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Organisations should protect their information

By Admin

Added 16th August 2018 05:07 PM

Organisations should have clear guidelines and information protection oaths to reduce leak acts by staff and service providers.

Organisations should protect their information

Organisations should have clear guidelines and information protection oaths to reduce leak acts by staff and service providers.

By Ivan N Baliboola

A letter you send privately to one individual can be read by the world online without your permission. Recently, an official letter by President Museveni to Finance minister regarding social media tax was leaked. It was not a letter to citizens, but the minister.

Everyone is in constant fear of who will leak what about them. Leaked information is mainly: nude pictures, sex tapes, CCTV footage, and screenshots from debates, recorded phone calls, Private financial information, personal medical history, receipts, letters, whistle blower emails, and company secrets. Leaks are fuelled by cyber insecurity, weak laws, revenge porn, national interest, fame, and citizen journalism.

Even with possible harsh punishments, leaks still happen. This is because leakers have objectives. During the last US presidential elections, several leaked DNC party controversial emails were damaging. This may explain Hilary Clinton's loss to Donald Trump.

Every leak will result in some form of reputation damage. It's better if the clean-up is fast. Leaked fake information is damaging and may explain increasing information wars for politicians and companies. By the time you refute it, it will have been shared with millions on social media. The trick is to respond ASAP or damage your reputation for a lifetime. People edit fake screenshots to look like it's the official verified accounts.

Advanced technology in information storage and sharing comes with cyber security risks. Leakers like WikiLeaks just enjoy the fact that most brands don't invest enough in their cyber security to minimize leaks. Brands rarely do system audits. People and brands a lot of control. Even printing should require a password.

Before communicating through a certain media channel, assess its security capability. Make it clear to the receiver of your communication that it is private and confidential. There are times I have held private confidential conversations but the receiving party didn't realize it was not for public consumption.

To minimize damaging leaks, gauge who you communicate with and what you tell them. Investigative journalists are hungry for documentaries and they have recorded disturbing instances of high profile people without their consent.

Screenshots of social media chat discussions involving high profile people have become the focus of leakers. A person will take a screenshot from a private Whatsapp group conversation and share publicly. Disgruntled customers have also leaked their bad experiences which go viral.

Organisations should have clear guidelines and information protection oaths to reduce leak acts by staff and service providers.

Can leaks be good? Leaking information can be stage managed and not that bad. Not all people and companies are victims of leaked information. Huge media appearance budgets may explain why some celebs opt to leak their nudes for sympathy PR. It is almost guaranteed that nude pictures will go viral and get them coverage in traditional media. In fact media comes begging for interviews. The Apple brand has mastered the art of leaking new IPhone product features to the media prior to actual launches.

Technology may only stop 5% of leaks. Truth is no information is secure, safe and private on any electronic device. Even cloud storages have been hacked. Information leakers are those you least expect. Hackers can access even the most secure network and leak the information. The 95% is about individual efforts. When writing controversial messages, always make it short, less controversial and not mouthful.

Remember your silence cannot be misquoted. If you are not comfortable sharing details on email or phone, resist the temptation. Mean what you share. Just communicate everyday knowing at the back of your mind that millions of people could read that private message at any given time. Don't digitize all communication. Once you digitize any information, you become more vulnerable to leaks.

PR and Organizational diagnosis specialist



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