Consumer facing technology companies seem to be falling victim to data breaches more recently and as a result are coming under the microscope for not having proper security measures in place. With so much press focusing on this issue, not only are companies forced to become transparent in their security practices, their reputation is stained, resulting in consumer confidence diminishing.
Earlier this month Vincente Silveira, director at LinkedIn, confirmed a breach of security resulting in six and a half million passwords being posted on a Russian online forum. Roughly 25 percent of their worldwide users were directed to change their passwords due this immense hack. The same hacker also allegedly stole 1.5 milllion passwords from the online dating site eHarmony this month.
As an aftershock to the hype, LinkedIn is now facing a $5 million class-action lawsuit. In a recent article by eWeek, the suit claims the social networking site’s data security measures were ineffective. The article goes on to state that while LinkedIn did use a technique called hashing to encrypt information, they failed to add a second layer called salting.
Diminishing user confidence around the security of a technology’s platform can have long term effects on reputation, especially for a company that recently became publically traded. Not only user base, but investor confidence is tried too. No one says it better than Warren Buffet, “It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it.”
Taking the proper steps to have a fortified security perimeter in place prevents having to deal with painstaking damage control. Ongoing and frequently updated security processes are crucial to stay competitive in an ever-changing threat landscape.