Across the nation, nearly 50 elite law firms have been targeted by a Russian cybercriminal seeking access to confidential client information. Oleras, the “mastermind” behind the attempt, has reportedly been working in Ukraine since January to hire hackers to break into the law firms’ computer systems to sell insider information for financial gain. The potential law firms affected include 46 of the country’s largest firms. One of the suspected firms, Kirkland & Ellis L.L.P., claimed to be aware of the threat but reported that no client data was accessed.
Despite the vast amount of confidential information stored in law firms’ databases, many firms lack sophisticated cybersecurity systems. Jay Kozie, principal at Keno Kozie Associates, explains, “I’ve always been surprised, frankly, that the law firms have not been more aggressively targeted in the past. If you’ve got confidential information about a merger or a patent, it’s going to be very valuable.” More specifically, Oleras sought to access merger agreements, letters of intent and other stolen law firm documents with the intent on leveraging the information “to execute algorithmic insider trading activities,” according to a Flashpoint alert