Accidentally-sent email could end up costing UBS $10 million

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An email sent in error that contained details of General Motors' upcoming flotation could have cost Swiss bank UBS an estimated $10 million.

A report by The Telegraph claimed that a UBS banker accidentally sent an email that contained details of the planned flotation and GM's listing price, to more than 100 people. The leak was disclosed in papers filed by GM at America's Securities & Exchange Commission.

This has led to UBS being dropped as an underwriter to the carmaker on one of the biggest deals in the world at the moment. The filing said the email did ‘not reflect GM's views' and said that investors who buy GM stock could seek refunds or damages because of the leak if UBS remained an underwriter on the deal.

Commenting on the email error, Nick Lowe, Check Point's head of Western Europe sales, said: “We've all made this type of mistake at some point, either by choosing the wrong auto-fill email address, or selecting the wrong email distribution group. 

"Email is the biggest vector for corporate data losses, yet most data leak prevention solutions don't actually help users to stop leaks from happening, they only raise an alert after the event, when the damage is done.

“Data leak prevention should work with the user, prompting them to double-check what they are doing before the email is sent. This is how our UserCheck technology works, giving employees a chance to close the stable door before the horse bolts.”

Peter Bauer, CEO of Mimecast, a company which provides cloud-based email management and security to businesses of all sizes, commented:

“This story is a classic example of why organisations need to be thinking very seriously about corporate email from a compliance perspective. As UBS has found out, data leakages of this kind are all too common and can be extremely damaging to a business, both financially and in terms of reputation. They are also completely preventable.

“In our information driven economy, a rigorous email compliance system is becoming increasingly essential to protect organisations' intellectual property, safeguard sensitive client data and maintain a business' reputation as a trusted supplier or partner. Unfortunately, with approximately 65 per cent of data leaks still occurring via email, it seems there is still some way to go before these lessons are learned.”

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