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Confidential data on super-rich individuals and leading private equity houses is likely to be exposed after the fourth biggest offshore specialist law firm admitted that it had been hacked.
The firm, Appleby, revealed that that it had suffered an incident last year “which involved some of our data being compromised”.
Appleby, which has offices in Bermuda, the Cayman Islands and the Channel Islands among other jurisdictions, has only acknowledged the security breach now because it has recently received inquiries from a group of journalists making allegations about the firm and its clients, it said in a statement.
It said that the allegations came from the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, a Washington-based organisation, and appeared to be based on information derived from last year’s data breach.
“We are disappointed that the media may choose to use information which could have emanated from material obtained illegally, and that this may result in exposing innocent parties to data protection breaches,” Appleby said.
“Having researched the ICIJ’s allegations we believe they are unfounded and based on a lack of understanding of the legitimate and lawful structures used in the offshore sector.”
The firm added that it was “committed to protecting our clients’ data and we have reviewed our cybersecurity and data access arrangements following a data security incident last year which involved some of our data being compromised”.
The firm’s cybersecurity arrangements “were reviewed and tested by a leading IT forensics team and we are confident that our data integrity is secure”, it said.
The Lawyer magazine’s league table of offshore law firms placed Appleby as the fourth largest by number of lawyers, behind Maples and Calder, Walkers and Mourant Ozannes. Last year it had 205 qualified lawyers and 60 partners.