Just how insecure is the public Internet? If the different categories of what were originally called hackers are any indication, it’s not good and getting worse. Today, the “Bad Guys” actually specialize – we now have Crackers, Phrackers, Uebercrackers, Sniffers, Spoofers, and Spies, just to name a few. Each of these categories delight in illegal activities to disrupt communications over the most important business and individual communications tool available, the Internet.
Surprisingly, one of the most susceptible professions is that of Lawyers/Attorneys – they even have a new name – “netlawyers”. The same people entrusted with the job of protecting their clients, are now themselves victims of fraudulent activities on the Internet. Lawyers frequently communicate very confidential information over the Internet with only two basic notions – 1) an expectation their communications will be private, or 2) basic encryption, (the administration, distribution, and authentication of which is not trivial).
Lawyers face many Internet issues that have yet to be resolved by the courts. For example, the basic tenant of Attorney/Client Privilege may not apply to information sent over the Internet. Even the Ethical Doctrine of Confidentiality imposes constraints that may need changes, even if the Internet is used.
For some people, these developments may seem like “just rewards” for a profession that is frequently the object of jokes. However, it does not bode well for any profession, until electronic communications over the Internet can be secured once and for all.
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