Hot topic: responding to cyberattacks

Credit: ra2studio / 123RF Stock Photo

Cyberattacks don’t just affect big financial institutions; they’re increasingly becoming a critical issue for a range of businesses of all sizes. Research shows that these types of threats, from stealing customer data to denial-of-service attacks, are on the rise worldwide. So how does communicating about cyberattacks differ from other types of crisis communication? What can you do to prepare, and how can you educate yourself about the risk?

In this month’s Communication World magazine, there are several articles about cyberattacks and how to respond to them from a communications perspective. Below is a sneak preview – click each headline to read the full articles.

How to build a PR strategy to respond to cyberattacks
On 12 February 2013, U.S. President Obama issued an executive order that identified cyberthreats to critical infrastructure as one of the most serious national security concerns. The order outlined specific measures the government sector must take to align the country’s critical infrastructure with modern practices to maintain cybersecurity and the continuity of government. Since that time, a barrage of cybersecurity events have threatened both governments and the private sector around the world. More than ever before, public relations practitioners must be well educated in the cause and effect of cyberthreats, and the significant risk cybersecurity events present.

A communicator’s guide to cyberattack response
Data breaches and other forms of cyberattacks have become far too common—it seems like every day another organization is reporting a hack or leak of critical information. In fact, according to a report from the Identity Theft Resource Center, there were 781 tracked breaches in 2015 in the U.S. alone. And no industry, including government entities, financial institutions, security companies and retailers, is safe. It’s no longer a matter of “if” but “when” your organization will experience a data breach. In addition to the material damage and potential revenue impact, companies also face the long-term effects of a poor reputation for dealing with this type of crisis.

What communicators need to know about cyberattacks: A legal perspective 
Responding well to a cyberattack requires tight coordination with teams outside of the communication function, including legal and technology teams. Communication World staff asked George McGuire, an attorney with the firm Bond, Schoeneck and King in Syracuse, New York, who specializes in intellectual property and technology practice, to share the legal perspective on the cyberattack responses, and what legal considerations communication professionals need to build into their crisis plans.

Read other articles on the Communication World website …