Top Accounting Firm Deloitte Hacked, Clients' emails Compromised

One of the world's most notable accountancy firms offering cyber security solutions and strategy fell victim to a data breach in 2016, and news broke of the event this week.

Deloitte offers tax, auditing, operations consulting, cybersecurity advisory, and merger and acquisition assistance services to several government agencies, private companies, and large Fortune 500 multinationals. The company believes that the breach might have begun in October last year which it was eventually able to catch in March of this year.

Cybersecurity expert Richard Stiennon, chief strategy officer of Blancco Technology Group, said the breach highlights the need to prioritize protections for email.

Government authorities have been alerted and a review is taking place, a Deloitte spokesperson told the Guardian. The breach is believed to have been US-focused.

The Guardian described the breach as a "deep embarrassment" for the company in part because it advises clients on cybersecurity.


In a statement released this morning, global accounting giant Deloitte LLP revealed that hackers had compromised its internal email system.

Although nowhere near the same scale, the hack follows the infiltration of Equifax Inc, where attackers accessed personal data for as many as 143 million USA consumers.

Deloitte said the number of emails that were at risk was a fraction of this number but declined to elaborate.

The Guardian reported that hackers might have gotten their hands on confidential emails, IP addresses, business plans, architectural diagrams, and health information.

Deloitte said in a statement that it found "only very few clients were impacted" and each of those clients has been notified.


"However, if they are not [encrypted] and the attacker has enough time on target, hacked mail servers can provide a wealth of information", he said.

A measure of Deloitte's concern came on 27 April when it hired the United States law firm Hogan Lovells on "special assignment" to review what it called "a possible cybersecurity incident".

Deloitte confirmed to the Guardian that it had been hacked, but played down how many clients may have been impacted.

Deloitte has been the subject of the latest major cybersecurity attack, with confidential information from some of its clients reportedly compromised.

With that said, the data that did get impacted by the breach could still pose a major problem. In fact, in 2012, Deloitte was ranked the top cyber security consultant in the world.


Javvad Malik, security advocate at AlienVault, said: "The unfortunate incident demonstrates that even the largest of organisations can sometimes overlook fundamental security practices such as not enabling two-factor authentication on administrative accounts".


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