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Mossack Fonseca claimed unknown assailants managed to crack its systems and access more than 11 million documents.
"We rule out an inside job. This is not a leak. This is a hack," founding partner Ramon Fonseca told Reuters.
"We have already made the relevant complaints to the Attorney General's office, and there is a government institution studying the issue," he added.
At this stage, it is not known exactly how the data ended up in the public domain, although Fonseca said investigators "have a theory and we are following it".
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To illustrate the sheer scale of the data leak, cyber security firm Sophos said it would fill 2,600,000 pages and weigh a total of 13 tons, if all 2.6TB were printed out.
Although details are sketchy, it appears that hackers may have managed to get into the Panamanian law firm's email servers, which may have granted them access to other parts of its system.
"An email breach may not sound like much on its own, but even if a crook manages to get hold of just one user’s password, that can be enough to get started," said Paul Ducklin, senior technologist at Sophos.
"After all, emails sent from an internal account have the apparent legitimacy of coming from inside, so the crook can make believable-sounding IT requests, such as asking for a password reset, and then intercept any helpful replies that come back.
"Worse still, if a crook manages to breach the email server itself, he could end up harvesting all incoming and outgoing attachments, at least some of which will give away secrets that help him get further and further into the network."
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Since the Panama Papers leak on Sunday, the primary focus has been on whose names were on the Mossack Fonseca customer list, rather than how the leak actually occurred.
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"It's ironic that the sort of person who wouldn't dream of looting a supermarket after balaclava-clad rioters had smashed in the windows often has no qualms about digging into stolen data after it's been leaked by someone else," said Ducklin.
"That's a pity, because it helps create a culture that says it's OK to violate security and privacy 'as long as you can come up with a good reason for it,' with no thought for unintended consequences such as making it easier for real crooks to get at stuff they shouldn't."