Insider data breaches pose a significant concern for the UK legal sector [2] [6], accounting for more than half of all identified breaches. This analysis examines data from the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) and highlights the causes and consequences of these breaches.


According to the analysis [3] [5] [7], up to 60% of data breaches at UK law firms were caused by human error from staff [1], while the remaining 40% were attributed to malicious actors. These breaches potentially compromised data belonging to 4.2 million people [1] [6], equivalent to 6% of the UK population [2] [6].

The majority of breaches were a result of staff carelessness [1], with 37% occurring due to employees sharing sensitive data with the wrong person [1]. Other errors [1], such as hardware misconfiguration and failure to use the BCC function in emails [1], accounted for 39% of breaches [1]. The compromised data primarily consisted of basic personal information (49%) [1], with the remainder being financial data [1], health data [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6] [7], and official documents [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6] [7].

The analysis also highlighted common causes of data breaches [2] [3], including phishing and ransomware attacks [2] [4], as well as data loss. Ransomware attacks and cyber-attacks on core business systems were specifically identified as causes of data breaches in the legal sector.

To address these threats, law firms must prioritize implementing robust cybersecurity measures [7], including data loss prevention [2] [4], to protect sensitive information without hindering productivity [7]. The National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) has provided guidance for legal firms to address evolving cyber threats [3] [5] [7], particularly in the context of hybrid working [7].


The valuable information and financial assets handled by legal firms make them attractive targets for attackers [7]. The Solicitors Regulation Authority reported that three-quarters of solicitors firms had been targeted by cyber attacks [4], and nearly three-quarters of the UK’s top 100 law firms have also been affected [4].

To mitigate the risks, it is crucial for law firms to prioritize cybersecurity measures and follow the guidance provided by the NCSC. By doing so, they can protect sensitive information and prevent potential breaches that could have severe consequences for both the firms and the individuals whose data is compromised.

Looking ahead, the legal sector must remain vigilant and adapt to evolving cyber threats. As technology continues to advance, it is essential for law firms to stay updated on the latest security measures and continuously improve their cybersecurity practices. By doing so, they can safeguard their clients’ data and maintain the trust and confidence of the public.