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June 17, 2011

PRSA: Candor is Best Defense Against Cyberattacks - The Guardian Op-Ed

Writing forThe Guardian (UK), PRSA Chair and CEO Rosanna M. Fiske, APR, advocated for more timely and transparent disclosure from firms that are victims of cyberattacks in an op-ed published June 17, 2011. Fiske writes that in order to protect customers and the public, and to rebuild trust in a company, "candor is the best defense against a cyberattack." 

She goes on to say, "The [cyberattack] trend is disconcerting. Equally disturbing is the lack of transparent and timely disclosure by affected organizations. All too often, the public is left in the lurch about the impact on customer or citizen data and about what is being done to thwart future attacks. Unfortunately, the default response of aggrieved firms is often silence, followed slowly, at a trickling rate, by a few scant details."
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Candour: The Best Defence Against Cyberattack
By Rosanna M. Fiske, APR
The Guardian
Published: June 17, 2011

The cyber-attack phenomenon continued unabated this week, despite increasing public awareness and government scrutiny. From the well-documented hack into Sony's PlayStation network earlier this year to the revelation that even the venerable CIA is no match against shadowy hackers, cyber-attacks are coming rapidly, and generally without warning.

The trend is disconcerting. Equally disturbing is the lack of transparent and timely disclosure by affected organisations. All too often, the public is left in the lurch about the impact on customer or citizen data and about what is being done to thwart future attacks. Unfortunately, the default response of aggrieved firms is often silence, followed slowly, at a trickling rate, by a few scant details.

To be sure, cyber-attacks are nothing new. While hactivist groups like Anonymous and Lulz have gained international notoriety, following attacks on Sony, the US Senate and the CIA, the precursor to their work dates back to the 1960s, when "phone freaks" or "phreakers" used "blue boxes" as tone generators to make free phone calls.

What was once considered a mere nuisance, at best, has become a huge problem for businesses and the public. This is further exacerbated because many firms treat their customers like pawns in a mounting game of showmanship against anonymous cyberpunks.

Read the rest of the op-ed here. 

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