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Becoming Superman: Rescuing Your Client from Cyber Hacking

Guest Post By: Sydney Rodgers

Public relations practitioners are tasked with continually maintaining a line of communication between an organization and its various audiences. Growing advancements in technology have allowed us to reach our audience without having to call or meet in-person. Modernized technology makes it possible for people to do research, conduct business and contact organizations through websites and social media. Accessibility to these tools has helped organizations and businesses gain the attention of millions. Because of this, media outreach has taken on a whole new meaning — and so have the risks.

Liz Carlson, founder of children’s clothing line Southern Fried Chics, discovered first-hand what happens when the cyber security of your business is threatened. Liz successfully acquired 1 million Facebook followers and over 1,500 online orders during Cyber Monday of 2015. Shortly before Thanksgiving 2016, Liz’s Facebook page was hacked. To make the situation worse, throughout the confiscation of her Facebook page, hackers posted inappropriate images and language, mainly involving pornography.

In times of a crisis situation such as this, communication with your audience is vital. Liz did what any professional would do — she contacted her customers to make them aware of the situation. She responded on the platform in which the crisis first occurred and continuously watched her Facebook page during the crisis, so the information she received and the information her customers received was symmetrical. Using the platform where the crisis occurred creates an environment where complaints, questions, etc. can be moderated in the same space.

Liz did all she could to reacquire her page by contacting Facebook and creating a petition with the help of her followers, but the damage had already been done. With the help of Fortalice Solutions, a nationally ranked security consulting company, Liz was able to reclaim her Facebook page and trace the cyber-criminals to an overseas account. After Liz’s crisis, she learned a valuable lesson and was able to reconstruct her business with her new knowledge.

In technical terms, Liz’s story is fairly common in the world of social media. According to Norton Security, over 1/6 of users reported having their accounts hacked and TechCrunch reported a finding of 600,000 logins compromised per day. Inevitable as it may seem, there are steps you can take to secure your social media accounts without being expert, provided by a specialist at Fortalice Solutions:

  1. Create a two-step authentication for all social media and email accounts. This often involves an extra step in the sign-in process, such as a text message code, to verify it’s you trying to log in.
  2. Use an email address for social media accounts that is not publicly accessible, which makes it harder for cyber-criminals to gain access to your password.
  3. Use virus tools when opening email attachments from any source. Tools such as www.VirusTotal.com test the link prior to opening the attachment.
  4. Always use strong passwords on social media accounts and never use the same password for multiple accounts. Websites such as HowSecureIsMyPassword.net can help. 

 

Sydney Rodgers is a student at Southeast Missouri State University. She has always been interested in the communication process and social interaction and is currently studying public relations. In her spare time, Sydney likes to keep up with current events and is AVP of Communication for her Public Relations Student Society chapter.
Twitter: @SydSpksSuccess  LinkedIn: linkedin.com/in/sydney-rodgers-5a6305127

Fortalice Solutions is a Nationally Certified Woman Owned Small Business Company Twitter: @FortaliceLLC

 

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