Data leak costs Swiss bank 6.23 million

A data leak error by Swiss bank UBS is alleged to have cost the organisation 6.23 million, the equivalent of $10 million, according to a report in The Telegraph.

The error occurred when an employee accidentally emailed details relating to the flotation of American car manufacturer General Motors (GM) to a list of over 100 recipients. GM made news of the leak public after it alerted the Securities and Exchange Commission in the US.

The mistake by a UBS worker has led to the firm being ditched by client GM after it had initially proposed to involve the bank in a deal that could have been worth millions.

GM said in a statement that the data contained in the leaked email, was not representative of opinions within the motor firm and claimed that share holders would be within their rights to make claims for reparations, if UBS was retained as the underwriter in the forging of a major business deal.

Check Point security expert Nick Lowe told SC Magazine, that this type of error was easy to understand and something with which many people could sympathise. When using email, clients selecting the wrong contact list and then hitting send occurs all too frequently, according to Mr Lowe.

He pointed out that data loss can easily occur within relatively secure business systems if accidental leakages occur via email in this manner and said that it was difficult to prevent this type of loss, with businesses required to plan for the aftermath as a precautionary measure.

Mr Lowe said that the best way to stop employees accidentally leaking data in this manner is to prompt them to check that their email has appropriate content and is being sent to the appropriate recipients before it is lost in the ether.

Whether or not the bank will face regulatory action as a result of this incident is unclear, but the damage to its reputation and the loss of a major client should be significant punishment and a lesson to other businesses about the potential for disaster.

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