What the Sony Hack of 2014 and the DNC Hack of 2016 Teach Us About Business Communications
Let's put politics aside for a minute (please!) and just reflect on what large-scale email hacks can truly mean. Sony, in 2014, was almost brought down. A-list actors had the inside scoop into what management really felt about their talents, their looks, their egos and their pay requirements. Female A-listers were privy to what they knew all along--namely that their male counterparts were being paid more than they were.
In the case of the DNC, the Hillary nod was in clear focus.
But I am not writing about Hollywood or politics. I am just using those examples to illustrate how none of us would want to have our personal emails subject to general scrutiny by anyone other than the To: line of our intent.
Business is no different. We have all received emails sent to others and later forwarded to us with less than complimentary statements about us. The sender of the original email never gave it a thought that the person the email was being sent to had this fancy little key that allows one to Forward emails to whomever one wishes. Conversely, we have all sent emails to someone with sensitive or unflattering information about someone else in the organization somehow thinking that we were immune again to the Forward button.
We hear all the time about tweets being pulled down out of embarrassment or Facebook posts being removed but emails--ah those nasty little emails. Those are out there for the duration. There are hundreds of companies out there who promise to rebuild your online reputation after the damage is done. In fact, they have created their own category--reputation management. But of course, by that time, the damage is already done.
Most of us have gossiped over lunch about the colleague who seems to have put on a few pounds recently or the temper tantrum thrown by another colleague with the boss in hearing distance right down the hall but these comments (whether professional or not) cannot be easily forwarded to 20 people--including, innocently, the target of those comments.
The next time you send an email where the little voice in your head is saying "Uh Oh", take heed. What if your email was hacked? Would it cost you your job? Your integrity? Your future job prospects?