Cyber Security: Learning From the Panama Papers

Published in April of this year, the Panama Papers—a collection of 11.5 million documents with information on the identities of shareholders and directors for more than 214,000 offshore companies—represent the largest data breach in history (dwarfing the data released by the Wikileaks organisation in 2010) . The information contained in these documents is concerning, since the files reportedly show how several corporations were able to launder money, dodge sanctions and avoid tax. The breach not only highlighted the importance and value of a robust cyber security system, but it also highlighted how cyber criminals are accessing more than just financial information.

The Panama Papers incident is a wake-up call for businesses, proving that cyber security and cyber cover are no longer optional—currently, investigators have still not identified how the information was moved. No matter  whether your business is a multinational company or a local small to medium-sized enterprise (SME), no organisation is safe. However, SMEs are increasingly targeted by cyber criminals. In fact, in 2015, 74 per cent of small businesses suffered security breaches—a 20 per cent increase from 2014. These attacks cost the average SME between £75,000 and £311,000, according to the most recent government research. Since SMEs typically do not have robust cyber security, hackers often view them as unguarded back doors into larger, more lucrative organisations.

Fortunately, 80 per cent of all breaches can be stopped by implementing basic cyber security, according to industry experts. However, implementing a cyber security system with antivirus and anti-malware software is an incomplete defence. Your company needs to additionally safeguard itself with a comprehensive cyber cover policy. Unfortunately, 64 per cent of UK companies do not have any cyber insurance and 45 per cent of the companies that do are unsure if it is up to date, according to a study conducted by Mimecast.

The Panama Papers incident dissolved any ambiguity about the value of cyber security—no longer can those defences be seen as optional. No company is too large or small for cyber criminals. That is why it is critical that your company takes the necessary steps to protect itself with cyber cover and cyber security.

At Clear, our specialists can work with you to design a cyber risk management programme supported by Cyber Liability insurance to help you minimise any potential losses from cyber security incidents.

Visit our Cyber Liability page to find out more.


Public sector information published by the ICO and licensed under the Open Government Licence.