The taboo was first broken by Google, when it decided to come into the light and acknowledge about a data breach incident, and that its security had been compromised.
The compromise was in the shape of Gmail account data breach, allegedly by Chinese hackers. This was a massive gamble that paid off as Google was lauded for its transparency and openness. The fact that such hacking episodes were not visible to all and sundry and yet admitted by Google was a bold step.
The Burger King Hack Attack
Some hacking episodes are not as covert as Google’s. In other words, some companies are just not as lucky as Google. Case in point is the recent Burger King Twitter incident.
Some miscreants hacked Burger King’s profile page, changed the profile picture to ‘Golden Arches’ of McDonald’s, changed the name, and tweeted ‘inappropriate’ content to the fans.
In such circumstances, a typical internet user cannot help but wonder how to protect oneself when giants like Google can be victimized!?
How Individuals Can Protect Themselves!
Fortunately, there is a method by which general internet users can safeguard their privacy, protect their valuable data/information, and become totally anonymous. The technique in question is a ‘Virtual Private Network Service’.
Why is Accepting Data Breach Attempts a Taboo?
Unlike Google, as discussed above, companies try to hide successful hack attempts on their networks for as long as possible.
They do this to protect their image as a hacking disclosure can become a serious financial and PR blow to them. It is, rather has been a taboo for companies to acknowledge their networking weakness and come into the foray as a victim of hacking.
So what is it that is making companies break this taboo?
The straightforward answer is ‘trend’.
The New Trend – Accepting Weakness is Cool
It is fast becoming a trend for companies, small or big, to admit that hackers have compromised their security and data. Marketers refer to this phenomenon as the ‘snowball’ effect whereby one act or argument is replicated by another, and then another and so on until that one argument becomes a belief.
Similarly, accepting weaknesses is fast becoming an idea for companies that are, or aspire to be, transparent and close to their stakeholders.
From a Small Step to a Giant Leap
The giant leap of faith concerning voluntary acknowledgment of data breach was demonstrated initially by Heartland Payment Systems and Google in 2009 and 2010, respectively.
This openness to weaknesses was replicated by Twitter, Facebook, Apple, The New York Times, Intel, Adobe Systems, The Wall Street journal, The Times, The Washington Post, and many other companies.
Needless to say, there are still companies that refrain from breaking this taboo, but the snowballing effect is in full swing. The fact that President Obama recently approved a bill proposing increased information sharing between the government and companies on hacking threats is testament to the snowballing effect discussed.
The threat of data breach is very real given today’s circumstances. Companies and individuals need to take greater measures to ensure that data breach attempts are thwarted on every level. Companies need to learn from Google and other companies and be more transparent to their stakeholders.
Common internet users have a hugely powerful tool on their side, a VPN. They can use a VPN service to encrypt their critical data like credit card numbers, bank account numbers, and passwords while surfing the web anonymously with access to all blocked and location-restricted content. A VPN is a boon for internet users!