The first three months of 2013 are full of instances of websites and Twitter feeds of various brands, in particular, being hacked. Those responsible have ranged from the online ‘hacktivist’ group Anonymous to people linked to both sides in the current Syrian uprising.
While there is understandably concern in the minds of anyone who has a website, social media feed, or has ever posted any information about themselves online – almost every internet user, in that case – can getting hacked ever be a good thing?
It is something of a ludicrous suggestion, but here us out.
A Wake Up Call
One thing that the global financial meltdown of 2008 did was make many individuals and businesses a lot smarter with their finances. People now have more respect for ‘disposable income’ and they realize the value of having cash at hand in the bank.
Having a social feed or a website hacked can have the same impact.
Were all of your passwords the same?
Did your company have a lackadaisical approach to data security?
Were your servers not fit for purpose or not maintained correctly?
Those are just three of the questions you might ask yourself when you have been the victim of a breach.
None of us ever wants to be complacent, but if we do slip up, it is the perfect opportunity to get our house in order and ensure it never happens again.
[Read also: I’ve Been Hacked! 5 Things to Do!]
Admittedly, this is something of a cynical point of view, but with many businesses still in the line of thinking that they can turn any publicity into a positive, it is certainly one worth exploring.
The New York Times, McDonald’s, Google, and most recently the BBC were no doubt angry that they were victims of a hack, but it gave them the opportunity to get their brand out there and front and center of the public consciousness once again.
[Suggested reading: 7 Ways You Are Vulnerable to XSS Attacks]
Many new business guides talk about having any excuse for a press release to bring attention to yourself, and that is precisely what has happened in the case of these businesses.
“Yes, we were the victims of a breach of security, but check out our latest news channel, online offer, or feature and rest assured that you are safe with us.”
The best businesses will use being hacked to send their PR machine into overdrive. What odds that McDonald’s were even busier than normal in the days after their hack became public?
Of course, at the heart of all of this is the issue of being hacked, and the fact that you would never want it to happen.
Anything from confidential business information to employees and customers’ personal information, even in the “only for a short time” that hacking victims like to indicate can be accessed and compromised.
The best approach to hacking is to make the best of a bad situation. Yes, certain things are at risk, but take the opportunity to reassure your customers and make the first steps to proving how trustworthy and safe you are.
[Recommended read: Is Hacking an Inside Job?]
Thoughts, suggestions, comments? Tell us in the comments.