PRWeek TV: Brands urged to plan for hacking risks

Brands should be taking online security more seriously to minimise their exposure to cyber crime and hacking, according to industry leaders.

Speaking to PRWeek TV, Guy Corbet, director at Brands2Life, and Drew Benvie, founder of Battenhall, pointed to a lack of awareness of security risks and a failure to plan for what is often a predictable situation.

Benvie said: ‘Whether in-house or agency side, some of the basics just aren’t being done. It should be straightforward for a lot of companies. Security can often be an afterthought. It can simply be a case of the usernames and passwords being in the wrong hands.’

Corbet said HMV’s Twitter account, which was infamously taken over by a disgruntled employee after the announcement of redundancies, showed a failure to consider the risks of access to passwords and login details.

Corbet said: ‘We sometimes get confused with the online nature of it, but actually a lot of the old rules apply. Brands and businesses should be thinking in terms of their exposure to crime, not so much cyber crime. Some of the issues that come up are actually quite predictable, and not to do with the medium.

‘The case of HMV is just not having thought through the problem,’ added Corbet, who said there were various stages at which the potential issue should have been flagged up internally.

‘There’s no way they’d just let anyone design their TV ads, and they should be taking their other channels as seriously,' said Corbet.

Benvie pointed to the various tools available to handle a security breach in the first instance: ‘You need to figure out how to respond. There are people at Twitter who are there to look after your brand. Also they [companies] need to figure out the right technology and there are companies that manage the password permissions for accounts. It’s much easier to deal with things, if or when you get hacked,’ he said.

Regarding handling the situation in the longer term, Corbet said: ‘If you have been hacked, it’s a classic case of crisis. The repair job would be the same as any other crisis situation, which is acknowledge what’s happened, look at how it happened, talk openly and in keeping with your brand about what you’ve done to fix it.’

Watch Corbet and Benvie chat more about the issue on PRWeek TV, above.

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