Each day, cyber security becomes more and more important than physical security and it is the hottest topic all over the world nowadays. Despite the developing awareness, cyber-attacks increased significantly and more importantly most of them succeed to give colossal damages. So, what shall we do legally or is there anything we could do once we are under attack?
Months ago, a US based client’s corporate server was hacked upon a professional penetration of hackers and a considerable amount of money was transferred to an unknown account in Istanbul. Such kind of penetrations and illegal money transfers are frequently seen and apart from legal actions to be taken, reacting rapidly but also accurately upon becoming aware of a cyber-attack is crucial.
Let alone days, losing even hours may lead to catastrophic results since it is almost impossible to track or locate money once it is out circulating between unidentified persons and accounts. Therefore, quick involvement of legal counsels is essential but it may not be possible due to lack of a power of attorney including requisite authorizations related to bank transactions since banks are under strict regulations and it may not be possible to intervene despite the account receiving the money may be known to the client.
If victim company already granted such a power of attorney, as legal counsels we may be able to involve immediately and prevent release of the concerning money temporarily until an injunction decision is rendered by a court freezing the relevant bank account. In case an international money transfer was made from a foreign client, issuance of a power of attorney unfortunately takes time more than expected and, in that duration, suspects usually draw the money in cash and it becomes almost impossible to track them or the money due to lack of concrete evidence.
In our case, we succeeded to prevent the release of the money to suspects who tried to draw it from the related branch of the bank and immediately obtained an injunction order from the Court ordering the bank to freeze the related bank account due to suspicious transfer. Simultaneously we have filed a criminal complaint and both civil lawsuit and criminal lawsuit is finalized only in months by imprisonment of the suspects and we have returned entire money to the client.
In this recent experience, evading that cyber-attack by means of immediate legal actions was compelling but possible in a short span of time. Therefore, it is essential to empower trusted legal counsels beforehand in order to enable them to take necessary legal actions on behalf of victim companies targeted by cyber criminals.
By Efe Kınıkoglu, Partner, Moral & Partners