The Data leak and the subsequent fallout from the “Panama Papers” has seen world leaders, Billionaires and Rock Stars running for the hills.
The data leak at Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca is reportedly the largest data leak ever, covering 2.6 terabytes of data (the equivalent of approximately 600 DVDs). The information from the data leak allegedly details the ways dozens of high-ranking politicians, their relatives or close associates in more than 40 countries, including the U.K., France, Russia, China, and India, have used offshore companies to hide income and avoid paying taxes. Starting on Sunday, more than 100 news organizations filed reports based on the data leak information.
The Data Leak in Numbers
- 5 million confidential documents dating from the 1970s through late 2015
- 6 terabytes of leaked data include
- 8 million emails
- 3 million database format files
- 2 million PDFs
- 1 million images
- 320,000 text documents
The Panama Papers link up direct and indirect offshore holdings of some 140 current and former world leaders, politicians, public officials and others from around disclosing a day-to-day, decade-by-decade look at how funds flowed through the global financial system. The searchable list of individuals includes billionaires from throughout the world, current and former leaders of countries around the world, former spy chiefs, and relatives of various politicians and public officials.
Financial spreadsheets, passports and corporate records revealing the secret owners of financial accounts and companies in 21 jurisdictions ranging from Singapore to the British Virgin Islands to Nevada. First to report, the ICIJ is a collective of 190 investigative journalists spanning more than 65 countries who collaborate on in-depth investigations involving cross-border crime, corruption, and the accountability of power.
How did the data leak happen? A representative of Mossack Fonseca has confirmed news reports saying the leak stems from an email hack. It’s unclear how the email attack happened, but tests run by outside security researchers suggest Mossack Fonseca did not encrypt its emails with Transport Layer Security protocols. It appears that the server itself was compromised instead of individual mailboxes brute-forced in password-guessing attacks, because of the volume of data compromised.
Who is the leaker? The source is unknown, likely even to the news organizations using the leaked information. The leaker reportedly communicated through encrypted chat and email.
Mossack Fonseca has denied wrongdoing, saying it has only assisted clients in setting up legitimate companies.
“While we may have been the victim of a data breach, nothing in this illegally obtained cache of documents suggests we’ve done anything wrong or illegal, and that’s very much in keeping with the global reputation we’ve worked hard to build over the past 40 years of doing business the right way,” the company said in a statement. “Obviously, no one likes to have their property stolen, and we intend to do whatever we can to ensure the guilty parties are brought to justice.”
More Here [computerworld]