Solicitors told to up security after couple loses £45,000

Law firms have been urged to encrypt emails and use online portals.

Law firms have been urged to encrypt emails and use online portals in the wake of online scams where computer hackers pose as solicitors.

In a recent case published on the Daily Mail Online a newlywed couple lost their £45,000 deposit for a three bedroom home in Bishops Stortford in Hertfordshire after sending the money to a hacker rather than the solicitor.

In that case the hacker monitored emails between the buyer and solicitor before sending a fraudulent email from the solicitor’s address.

In response Robert Rutherford, chief executive of IT consultancy QuoStar, told firms to use encryption technologies and secure online portals to prevent consumers losing their hard earned savings.

He said: “Almost all law firms continue to rely on email to share the firm’s bank account details… but this approach leaves both parties extremely vulnerable to fraudsters.

“In order to combat this threat, solicitors must utilise more secure methods to share such crucial and confidential information with their clients.

“Email encryption technologies and using secure online portals for communication are relatively simple and cost-effective ways to reduce the level of risk quickly.

“Solutions like these must be implemented in earnest, as firms can no longer afford to make any assumptions when it comes to the security of their business or their clients’ funds, let alone their reputation.”