In October of 2015, the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) recalled grading reports for over 1,000 stones after it had been discovered that their database was hacked and the reports were altered.
The recall focused primarily on reports issued from GIA’s labs in India during July and August. During this time, former employees of Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), an IT firm contracted to support GIA’s global databases, gained “unauthorized remote access” to the reports by hacking into GIA’s grading database where they altered grading reports for color and clarity.
The GIA, in a news release, suggested that “outside parties” were responsible for the influence but failed to elaborate on their identities or motives. They also stated that once the internal investigation responsible for discovering the discrepancy was fully underway the GIA suspended the clients who submitted the faulty reports. The decision to suspend any clients related to the tampered reports was reached by GIA and a “reasonable suspicion” of the violation of the client agreement terms.
The hacking is but one incident to occur in 2015. As a lackluster demand for diamonds shudders the industry causing low margins and opportunities for thieves to infiltrate organizations with ulterior motives, the GIA has acted swiftly to annul further advancements of these activities. In May, the GIA recalled hundreds of diamonds with color grades issues. In August, they suspended their sealing service after inscriptions were found insufficient. The list goes on and on.
Only time will tell of the full impact of the tampered reports or subsequent actions thereafter. What is clear is the growing epidemic of organized criminals who are finding new tactics and techniques for subverting an industry-earned confidence in superior products. For this reason the GIA strongly suggests anyone in possession of tampered diamonds or reports to return them to the GIA immediately for evaluation.