NEW YORK: Until a Wall Street Journal reporter called early last
week, executives at Business Wire (BW) were unaware of a security breach
in the company's journalist source service, ExpertSource.
When BW changed Web hosting companies, the old hosting company, H&T, did
not purge its file of old Expert-Source queries. According to BW, the
WSJ reporter found the old files when he performed a Google search for
another reporter's name.
Dan Savio, BW PR manager, received the initial WSJ call. He said as soon
as he learned about the problem, he contacted H&T and had them purge the
old files from their server. He also explained he called Google and had
it remove the information.
ExpertSource Web hosting is now provided by BW partner Round Table
To assure registered media that the security lapse had been fixed, Savio
sent out a statement the evening the WSJ story appeared, though he
stressed that the Google search procedure was "sophisticated."
In an interview with PRWeek, Neil Hershberg, BW VP, spun the story into
a positive one, saying close to 40 journalists had registered on
ExpertSource the morning the WSJ story hit as part of a "tremendous
flurry of interest in ExpertSource" as a result of the article.
Hershberg downplayed the temporary loss of security saying: "We moved
cleanly and decisively to repair the problem and rectify it. We're not
talking about the Pentagon Papers here."