Friday, February 22, 2013

Are you concerned about “cybercriminals”?

By: Scott Stein, VP of Client Services, Leonard & Finco Public Relations, Inc.

It was easy to laugh earlier this week when word spread through social media that the Burger King Twitter account had been hacked and the account was sporting a McDonald’s logo instead of the BK icon. While hacking into a Twitter account is probably more amusing than concerning, other recent revelations about accounts being hacked are more troubling.

The New York Times ran a story this week (Some Victims of Online Hacking Edge Into the Light) that made me pause and think about all that I do online. The gist of the story was that thousands of American companies have had accounts hacked in the last few years, but the public has only heard about a small percentage of them. Usually, companies only admit they’ve been targeted if someone else leaks the information.

But the story by Nicole Perlroth also notes that more companies – biggies like Facebook, Google, Apple and Twitter among them – have gone public that they were “attacked by sophisticated cybercriminals.” The thought is that admitting you’ve been hacked now doesn’t carry the stigma that it once did because so many companies have been hacked. 

The approach seems to be that by disclosing the attacks, companies in similar industries can share information and use that information in the hopes of staying ahead of the cybercriminals to fend off future hacking activity.

Of course, most of us today spend considerable time online and engaged with social media whether for work or for fun. As we become more and more comfortable with what we do online, reports like this should serve as a reminder that we need to be vigilant in protecting our information.

Does hacking concern you? Are your accounts protected?    

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