I Spy data theft
Data theft. It’s the kind of thing that only hits the big guns, isn’t it? Like the WPPs and Maersks of this world. The kind of mega corporations that might actually have some information worth stealing.
Not a lowly management consultant from the south of England, right?
Wrong, unfortunately. Because it seems these days even the little guys can have their confidential data targeted. And that’s especially so when someone either bears a grudge, or catches on to the fact they can make a quick buck by selling the info on. Sometimes both…
In the case of our management consultant, the first she knew of anything being amiss was when she took an irate call from a software client. It seemed their secret strategy for launching a string of new products – a strategy they’d devised with the help of our consultant – was suddenly out in the open.
Then came another ear-bashing, this time from a high-profile fashion retailer with a big online presence. They’d been contacted by a ‘white-hat hacker’ with a tip-off that their business plan for the coming year was up for sale to the highest bidder on the dark web.
A big problem then, because that business plan was also our management consultant’s handiwork – that meant she was the common link.
The obvious conclusion was that someone had stolen the data from her laptop, the one she did all her work on. Worryingly then, because there were confidential sales figures, pricing strategies, profit projections and all sorts on there. And not just for the clients whose data had already been targeted – there were plenty of others whose information could be vulnerable too.
The right call
Our beleaguered management consultant began to dread hearing the phone ring again. So she did the sensible thing and used it call her insurance broker instead. At that point, her cyber insurance policy took over:
- First, a forensic investigation of the management consultant’s laptop revealed it had been infected with keylogger software. This crafty and covert addition had been transmitting every keystroke she’d made back to another computer, as well as capturing regular screenshots. That’s how data was being leaked.
- The forensic expert managed to trace the IP address of the computer the keylogging software was transmitting data to – and that turned out to belong to a former business partner of our management consultant, who she’d parted ways with some weeks back.
- Thankfully the insurance paid for a replacement laptop and software while the investigation was ongoing, allowing our management consultant to keep on working. Cost: £2,000.
- Once the leak was traced and fixed, the police got involved and the ex-business partner was dealt with. The data he’d already offered for sale was taken down, and because of the speed with which he’d been caught, the flow of information was stemmed. That meant no other clients were affected, saving our management consultant a potential £27,000 in terms of lost business.
- As it was, of the two clients whose data was offered for sale, only one sued. Thanks to the white-hat hacker’s intervention, the fashion retailer’s business plan never ended up in the hands of anyone who could use it. And even though the software client did sue (albeit unsuccessfully), our management consultant’s cyber insurance covered her legal costs – a total of £7,500.
Total saved: £36,500.