Is the hack of an email server behind the Panama Papers?

Pierluigi Paganini April 05, 2016

Which is the source of Panama Papers? According to Mossack the hackers breached its systems, according to the experts its email server was breached.

The Panama Papers is a huge trove of strictly confidential documents from the Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca was leaked online during the weekend, it is largest data leaks ever.

The entire archive of the firm contains more than 11.5 Million files including 2.6 Terabytes of data related the activities of offshore shell companies used by the most powerful people around the world, including 72 current and former heads of state.

It’s important to clarify that many clients of the Mossack Fonseca weren’t breaking any law and that the services offered by the firm are legal. Of course, such kind of services could have been abused to evade taxes.

The Panama Papers case is exposing the offshore activities of hundreds of politicians and public figures around the world, including , Vladimir Putin and the Iceland’s prime minister David Gunnlaugsson. Be careful, despite one of the most illustrious figures of the Panama Papers is Vladimir Putin his name does not appear in the leaked documents.

Panama Papers

According to Bloomberg the co-founder of the Mossack Fonseca firm, Ramon Fonseca, confirmed to the Panama’s Channel 2 the authenticity of the leaked documents.

The Panama Papers documents were shared with the German newspaper Suddeutsche Zeitung by an anonymous source and the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ).

The journalists of the ICIJ have investigated the documents for an entire year and now are disclosing their disconcerting findings.

The Panama Papers include emails, bank records, and invoices, but how is it possible? Who is the anonymous source and how it has exfiltrated the data from the computers at the Mossack Fonseca?

According to Ramon Fonseca, the confidential documents had been obtained illegally by hackers, likely the data breach affected an e-mail server of the company last year.

The media agency El Espanol confirmed this hypothesis,  Mossack Fonseca firm sent an email to its clients confirming that it is investigating the causes of the data breach and that it’s taking “all necessary steps to prevent it happening again”.

“This firm, considered the largest platform figureheads of Latin America and has a large portfolio of Spanish customers, said in a statement that it has opened an investigation after confirming that “unfortunately” has suffered an “attack on your server email”.” reported the El Espanol.

“Mossack Fonseca says it is taking “all necessary steps to prevent it happening again”; which has “reinforced” its security systems; and is working with “expert consultants” to determine the exact information they have accessed “unauthorized persons”. The firm, through its Director of Marketing and Sales, apologizes to its customers and offers an email to clarify any further questions.”

The ICIJ has identified more than 214,000 organizations for a total turnover of several billion dollars.

Stay tuned …

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Pierluigi Paganini

(Security Affairs – Panama Papers, data breach)

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