Billionaires, world leaders and influential people just had their stashed-away financials leaked to the world.

Over the weekend, the Pandora Papers were published, revealing over 11 million documents exposing offshore deals and hidden assets of the rich and powerful.

The financial secrets of over 100 billionaires, 30 world leaders and 300 public officials in 90 countries were reported. This new trove of leaked files revealed trillion of dollars in hidden from the public eye. 

The Pandora Papers are the result of more than 600 journalists calling themselves the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) who conducted global investigations based on around 12 million leaked documents from 14 financial services firms around the world. More details will be shared through the week by the journalists. 

The ICIJ stress that it is not illegal to have assets offshore or to use shell companies to do business across national borders. Nevertheless, such revelations about clandestine financial holdings are no less of an embarrassment for leaders who may have campaigned publicly against tax avoidance and corruption, or have advocated austerity measures at home.

According to Principal Security Strategist, Synopsys Cybersecurity Research Centre, Tim Mackey, protecting oneself from the impact of any data breach is a challenge for most of the public. This challenge is made more difficult when the data from the breach is combined with data from other breaches or from other public sources.

He commented: “The end result is a situation where users may be profiled, and deeper insights into their life uncovered. This is also precisely what the wealthy are realizing from the investigative work that produced in the Pandora papers. While the reasons wealthy individuals have for using tax havens are many, the secrecy promises made by such havens are analogous to claims that any given process is immune from cyberattack. No process is completely immune from attack, and data is only as secure as the weakest aspect of the security profile used to protect it.”

A Senior Security Strategist from Synopsys, Jonathan Knudsen, added that the Pandora Papers are a dramatic demonstration that software underpins everything we do—software is the critical infrastructure for all other critical infrastructure.

“Every business is a software business, and that now includes the organizations that help the wealthy hide their money. You can be sure that this incident raises awareness about cybersecurity and data security for the wealthy. Billionaires and the organizations that serve them will be sure to raise the bar in how they think about data security in the future. For the rest of us, this shows the importance of properly managing data and access to data. Software and processes that are designed from the ground up with security as part of every phase will have the lowest risk of inappropriate access or distribution of data.”