Injunction for hackers’ blackmail threat

Posted: 14th March 2018

Data Security 3Hackers present a growing threat to modern businesses and such hazards can even extend to blackmail. In one case, the High Court came to the emergency aid of a shipping company that was faced by a threat to publicise large amounts of confidential information that had been stolen from its database.

One or more hackers had gained unauthorised access to the substantial public company’s IT system and obtained a considerable quantity of commercially sensitive or otherwise confidential information. Whilst managing to hide their identity, the hackers threatened to publicise the information unless a very substantial sum of money was paid by the company.

After lawyers swiftly launched proceedings on the company’s behalf, the Court granted an interim injunction against the anonymous hackers, who were described as ‘a person or persons unknown’. The order forbade them from, amongst other things, disclosing any part of the stolen information.

After the hackers did not put in a defence to the company’s claim, or otherwise respond to the proceedings, the injunction was made permanent following a further hearing. Disobedience to the injunction would be a contempt of court, punishable by up to two years’ imprisonment or an unlimited fine.