Without a doubt, some of the largest security breaches in the last decade were the Snowden revelations and the data leak of Chelsea Manning. However, the consensus among experts and laypeople alike is that the recent “Panama Papers” cybertheft incident has overshadowed most recent similar security breaches over the past decade.

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Background

This security breach is referred to as the Panama Papers is because the security breach took place in Panama City. The target was Mossack Fonseca, a major legal firm.

Experts estimate about 2.6TB of data was stolen. Due to the immense amount of data compromised, the Panama Papers incident is considered unparalleled in the realm of cyber security. This incident serves as an excellent example of the power of cyber attacks and malware. There is no way the criminals involved in the Panama Papers would have been able to steal comparable quantities of data by stealing physical files.

Many people have difficulty imagining the immensity of this incident because the amount of data stolen was reported in TB, which is incomprehensible for most people. A printed A4 page usually amounts to about 1 MB of space. This means at least 2.6 million documents were stolen during this security breach. Since most A4 documents don’t amount to a full 1 MB, it is likely that even more than 2.6 million documents were compromised.

The average A4 sheet weighs about 5 grams. This means that the equivalent of about 13 tons of documents were stolen during the Panama Papers.

Essentially, now the documents compromised in this incident are a part of the public domain.

How did this happen?

Unfortunately, there is not much that can be done to ensure the privacy and security of the potentially millions of individuals affected by this security breach. However, what we can do is attempt to investigate how this security breach occurred so that we can prevent it from occurring again in the future.

As of now, there is little evidence revealing how the criminals managed to accomplish a security breach on such a vast scale. The methods utilized were undoubtedly complex and beyond simple malware. Not only did the criminals have to figure out where the documents were stored but also had to find out how to access them.

How to Prevent Security Breaches

Due to all the recent security breaches, business owners are becoming increasingly concerned with maintaining a security culture to avoid becoming a victim of a cyber crime.

Start by securing your email. Many major security breachesbegin with a successfully hacked email account. Employees often make the mistake of transferring sensitive documents without encryption via email. If a cybercriminal unearths passwords by searching a hacked accounts, this is often all that is required to get started. In some cases, criminals will send an internal email to employees asking for a password. If you don’t instruct your employees on the importance of cyber security, it is likely that at least one of the employee will provide the password. It is not difficult for savvy cybercriminals to mimic an official-appearing email based on the examples of emails sent and received by the account.

Without a doubt, there are many things you can do to keep your organization safe from security breaches. For more information about cyber security, don’t hesitate to contact Neoscope by emailing us at info@neoscopeit.com or calling us at (603) 505-4902.