If a Company You Use Gets Hacked, Don't You Want to Know?
These last two weeks, it appears hackers have been in their glory. Apple, Facebook, Twitter (Burger King's Twitter account, Jeep's Twitter account) The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal have been hacked, some with humorous results. (Today Twitter, Tumblr and Pinterest have been hacked through Zendesk.) Though the perpetrator referenced several internet hacker groups, including LulzSec, Anonymous and DFNTSC, Anonymous denied the Twitter, Apple, Facebook hack was theirs. It is unclear who is responsible.
To exploit the publicity surrounding the Twitter hacks, Viacom's MTV and BET perpetrated a bogus hack of each other's Twitter accounts by switching their profile photos. BET's profile photo displayed MTV's and vice versa. After an hour, MTV tweeted "Catfishe-ed you guys. Thanks for playing!" (a reference to one of their shows). These hack attacks were good PR for the companies (Burger King's Twitter followers bumped from 77,000 to 111,000) and after all, whether bad or good, publicity IS publicity: "it's all good," bringing attention to a brand.
However, hack attacks can be scary. What if your bank has been hacked as was suggested in the hacking of certain banks allegedly by Iran? Then the smiles are wiped off our faces. We worry whether our accounts have been compromised and the banks tailspin, facing questions of liability, accountability and the possibility of litigation. Are they not responsible for putting in place hacker-proof security systems, incapable of being penetrated by HS teens or foreign invaders? Embarrassing to be sure, and clients should jump ship with the whiff or whisper of virtual rape by hackers.
This is why after hackers hit thousands of American corporations in the last few years, it was the rare company that ever publicly admitted it. Most corporations viewed online attacks as the filthy laundry to be hidden from the view of customers, shareholders and competitors. In a downed economy, the disclosure could sink stock price, destroy credibility and expose them as vulnerable and foolish.Continued on the next page