You would think lawyers would know better. Justin L. Scott was censured for when he “fell into stupid” and monitored his former partner’s activity via TeamViewer, a remote control software application.
An ABA article summed up the situation well:
[Justin] Scott and Charles Bratton practiced elder law in a Haddonfield, New Jersey, firm that came to be known as Bratton Scott. Scott and Bratton disagree on whether Scott was fired, as was permitted by their partnership agreement, or whether he left on his accord.
A new attorney at Bratton’s firm noticed that something was amiss when he was working on the laptop once used by Scott, according to the disciplinary review board. The new lawyer said he saw an incoming connection to a remote access program called TeamViewer, and his “computer screen started moving” without his input.
The new lawyer took control of his mouse, and the connection ended. When the new lawyer searched for TeamViewer on his computer, he saw that it had a connection named “Justin Scott.” The new lawyer reported the incident to Bratton.
A forensics computer company investigated and reported that Scott had accessed the computer system six times in 2019—all after Scott left the firm. The remote access would allow Scott to see any application on the laptop, including the Time Matters program. The investigation found that Scott had not copied or transferred files using TeamViewer.
Bratton and Scott differed on whether TeamViewer was installed by the firm’s technology company or by Scott. Scott said the company installed the program, so that he could work remotely. Bratton said his office didn’t use TeamViewer, and he wouldn’t have authorized its installation. A technology company representative also said it had not installed TeamViewer.
Scott initially said the TeamViewer access was accidental. But five months later, Scott admitted that access was intentional, and he logged in to see calendars.
Scott said he was “mostly interested in seeing how Mr. Bratton’s practice was doing. I think it is fair to say that each and every login by me was to see what I could learn regarding Mr. Bratton’s calendar and who was referring business to him. Typically, I would search specific names to see which professionals were referring clients to him. … My goal was to sit on my couch and compare Mr. Bratton’s week to mine.”
Scott attributed the remote access to his competitive conduct and having “fell into stupid,” the disciplinary review board said.https://www.abajournal.com/web/article/lawyer-is-censured-for-using-teamviewer-to-snoop-on-former-firms-business-activity
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Today on eCrimeBytes nibble number
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52 we’re going to talk about a lawyer who spies on a former firm with Teamviewer. Now, you would think that lawyers would know better. Justin L. Scott was censured for when he, quote unquote, and this is his term fell into stupid and monitored his former partner’s activity via Teamviewer, a remote control software application.
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Now, if you’ve never seen Teamviewer, it basically puts you in control of somebody else’s computer. So if I were to install it on my laptop and you were remote to it, you could log into teamviewer and it would look like you’re sitting there at my laptop. You could use my mouse as if it was your own when you moved your mouse around.
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When you type in your keyboard, it would type on my laptop just like you were sitting there. So imagine that a lawyer has access to computers at a former firm through this type of application. Now, the American Bar Association wrote an article about this that was pretty interesting and I pulled some highlights. They said that the attorney in question here, Justin Scott, and another attorney, Charles Bratton, practiced elder law in a New Jersey firm that became known as Bratton Scott.
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Now, depending on who you ask, they differ on whether or not Scott had been fired. But at some point, Scott is no longer employed by that firm. And at some point, that firm has a new lawyer working there that has a computer that I assume Scott used to use. Now, this new attorney noticed something strange on his laptop.
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So the new attorney at this law firm noticed something that was strange on the computer when he was working on that laptop that was once used by Scott. So this attorney, this new attorney said that he saw an incoming connection and a remote access to an application called Teamviewer, which is the application I just just described to you.
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He also said his computer screen started moving without his input. And that’s what it would look like if you had Teamviewer installed on your laptop. So then when the new lawyer took control of his mouse, the connection ended. And then when he did an investigation on his laptop, he found the application called Teamviewer and he opened it up and he saw that there was a connection named Justin Scott, which is the name of the former attorney.
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So the new lawyer then took all this information and went to Bratton, which was the partner of Scott, the lawyer that’s using Teamviewer. If you follow that.
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So an outside firm helped them do an investigation. And they reported that Scott,
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the former attorney, had accessed this computer system of the new attorney at least six times in 2019, all after Scott had left the firm.
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So he definitely didn’t work there when he was accessing their resources. The remote access would allow Scott, the former attorney, to see anything that was on the screen, including you know, client matters and things like that. The investigation did find that Scott, the former attorney, didn’t copy or transfer any files out using Teamviewer. Thankfully. So there is some discrepancy on whether or not Teamviewer was installed by the firm or the former attorney.
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Scott The firm says they don’t use it. Scott said that the firm does, but it was on the computer and Scott used it. Initially, Scott said that the access to Teamviewer was accidental and then later on, five months later on, he said that it was intentional and he logged in to see people’s calendars and that he was just mostly interested in seeing how Mr. Bratton’s practice was doing without him.
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And he said, and this is a quote, I think it is fair to say that each and every login by me was to see what I could learn regarding Mr. Bratton’s calendar and who was referring business to him. Typically, I would search specific names to see which professionals were referring clients to him. My goal was to sit on my couch and compare Mr. Bratton’s week to mine.
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Scott attributed the remote access to his competitive conduct and having quote unquote fell into stupid.
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It looks like he’s still practicing law, though. So I don’t know how much this affected him. But yeah, it was pretty interesting case. All electronic crime and this type of situation happens more often than you would think, where you have former employees logging back into former employers and doing things with the data.
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So if you enjoyed this real quick eCrimeBytes nibble, I’m going to guarantee you’re going to like our eCrimeBytes episodes where my co-host Seth and I, we take a topic like this and we go a little more in-depth. We talk about the criminals, we talk about the victims and we talk about how they’re caught and the technology behind all that.
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