What happens when your favorite store gets hacked?

Cyber security
By Barbara Goutelon   |   January 14, 2014

With the ongoing stories about Target’s data breach, a few of us at DeLaune and Associates have felt all kinds of emotions—including yours truly. I’ll freely admit it, I’m a Target shopaholic. So, of course, I shopped there during the peak of the breach timeframe: Nov. 27 to Dec. 15, 2013. And thank goodness, there has been no fraudulent activity on my credit card account. (Well, none yet: whew.)

From a marketing perspective, it’s been cool to see how quickly Target and other related companies responded to the incident. In addition to creating a separate website for communicating about the security issue, Target also emailed customers a letter from their CEO with important details about the breach, including contact information for credit reporting and related government agencies.

Naturally, the Target response was almost a no-brainer. Their reputation is on the line. A security breach can make customers (like me) lose trust in the brand. In fact, I have even thought twice about shopping at my favorite store, and this makes me a little sad. It’s almost like losing a dear friend.

But other companies also used the security event to help restore consumer confidence. For example, within a few days of the Target breach, Chase set low daily withdrawal and spending limits on its cards.

Plus, I was excited to receive an email from American Express, which took the opportunity to explain some ways to keep my account safe. The tips ranged from regularly checking on my account activity online, to signing up for automatic alerts about purchases or withdrawals, and forwarding suspicious emails to spoof@americanexpress.com.

The sad fact is that security risks are never going to go away. And sometimes, the attacks will be successful. But there does seem to be hope that companies and consumers can work together to keep the cybercriminals on their toes.

About the Author

Barbara Goutelon is Copy Director at DeLaune and Associates. She has more than 15 years of experience in writing about technology trends and solutions for B2B and B2C clients.

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