Law Firms a Top Target in Professional Services Cyberattacks


Cybersecurity and managed security services provider Trustwave has released a report detailing a rise in ransomware, third-party supplier exposure, and technology-based attacks targeting professional services firms.

The report, 2024 Professional Services Threat Landscape: Trustwave Threat Intelligence Briefing and Mitigation Strategies, finds that law firms are the top professional services ransomware targets. However, the entire professional services sector is a prime target for threat actors due to the trove of sensitive information these businesses contain. This data can range from intellectual property to legal documents to client personally identifiable information, which can be sold on the dark web or used to launch additional attacks.

“Across today’s B2B and B2C vendor supply chains, a cybersecurity breach for professional services firms isn’t just an inconvenience, it can be catastrophic,” said Trustwave CISO Kory Daniels. “The financial losses from recovery, legal fees, and potential fines are just the tip of the iceberg. The severe reputational damage can erode years of client trust and stall future business. Operational disruptions, employee stress, and increased regulatory scrutiny further compound these challenges. This is why robust cybersecurity is no longer optional, it’s a critical priority for these information-rich firms.”

Trustwave latest research delves into the attack flow employed by threat groups, shedding light on their tactics, techniques, and procedures. Professional services firms face a unique cybersecurity challenge due to a combination of factors, including complex vendor ecosystems, regulatory burden, and high-value data.

The report analyses threat groups and their methods throughout the attack cycle, from initial foothold through to data exfiltration. The report examines cybersecurity challenges facing professional service firms, including legal services, consulting services, and accounting services. While a broad coverage area, the sector encompasses businesses that sell expertise and intellectual capital rather than tangible products. A few key findings from the report include:

  • Law firms are the most vulnerable professional services entities to ransomware attacks, accounting for 46% of incidents.
  • Phishing is a leading threat within professional services, responsible for 93% of initial access gained by attackers.
  • 20% of ransomware attacks in the professional services industry were carried out by ALPHV, with LockBit 3.0 and 8Base accounting for 19% and 18%, respectively.

You can read the full report here.