Southwire Company, LLC, a Georgia-based wire and cable manufacturer, has filed suit in federal district court in Georgia alleging that an unnamed hacker accessed its data without authorization and encrypted its files such that it was unable for a time to access its own data.  To make matters even worse, according to Southwire, the hacker posted the confidential information after Southwire refused to pay a multi-million-dollar ransom.  

According to an email attached to Southwire’s complaint against the unidentified hacker named as John Doe, the defendant confirmed hacking the network and encrypting “files, documents, photos, databases, and other important data ….” Southwire’s lawsuit is redacted to exclude the amount demanded, the data hacked, and the system/portal improperly accessed.  However, according to the online publication, SC Media, the attack on Southwire occurred on December 9, 2019, and the hackers demanded 850 bitcoins, which is the equivalent of approximately $6 million.  

Southwire’s lawsuit alleges violations of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act as well as certain common law claims.  Under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, “any person who suffers damage or loss by reason of a violation of this security may maintain a civil action against the violator to obtain compensatory damages and injunctive relief or other equitable relief.”  Accordingly, Southwire seeks to enjoin the hacker from exposing additional information and from pursuing the ransom demand. Southwire also seeks a money judgment, punitive damages, and return of all stolen data.

According to a report published by IBM Security, in 2019, the average cost of a data breach in the United States was $8.19 million, and the average size of a data breach was over 25,000 records.  The industry with the highest average cost for a databreach was the healthcare industry. The attorneys at Chilivis Grubman have represented companies of all types and sizes in connection with data breaches, including in connection with incident response, government investigations, and class actions lawsuits.  If your company has experienced a data breach, please contact us today.