The Panama Papers Scandal is the most significant development in information security in 2016, and the question on everyone’s lips is, just who is responsible?
In recent days, we have witnessed huge media coverage on a massive cache of 11.5 million documents leaked to a German Newspaper, Süddeutsche Zeitung, in August 2015. Edward Snowden has described it as “the biggest leak in the history of data journalism”. The leak of 2.6 terabytes of data shields almost half of century coverage of corruption.
Mossack Fonseca, the firm behind the compromised information is battling hard to remove the assumption of deception. This incident has created some untrustworthy amongst some of the most powerful figures in the world.
So? Where does this information come from? Over a year ago, an anonymous source reached out to the German newspaper Süeddeutsche Zeitung (SZ) and offered them heaps of internal documents from Mossack Fonseca.
The motive of a hacker is often never known, and various theories exist with Panama. Corporate espionage has been an emerging threat to firms with sensitive client information, however the attack was not targeted to one individual client of Mossack Fonseca.
The anonymous source didn't ask for compensation which indicates that there is no money motive behind the leakage. The source told the publisher he had the desire "To make these crimes public."
In cyber security terminology, this would be an example of “hactivism”, which is infiltrating systems and publishing compromising information for political or philanthropic aims. Whether or not this source is an individual, or part of a wider organisation or even a Government, is still unknown.
Mitigate’s technical experts have released a statement saying: “Whether this was one recalcitrant employee or a premeditated external attack, this crisis has proved that Information Security lies at the heart of the 21st century corporate world and should be an agenda item on the next board meeting of every company in the world. As the hackers continue to advance, so should our efforts to defend our data.”
After a year of research and scrutinising the huge document cache, the media have finally begun to figure out how Mossack Fonseca works – and to uncover how a business that's never faced criminal prosecution could have a bigger hand in corruption, bribery and crime than anyone ever imagined.