Sue Your Lawyer over AOL email security ?

You’ve Got Mail? I’ve Got Your Mail!

In a case that deserves your attention, a New York couple has sued their attorney, charging “legal malpractice and breach of fiduciary duty” by not using proper email security. The complaint reads

Through her [the attorney’s] negligence, she permitted cybercriminals to hack into her email system and read and intercept all of her communications including those she sent to the [plaintiffs].

The attorney’s email system is AOL email, which the complaint describes as “notoriously vulnerable” to hacking.

This case was filed only a few days ago so there is no telling how this will be resolved. But it does serve as a reminder to you:

Protecting your email and your computer systems will protect you — and protect your clients.

Choose : Convenience or Safety?

How vulnerable is your email? No, not just what you have on your PC at the office, but all those little devices you use — your smart phone, your tablet, your laptop, maybe even the web browsers you use on your cousin’s kid’s computers during a vacation.

This complaint charges that the attorney¬†could have but did not use the “protective devices” that AOL supports to increase security and improve their cyber-security. Extra security, in the cyberworld as well as in the physical world, adds a level of inconvenience to getting access to your property. A deadbolt lock in addition to the standard lock means it takes longer to get into your house. A complex password on your application means it takes longer to open your files. A trigger lock on your handgun means it takes longer to fire your weapon.

These are all inconveniences that slow us down unnecessarily — that is, until something goes wrong. Until our house is broken into. Until our files are stolen. Until our handgun is fired by accident.

Time for a Security Check-up

Now is a good time to do a quick mental review of your cyber-security practices. Have you sacrificed security for convenience? Are you comfortable with the potential consequences?

The complaint is viewable on Scribd.

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