Most partners are rubbish at the internet
During his recent trip to London, Legal Cheek Careers caught up with law graduate and cyber intelligence expert Roy Zur.
Zur spent ten years as an officer in the Israel Defense Forces before launching intelligence agency Cybint, which he combines with running US Bar provider Barbri’s Israel operation.
While advising law firms on how they can boost their web-savviness, he has noticed an opportunity for junior lawyers to boost their careers by using their innate ease with technology to help their bosses and add value to their clients. Here are Zur’s top five tips:
1. Social media stalking and metadata
Young people tend to be good at tracking their friends on social networks, often using skills that are highly transferable to, say, a major piece of litigation where individuals being represented by the other side need checking out.
The obvious starting point is Social media,” says Zur. “If you can find someone’s public Instagram account, and they have posted photos of themselves on particular days that are marked as being in particular locations, then that information can be useful to you. The same obviously goes for Twitter and Facebook posts. It’s surprising how little this is done as there is a lot of information out there.
Zur adds that social media geolocation can be cross referenced with metadata obtained via more sophisticated techniques from photos that have been uploaded online.
“By using an online exif viewer you can extract data from photos including the serial number of the camera with which they were taken and find out whether they have been Photoshopped,” he continues.
2. Search savviness and ‘hidden data’
Aside from the fact that trainee lawyers are far more up to date on the latest legal research techniques than most partners, they also possess an advantage in their fluency in basics like Google search. Explains Zur:
Often in a litigation attempts will have been made to hide information — for example, an organisation deleting something from its website. Very often this information remains for a few days in the Google Cache, which anyone with basic web savvy knows how to access.
Where information has been deleted longer ago, sites like The Way Back Machine — popularised by the likes of BuzzFeed and Legal Cheek — offer a way to retrieve it. And then there’s Lumen, a database of information that people have asked to be deleted from Google.
3. The Dark Web
What better way for junior lawyers to impress (or freak out) senior colleagues than by gently flaunting their understanding of the Dark Web, which can be accessed through the Tor browser.
Using the Dark Web is not so complicated,” explains Zur. “There you have money launderers, people trading in illegal drugs and even trading in people. This is can be a useful resource for complex fraud and money-laundering cases.
4. Trend analysis
Social media is becoming an increasingly useful gauge of success — and offers a decent additional way of establishing how popular something is. Zur presents the example of an acquisition of a company in which lawyers are charged with verifying that it is as successful as it says it is. BuzzSumo is a good starting point for measuring social clout, with SimilarWeb providing such information for websites, and Google Trends for search strings online
Law firms are often woefully under-protected in areas like website passwords, USB stick use and remote working wifi policies. Says Zur:
It doesn’t take long to run your password through a password manager to ensure it’s strong enough or to set up a spare computer to use with untrusted USBs or to download a Virtual Private Network (VPN) that encrypts your data before logging onto public wifi. And young lawyers are much more likely to know about this stuff.
Zur adds that thousands of professionals remain unaware that they have fallen victim to mass hackings like the 2016 LinkedIn data leak. A simple check of their email on sites such as haveibeenpwned.com are enough to establish this.