We’re just about halfway through the year but I’m calling it now: 2011 is the year of the hacker. Grim? Maybe. Just about every week there has been a new story about a company being hacked and it’s costing companies millions of dollars and even more for their brand reputation.
While only two of these hacks really impacted a company I use heavily, I thought I’d do a quick countdown on the top hacks of 2011 and the associated costs.
The file-sharing site opened the doors for four hours this week, allowing anyone with a login to access other accounts. It turns out that it was a self-inflicted wound and DropBox broke their own authentication system. While the finacial impact probably won’t be released, just browse through the 600+ customer comments to see how the issue and their response impacted their brand. It’s a bug, not a hack, but certainly something that could have been avoidable with ample testing prior to a full launch.
Cost: A self reported “much less than 1%” of their more than 25 million users were impacted to an undisclosed extent.
6) MovableType / PBS.org
In a pure retaliation a group of hackers targeted PBS.org in response to an episode of Frontline’s portrayal of of WikiLeaks leaker Bradley Manning. The hackers gained control of PBS.org and republished false information. PBS was not able to immediately regain control and was forced to utilize their Facebook page as their primary news source.
Cost: One of their Sr. Correspondents, Judy Woodruff, wrote a post on “Calculating the Cost of an Attempt to Silence the Press”. While they didn’t disclose any financial costs or specific user information loss, it has certainly been a struggle for them to regain control of their site and all of their content.