Data breach results in 500,000 lost Guantanamo Bay emails

Apr 21st, 2013 / Category: Email Encryption




Data breaches can have a catastrophic impact on businesses. If an enterprise loses or exposes client data, it will inevitably lose a great deal of its customers' trust, damaging its reputation and likely scaring away other potential patrons. These firms will also potentially face fines and other regulatory repercussions, and may lose their advantages over rivals if intellectual property is revealed.

However, data breaches are not solely a problem for businesses. Healthcare providers, nonprofits and, critically, government agencies must also be wary of the possibility that they will be the victim of such incidents.

This danger was recently demonstrated, as an internal data breach at the Pentagon resulted in the loss of more than 500,000 emails concerning the cases of Guantanamo Bay detainees.




A serious breach
Frontline reported that all defense counsel representing Guantanamo detainees have ceased working as the result of the loss of more than half a million emails containing attorney-client privileged information.

As the news source noted, this breach is only one of several recent data security issues to arrive concerning these cases. Defense lawyers have alleged that confidential defense files appeared on prosecution servers and prosecution files became accessible to defense attorneys. Both sides claim to have bypassed the opportunity to examine this information.

The data breach is also noteworthy because it offers further evidence of courtroom monitoring, according to James Connell, lead counsel for co-defendant Ammar al Baluchi. According to the news source, Connell was referring to the revelation of audio monitoring devices and controversial searches of detainees' legal bins in February.

Connell has filed a motion to delay proceedings until the Pentagon's network has been completely secured, as have several other defense attorneys. These motions have been granted.

Securing emails
As this incident revealed, securing emails is a serious challenge for many organizations. Even the Pentagon is potentially susceptible to the loss or exposure of housed emails.

That is why it is crucial for firms of all kinds to take any and all available steps to protect their emails.

For example, organizations should invest in high-grade secure file sharing tools which can protect corporate emails without imposing a large burden on employees. A successful secure file sharing solution can protect messages as they are being sent or received, as well as while they are at rest on the company's servers.