A data breach can cause monumental damage to a business. In recent years, we have seen a growing amount of cases where data leaks have destroyed careers and sometimes even an individual’s personal life. One of the prime examples of this is the Ashley Madison hack. The hacker exposed a list of 32 million members of the mistress for hire website. Prior to that was the Sony leak, which released a bunch of their secrets, and destroyed data amongst other things. The hack cost the media company over 15 million. The latest and biggest leak in history is the Panama Papers, amounting in about 2.6 terabytes of information. The company involved is Mossack Fonseca, a Panamanian law firm, which reportedly helps clients create shell companies to evade taxes and launder money. The documents that were released spanned over 40 years. The names on the documents included royalty, elected officials, and celebrities. On Tuesday, April 5, the now former Prime Minister of Iceland, Sigmundur Gunnlaugsson, was forced to step down from his post because of his connection with the scandal.
Many are questioning who may be behind the event? According to an article published on Wired.com, the Panama Papers source reached out in 2014 to the German reporter, Basian Obermayer, via an encrypted chat. The informant chose to remain anonymous because they knew revealing the documents would put their life at risk. Obermayer also explained, how for safety, he himself destroyed the phone and hard drive he used for the conversations with the source. Some have speculated that the Panama Papers release maybe the act of a hacktivist. Others wonder if it’s an inside job. Or is it Donald Trump? Just kidding with that last one.
No matter who caused the leak of the Panama Papers companies need to be cautious of how they handle their data security. If you don’t want to be a victim of a data leak, plan ahead. That means beefing up online security and making sure when you do dispose of your old IT equipment you are properly wiping your data or shredding your hard drives.
Who do you think was behind the leak? Share your thoughts in the comment section below.