due to suspected malware. We are taking steps to remedy the issue as quickly as possible.

Insiders within the firm, where newly qualified solicitors earn £70,000, suggest that the atmosphere is one of nervousness. In London reports reach of us lawyers not knowing what to do with themselves having spent hours unable to access their emails, in some cases perhaps for the first time in their working lives. There is also a photo doing the rounds on Twitter of a sign in DLA’s Washington DC office ordering that all laptops are kept turned off.

Other companies caught up in the attack include, according to the BBC, UK advertising agency WPP, Russian oil producer Rosneft and Danish shipping company Maersk. At the time of writing, DLA remains the only law firm to be affected.

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