The world is still reeling from the shocking revelations of the recent Panama Papers breach, the largest cyber security breach of all time. Eleven million documents and 2.6 terabytes of data were leaked from law firm Mossack Fonseca, circulating among hundreds of journalists and over 100 publications for an entire year before the story broke.
While the media is buzzing with the endless stream of scandals unveiled by the breach, here in the tech world, we’ve been focused on one burning question: how could a data security breach on such a massive scale possibly happen to a firm handling such sensitive information?
The culprit: poor data security
Allegedly, the leak can be traced back to a preventable email server hack, but what appears to have been the overarching issue that ultimately led to the breach was poor data security practices.
According to various reports, Mossack Fonseca’s emails weren’t encrypted, and its websites and servers were chock full of weak spots, making them an easy target for any dedicated hacker. Given that the firm was supposedly using a three-month-old version of WordPress for its main site and, even more shocking, a three-year-old version of Drupal for its customer portal, it’s little surprise that the hacker was able to siphon out such a vast quantity of data so easily.
A clear-cut solution to data security risks
For Mossack Fonseca (and so many of its clients), the Panama Papers leak resulted in sheer catastrophe, but for the rest of us, it serves as a crucial reminder of the paramount importance of website and email server maintenance. The firm could have easily protected its clients’ confidential information by implementing a proper website maintenance system to regularly upgrade its data security facilities, safeguard its files, and prevent server hacks.
As Point and Stare are experienced in providing website maintenance packages, we know first-hand that effectively protecting your data, and that of your clients, calls for a consistent, dedicated approach to IT security and website maintenance; after all, Mossack Fonseca’s WordPress based website was only three months old—yet its security plugins and core files clearly needed to be updated in order to secure the firm’s data and fend off any hacker attempt.
How to protect your data
As the Panama Papers scandal has shown, there is no one-off solution to data security. Safeguarding your information requires constant vigilance, continual upgrades, and a reliable data back-up system. This type of multi-pronged website maintenance strategy is the only way to ensure that your data and IT system are as fully protected as possible – not only from hackers, but also from the risk of lost or damaged hardware.
In short, if there’s one thing we can take away from the Panama Papers (aside from the need to be honest with the Tax Man), it’s that proper website maintenance is essential.