- Pepsico, in partnership with Edelman and Weber Shandwick Worldwide, took home the Platinum SABRE Award for the best public relations program of 2011, for its Pepsi Refresh campaign, which used social media to engage consumers in the company’s corporate social responsibility efforts. Burson-Marsteller took home the North American Agency of the Year trophy; Kekst and Company, which was named Specialist Agency of the Year in addition to its Strategic Agency of the Year award; and Text 100, which was named the Best Agency to Work For in North America. The Holmes Report’s SABRE competition for the public relations industry acknowledges PR campaigns that demonstrate creativity, integrity and effectiveness. All North American winners are listed here.
- Twitter helped stir the rumor soup prior to President Obama’s announcement that special forces had targeted and killed Osama bin Laden, writes lostremote.com, with a former aide to Donald Rumsfeld, given credit for the breaking news. Keith Urbahn tweeted, “So I'm told by a reputable person that they have killed Osama bin Laden. Hot damn." Within ten minutes, Fox and the New York Times tweeted confirmations of the news. As well, the Wall Street Journal has located a tweeter from inside Pakistan -- Sohaib Athar, who uses the Twitter handle “ReallyVirtual,” tweeting repeatedly throughout the night, including, “Since taliban (probably) don’t have helicopters, and since they’re saying it was not ‘ours’, so must be a complicated situation#abbottabad”
2011 Data Breach Investigations Report"
reports. The breach occurred between April 17 and 19, but the company suspended availability of gaming, and online entertainment programs available on its PlayStation Network & Qriocity networks in the interim, and waited until April 26 to make a statement. The details of the data breach, according to the Sony web site: “We believe that an unauthorized person has obtained the following information that you provided: name, address (city, state, zip), country, email address, birthdate, PlayStation Network/Qriocity password and login, and handle/PSN online ID. It is also possible that your profile data, including purchase history and billing address (city, state, zip), and your PlayStation Network/Qriocity password security answers may have been obtained. If you have authorized a sub-account for your dependent, the same data with respect to your dependent may have been obtained.” The company expects to restore the PlayStation Network and Qriocity services within a week. For a perspective on how the recent data breach cases contribute to the overall problem, according to Verizon Business' "2011 Data Breach Investigations Report," the upward trend had seemed to reach an apex in 2008, and after four years of increasing losses culminating in 2008’s record-setting 361 million, Verizon speculated in the report whether 2009’s drop to 144 million was a fluke or a sign of things to come. "2010’s total of less than four million compromised records seems to suggest it was a sign. But of what? And is it a permanent change in direction or a temporary detour?" their research asked.
The Online Trust Alliance recommends a security framework for businesses if they maintain or have access to customer email addresses. Under the framework, email addresses would be considered personally identifiable information (PII) -- a standard that's typically applied to Social Security numbers, a person's date of birth, and other sensitive personal information, writes clickZ.com. Several more points that the group recommends for organizations with access to email records:
- Establish a cross-function security team and designate one person who is accountable for data security.
- Establish a privacy review and audit system for data collection, storage, and use of email addresses.
- Install a network and host-based intrusion detection system.
- Scan outbound marketing, transactional, and other email to detect malicious content.
- Encrypt data files containing PII, customer profiles, or email addresses that are transmitted.
Children's Place retail stores said its customer database has been hacked, and clients were sent an unauthorized email directing them to a website where they were asked to enter their credit card numbers for a software upgrade. The company notified customers about the hacking on Tuesday evening through an email, Reuters reports. The e-mail breach, which occurred at the company's e-mail service provider, CheetahMail, appears to be limited to The Children's Place, unlike an e-mail intrusion two weeks ago at e-mail service provider Epsilon, writes istockanalyst.com. The unauthorized e- mails were sent to the customer database on Monday morning and discovered by the company soon afterward. The e-mails purported to be from Adobe and attempted to get consumers to enter their credit- card numbers in order to update software.
- Google has removed popular music application Grooveshark from the Android Market, pulling the app creators battle with record labels over concerns it is facilitating music piracy. The search giant commented only to reiterate that it “removes apps from Android Market that violate [its] terms of service”, indicating that copyright issues motivated Google to remove the app from its marketplace, something that Apple did in August last year when Universal Music Group UK complained to the Cupertino-based company about the app, writes thenextweb.com.
Alliance Data Systems Corporation, parent company of Epsilon, reaffirmed that the unauthorized entry into an Epsilon email system was limited to email addresses and/or customer names only. No personal identifiable information (PII) was compromised, such as social security numbers, credit card numbers or account information. Epsilon is working with authorities and external experts to conduct a full investigation to identify those responsible for the incident while also implementing additional security protocols in its email operations. Marketing campaigns were restarted, and Epsilon's email volumes are not expected to be significantly impacted, according to a company statement.
“So what did we learn from the security breach? That is can happen to any company,” writes Austin Bliss, from e-mail marketing services firm FreshAddress, for multichannelmerchant.com. In the article are a few safety reminders, including: Never send account numbers, social security numbers or any other personal information. Only send over the information that the database marketer absolutely needs to contact your customers. As well, be sure to know what happens to the data after the campaign. Is it destroyed or stored for safe-keeping? Bliss says marketers and merchants also need a game plan in place, raising concern about the information flow in this recent incident. Some merchants and marketers were just getting the word out to its customers this week about the possible breach that took place on March 30. Epsilon sent a release out on April 1. The Epsilon website statement is here.