External Threat Management

Crayola and US Centcom are the Latest Victims of Online Defacement

When a brand's digital asset -- such as a Facebook page, Twitter account, website, mobile site, mobile application or digital ad -- is defaced in a manner in which is particularly embarrassing, it becomes major news. It's easier than ever before for your enemies to gain access to a public-facing digital asset and embarrass your brand in a highly effective and public manner.

In order to keep bad news out of the media, it is now more important than ever to protect your reputation by policing your digital assets, which populate the web and mobile space and represent your organization and brand. However, based on the dynamic nature of modern content and the complexity of the web, this can only be adequately achieved with technologies that offer comprehensive coverage over the Internet, with detection capabilities extending beyond the corporate perimeter.

Crayola and US Centcom (US Central Command) have an unfortunate commonality--they are the most recent victims of highly public and embarrassing online defacement. In Crayola's case, lewd content was published on its Facebook page. In Centcom's case, pro-ISIS material was shared on its Twitter feed.

This is just the latest in a series of highly public defacements (Sony Pictures, Syrian Electronic Army) ostensibly aimed at embarrassment and reputational damage rather than monetary gain or sensitive information collection. When will it all end? Probably not anytime soon.

Therefore, it is crucial to be able to defend your brand on the front lines. If you can put a system in place to measure session by session what actually appears on your social media pages, websites, mobile sites, etc. as it appears in the user's browser in each and every instance, you'll be able to detect when an asset has been compromised, defaced or is sharing something dangerous with the public like malware or phishing sites.

Without this capability, the majority of what's happening along this new cyber security frontier populated by consumers and hackers alike will go unknown due to the complexity of modern web and mobile distribution channels. This is because each user session on web and mobile sites generates a unique representation of the given digital asset based on factors like: personal preferences, demographic information, previous browsing history and geographic location.

The many technical issues that can lead to hacked websites, social media accounts, mobile apps, etc. have made brand and reputation management a cyber security concern. The problem is the normal tools cyber security folks use -- such as firewalls, other endpoint devices and software-based solutions -- are not adequate when used alone.

The best way to protect the digital incarnation of your brand is to have a system that can detect threats as they happen, so your cyber security people can respond. Cyber security folks can help! They too can protect your brand's reputation and prevent harmful or embarrassing content from tarnishing your organization's public perception. Because in the end, the most important thing your company is selling is its reputation.

"It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it. If you think about that, you'll do things differently."

-Warren Buffett

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Base Editor