Here’s what Lairig Marketing predicted in December 2010, for September 2011:
“The privacy fowl-ups among Internet companies continues unabated throughout the year, then, in September, Google, Facebook, Twitter, Groupon and Amazon are all hacked by a foreign criminal syndicate. Detailed, private financial and personal data for Congressmen, CEOs, professional athletes and Hollywood celebrities are exposed. Internet traffic plummets to 50% of normal for two weeks.”
OK, so we were a little (!!!) paranoid, and as usual a couple months early. Last week, as you will know if you use Facebook, the latter was the victim of a “coordinated spam attack,” resulting in pornographic and violent images being randomly posted on users’ accounts.
Since I no longer use Facebook, the press says I missed out on images of “self-mutilation, bestiality, and doctored pictures of celebrities, such as Justin Bieber.” Oh, snap.
It would be easy to lay this all at the feet of the big networks and portals. Indeed, the FTC this year has pushed both Google and Facebook into 20-year agreements to play nice with our data. But that was just a finger in the dike.
The Interwebs are built on software code that cannot be protected from hacking. As we speak, shadowy figures are hard at work East Estonia and Uz-becki-becki-stan planning the next attack. You can read the reports yourself from Symantec/Ponemon, Cisco, AVG and others – the number of attacks on companies’ data systems is mindboggling. And the exponential increase in mobile data usage opens another big avenue of hacking opportunity.
Our prediction from last year was based on a belief that this tug-of-war could not continue forever without the good guys being hauled into the dirt. We still believe it. But for now, at least, marketers can count their lucky stars that they have been spared the hackers’ focus.
Which means there is time for contingency planning:
- What will you do if your marketing database is compromised?
- What will you do if your user-generated-content contest is hijacked?
- What will you do if your Facebook page or Twitter account is taken over?
- What will you do if someone bombs your site or landing pages?