Technologist - The FindLaw Legal Technology Blog


For law firms looking for the next big lucrative niche practice area, cryptocurrency might just be it.

After all, your clients might just literally be creating money out of thin air, which means they should be able to pay the high price tags normally associated with niche practices. However, like everything else in this world, where there is reward, there is risk.

If you're planning on taking that risk on cryptocurrency clients, below you can find three tips on protecting those clients, yourself, and your other non-cryptocurrency clients.

Skim Reaper Device Hunts Card Skimmers

New York police have a new tool to catch credit-card skimmers.

Those are the malicious devices that capture bank information from the magnetic stripe on your credit and debit cards. And then the thieves use the information to buy way too much stuff at Walmart.

Anyway, researchers figured out how to detect the devices at the point of sale. So far, police have found one.

Two Tech Problems and One Ethical Problem With Voicemail

It's just a matter of time before hackers get inside our heads.

They have already gotten inside our bodies -- literally. If you have a pacemaker, you know what we're talking about.

Now the hackers can take over our lives through our voices, sort of. It's a voicemail hack.

With all the recent advancements in technology, and with how interconnected everyday life has become with tech, the question arises whether programmers need to be held ethically accountable for their actions, in the same way lawyers are.

Currently, there are no requirements that programmers who release code publicly, or for sale, be licensed by any sort of governing body that ensures the protection of the public. Sure, there are best practices, and there can definitely be criminal charges, civil lawsuits, and other consequences for a programmer's unethical conduct. But there's no malpractice claim for individuals to bring that have been harmed by a programmer's professional negligence, nor is there a governing body for individuals to complain to that could sanction a programmer and prevent them from releasing future negligent programs.

Ex NSA Hacker Finds Security Flaw in macOS

Dr. Alexander Fleming famously discovered penicillin by accident.

He found the mold growing in his lab, leading to one of the greatest advances in human history -- a cure for deadly infectious diseases. That's like Patrick Wardle's story -- without the mold.

The software security expert accidentally copied the wrong code and discovered a bypass to "do a lot of malicious stuff" to Apple products. Here's how it happened.

Just about every lawyer has had the experience of having a client with a good case come to them in need of help but unable to pay the full retainer.

Unfortunately, too often, lawyers turn away clients who can't afford the upfront retainer (even on a credit card), but if given the option of a payment plan, might have otherwise been able to pay. This is due to the fear that lawyers have that clients will just stop paying. That fear is rather understandable though, as there is no shortage of anecdotes involving deadbeat clients skipping out on bills without retribution (because what attorney wants to get into a fee dispute or sue to collect from a client?).

Below, you can find three tips on using current tech to make payment plans safe and easy, at least for certain clients.

Forget Russian Spies; There Could Be One in Your Office

Now that the dust has settled on the Russia hack in the presidential election two years ago, we can all go back to our regularly scheduled programming. Right?

After all, the next presidential election is two years away, so who cares! It's not like Russian spies care about what's going on at your office. Right?

In case you were wondering, however, a new hack turned some Amazon Echo speakers into spies. That's right, even if nobody else is listening, your smart speakers may be.

Shocker -- Hackers Can Zap Pacemakers

It's no joke -- hackers can cause pacemakers to deliver life-threatening shocks.

It is not exactly news, either. For years, the federal government has told medical facilities to abandon devices vulnerable to hacking.

The real shocker is that doctors have continued to implant such devices into patients' chests. It's about the failure to update.

While the speculation that robots will one day take jobs away from people is often cast as a negative, there's one industry most of the world will be glad to see destroyed by AI and robots: phishing scammers.

In a recent Ars Technica report, the newest tools cybersecurity experts use to fight back against phishing scammers is discussed at length. And while it doesn't provide much practical advice for individuals, it proposes taking the next steps of coupling the currently available technology with more robust machine learning.

However, as we've all seen over the years, when one door closes, hackers seem to just find another way in.

Can Courts Keep Up With Tech?

With the speed at which technology hurtles forward, it's amazing if tech companies can keep up. However, recent initiatives have sought to bring the courtroom into the 21st century, hopefully before the robot lawyers of the 21st century show up.

A recent white paper from Thomson Reuters, Bringing the Courthouse into the 21st Century, goes into detail on how some courts are trying to catch up, and how far off we are from the dream of online courts. (Disclosure: Thomson Reuters is FindLaw's parent company.)