Kickstarter And Hacking

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February 17, 2014 by Colin Kelly

If a restaurant suffers a food poisoning outbreak it likely won’t recover.

Responsible owners know this and go to great lengths to make sure they follow every possible hygiene step and that it doesn’t happen on their premises. Those who’re really switched on take the same interest with every step of their supply chain.

Mistakes happen, of course, but the damage to the brand is often so great the restaurant will shut its doors and only return with a new name and new ownership. Trust is gone and the public demands visible change.

So why is it different with online businesses that get hacked?

Kickstarter sent an email to its members over the weekend saying it had been contacted by law enforcement agencies 3 days previously stating it had been hacked. Email addresses, encrypted passwords and goodness knows what else was taken.

The whole approach seems to be ‘sorry about this, we’ll try to make sure it won’t happen again, change your passwords’.

I’m afraid that’s not enough anymore.

Hacking isn’t some unfortunate niggle that comes with the territory when you operate online. When you’re the size of Kickstarter it’s a fundamental breach of trust. It’s equivalent to poisoning every customer in your restaurant and should be treated with the same level of gravity.

I expect a face and name rather than a bland email. I want to hear the voice of whoever’s at the top. Many of these platforms suffer from not having a recognisable figurehead. It’s extremely difficult to trust a faceless platform. It’s just a bit of software. Kickstarter and all these other platforms and networks need a Richard Branson figure who can speak out when things go wrong and give them a chance of rebuilding trust.

Don’t send me an email, show me a video. I want to look in that person’s eyes and decide whether or not I believe them when they say no credit card data was involved and that the system will be more secure going forward.

These platforms are so concerned with rapid growth and all the fun fluffy stuff that they do, that the fundamentals like security are overlooked.

There’s a way to combat hacking, and it starts with taking it more seriously.

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