When hackers attack… a clear, timely, and well-planned response is critical.
Every minute of every day companies, organizations and individuals experience cyber or breach attacks and can be digitally assassinated.
What can be done to the world’s most powerful governments can certainly be done to you, your company or your organization.
In February 2023, for a bylined article posted in NACD BoardTalk Richard Torrenzano straightforwardly outlined three basic types of cyberattacks organizations face today. All have significant reputational considerations and consequences.
Cyberattacks from outside the organization – crime syndicates, overseas competitors or state actors seeking destruction or theft of data, money or intellectual property; disruption or ransom; blackmail, extortion, retaliation or denial of service, as well as warnings of attack capabilities.
Reputation attacks on company operations or management issues from activists or trolls seeking to disrupt; conflicts with labor or other constituents; product or service liability retaliation; brand or reputational injury; operational mistake, compounded by dreadful fact gathering and communications.
Internal attacks, the deadliest, from disgruntled current or former employees – seeking financial gain, commercial espionage or retaliation for employment issues.
Meanwhile, technology continues to advance at laser speed and new AI (artificial intelligence) attacks are on the rise, posing risks to reputation and brand.
These attacks, have a significant impact on public perception, consumer trust and ultimately harm both the brand’s reputation and its bottom line.
In July 2023, Richard wrote a byline about AI for Fortune where he addresses how AI has supercharged the speed at which false information spreads and offered six actions companies should take to minimize the devastating implications of these reputational attacks.
The developing AI chatbot revolution is a rising storm presenting greater complexities. As widely reported by academics and media outlets, these new tools often produce false and defamatory statements that could lead to bogus reports.
AI deepfake attacks – involve creating incredibly realistic manipulated media, such as videos, images, or audio recordings. Attackers falsely depict business leaders engaging in unethical or scandalous behavior. Dissemination of these deceptive media files cause severe damage to reputation, erodes customer trust and undermines brand credibility.
AI powered social engineering – attackers manipulate individuals into compromising their security through chatbots or voice assistants that mimic human interaction causing employees and customers to unknowingly disclose sensitive information, share login credentials or authorize fraudulent transactions.
AI reputation manipulation through AI powered chatbots – manipulates online discussions and social platforms to spread false information and engage in coordinated campaigns defaming a brand which includes generating fake reviews, negative comments, or fabricating news articles.
The Wall Street Journal revealed many organizations are “dangerously behind the curve” in deploying defensive software. Beyond technology, however, is a critical defense that also needs high-level focus – a crisis management plan to address the aftermath of cyber or reputational assassination.
Digital assassins inflict instant havoc and substantial damage to infrastructure, brands, credibility, employee morale, reputation, sales and stock value.
If your organization is attacked – especially on a Friday evening, during a weekend or holiday – are you really ready to counter such disruption? Could you mount a well-rehearsed communications strategy that deals with instant digital and media reactions that everyone will see?
Have you anticipated what important constituents will ask? How will you restore trust and mitigate reputational damage with customers and regulators? Do you have reputation management strategies in place to calm jittery investors ready to sell stock at the next opening bell? How will you keep rattled employees focused on recovery?
Torrenzano’s experienced professionals work on these and many other issues – planning and rehearsing clients – and working with legal counsel, security firms and insurance companies to advise the public response necessary when cyberattacks occur. As a matter of fact, Torrenzano is the recognized provider for communications and reputation services at several insurance companies.