My Column

Help, we are under attack....Cyber attack.

  • Date: Monday 25th February 2013
column Picture

Internationally renowned brand, Apple, faced a PR crisis last week when it was announced some of its employees’ computers had been hacked.


The company changed the face of technology when it introduced a MP3 player, better known as the iPod, back in 2001. Fast forward 12 years the brand rules the world with its ridiculously inviting products. 


Who hasn’t at one point owned an iPod, an iPhone, an iPad or a Mac PC? And customers are eagerly awaiting the arrival of the iWatch, which will no doubt be just as popular as its sister products.  


Despite Apple being one of the biggest players in the world market – even it has a weakness, as we discovered last week.


Not immune to the supposed almighty hacker, the brand suffered embarrassment at the hands of the rouge when it announced that ‘a small number’ of employees’ computers were compromised. It was quick to reassure customers that no data left the network and the next day the company issued a security update to users of its Mac computers.


The update or patch, as it’s known, repairs issues surrounding the programming language system, Java.

Despite this, Apple has come under fire from other brands claiming it could have reacted quicker. It’s feared that other companies, who use its products, may have been affected by this breach.

Apple is not the only brand to be targeted in recent weeks, social media giant, Facebook, has also faced the wrath of the hackers.


It described last month’s attack as ‘sophisticated’ but again confirmed that no information on users had been taken.


It has been suggested that the hackers are a unit working for the Chinese People’s Liberation Army, specifically targeting American companies, but other experts have warned it’s difficult to pinpoint the source of such attacks.


No matter the origin, cybercrime is a real threat to businesses of all sizes – not just huge corporations like Apple and Facebook. Hackers are looking for any kind of information that can be stolen and used against the company.


Look at the failed deal between Coca Cola and China’s largest soft drinks company, China Huiyuan Juice Group. According to reports, hackers manage to infiltrate its system and snoop about for information for over a month and before the Chinese government binned the plans citing competition fears. This decision cost Coke billions of pounds and all because someone found a way to gain access into its system


The internet has changed the world of business. It has created a new way to share information, communicate and sell services and products – but it has also brought with it a new element of crime.


Businesses go to great lengths to protect themselves and customers from traditional criminals – security systems, background checks on potential employees and the shredding of private documents. But what about cyber criminals?


A few simple steps can be taken to ensure a company is protected from attacks – the installing and updating of a robust security software system, the educating of employees on the security measures they can take to protect the company and having in place a contingency plan in the event of a cyber-attack.


Businesses can’t be too careful when it comes to protecting themselves online. If systems can be exploited, there is no telling what the outcome might be.


Whether it’s the capture of personal details or the leak of confidential information, a reputation can be tarnished by the click of a button.


Although it seems some companies are keen to maximise on the hacking scandal and make light of the situation.


Last week MTV decided to hack its own Twitter page after Burger King and Jeep had their social networking pages taken over. The attack went viral and both experienced a surge in new followers during the hostage situation, with the fast food giant attracting 30,000 new followers.


MTV teamed up with American entertainment network, BET, to fake a hack in order to promote the two station’s joint event, the BET Experience in L.A. It seems the Twitter situation captured the imagination of marketing executives who indulged in some viral marketing of their own.


However both networks have experienced a backlash with distrust being expressed for the companies, rather than the curiosity that encouraged people to follow Burger King and Jeep.


It goes to show that one size doesn’t always fit all. Businesses need to create their own identity and brand, and not piggy back their way to success.


Related Content: How To Name Your Company & Create A Killer Brand Name



Back to column listings

Recent News

News Archive