Hiscox Hack Suit Advances as Warden Grier Loses Dismissal Bid
Julia Weng reports:
Hiscox Insurance Co. Inc. can move forward with claims against Warden Grier LLP, which lost a bid to dismiss allegations that fault the law firm’s handling of a hack that exposed the insurer’s data.
Read more on Bloomberg.
As reported on DataBreaches.net in 2018, thedarkoverlord (“TDO”) had started leaking what they claimed were hacked files related to 9/11. Those files came from a law firm used by insurer Hiscox. Hiscox informed this site that they had learned of the breach in April 2018. Hiscox’s statement to this site at the time did not reveal that the unnamed law firm was hacked in December 2016.
But in March, 2020, Hiscox filed suit against the Missouri-based law firm, Worden Grier, LLP. The lawsuit alleges, in part:
11. On or around December 2016, an international hacker organization known as “The Dark Overlord” (“Hackers”) gained unauthorized access to Warden Grier’s computer system containing all of the sensitive information, including PI, stored on Warden Grier’s servers (the “2016 Data Breach”).
12. On information and belief, Hiscox understands that Warden Grier contacted outside attorneys and the FBI to investigate the matter, but did not hire a forensic IT firm to investigate the 2016 Data Breach or, if it did, has refused to provide Hiscox with the findings of any such investigation.
13. Despite being aware of the 2016 Data Breach, Warden Grier actively concealed or otherwise did not notify Hiscox or Hiscox’s insureds—all of whom were Warden Grier’s clients—of the 2016 Data Breach.
Hiscox’s suit claims that they became aware of the breach on March 28, 2018, when some of the data appeared on the dark web. When they investigated by contacting Warden Grier, they first learned that Warden Grier had not only failed to inform them, but they allegedly had not retained any forensic investigators, and had not informed any of Hiscox’s clients. According to the complaint, Warden Grier paid TDO ransom or other demand to protect its and its clients’ personal information from dissemination. And this may be one of those cases that law enforcement warns victims about — that even if you pay a threat actor ransom, they might still misuse your data.
The Hiscox lawsuit was of particular interest to this site because in December 2016, law enforcement in the U.K. had charged Nathan Wyatt with a number of crimes, including hacking an unnamed law firm and trying to extort it for 10,000 euros. Wyatt had pleaded guilty to all charges and was sentenced to three years in prison in November, 2017. He served less than half of that sentence. To this day, it has still not been made public who that law firm was or whether it was related to the 9/11 scheme or not, but Wyatt had signed the ransom demand to that law firm as “The Dark Overlords.” The unnamed law firm was subsequently described by the Crown Prosecution Services as being in North England, but it is still unknown by this site if they had any connection to the 9/11 scheme and files.
Hiscox never responded to this site’s inquiries asking whether there was any connection between the Warden Grier hack and the Wyatt hack, but if the Warden Grier files were first spotted on the dark web in March, 2018, the sale/distribution of those papers likely could not have involved Wyatt, as he was in prison.
In any event, in dismissing Warden Grier’s motion to dismiss certain counts of the complaint, the court did not reveal any additional details of note about the hack itself or the sale of the files on the dark web. If anything, the case’s main thrust may be that if a law firm gets hacked, it had better be sure to notify all its clients and those whose personally identifiable information was compromised by cybercriminals.