Paradise loss

British businesses face renewed threats from hackers following the recent ‘Paradise Papers’ document leak, according to a leading cyber-security expert.

Andy Cuff, managing director of Computer Network Defence (CND), is warning all companies to be prepared for more sophisticated
attacks.

As the leaked information has proven to be a commodity with great value, hackers will be more motivated to steal similar data.

It is likely they will start to target areas geographically and will go after IP addresses without knowing which companies they belong to.

The information gained can then be sold to the highest bidder or used as leverage or to embarrass governments and countries.

The Paradise Papers were a huge leak of documents focused on offshore finance, which exposed businesses, celebrities and high net worth individuals.

Names mentioned included F1 star Lewis Hamilton, former footballer Gary Lineker, global computer and phone giant Apple and even heir to the throne Prince Charles.

As with last year’s Panama Papers leak, the documents were obtained by the German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung.

There were more than 1,400GB of data leaked, containing about 13.4 million documents.

With the high level of media interest around the world, organised hackers and nation states with nefarious motives will have been alerted to the potential benefits of data theft.

Andy, whose company is based in Bath and has offices on the Isle of Man, said: “After the Paradise Papers leak every business is at greater risk because it was proven beyond doubt that this type of information is an increasingly lucrative commodity.

“The extreme level of media interest will have also been observed by several rogue nation states who could use the information to influence the public opinion of other countries.

“They will know that stealing this type of information may facilitate the blackmail of influential people for their own nefarious gain, but also that its disclosure may embarrass an entire nation.

“These motives are strong and businesses really need to take extra security measures to ensure they are not victims.

“Hackers will quickly move onto new targets if the one they are trying is clearly secure.

“Internet computer addresses can be defined geographically – enabling hackers to target tax havens and British Overseas Territories with ease. They won’t discriminate between companies, or look at which is most immoral.

“Every business is at risk because hackers will steal any sensitive, valuable or potentially embarrassing data that they can get their hands on.

“If a nation state is backing these attacks then the hackers can do their work with virtually unlimited resources and with impunity.”

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