Google Home and Google Chromecast – Just Two More Reasons to Avoid the Internet of Things

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New research shows that two of Google’s latest devices are inherently insecure. Google Home is a personal assistant speaker system similar to Amazon Echo that allows users to interact with various services using voice commands. Meanwhile, Chromecast is a streaming device with access to all types of content, from Netflix and YouTube to links pulled up on a chrome browser. Craig Young, a security researcher with the US based company Tripwire, recently revealed flaws that may make users question whether they want either of these services activated on their home network.

A Data Leak the Lets Hackers Locate Your Address

According to Young, an attacker can obtain very precise location information just by convincing the user to open a link on the same Wi-Fi network as Chromecast or Google Home. If the link remains open for at least a minute, the attacker will be able to use Google’s geolocation services to identify nearby wireless networks and pinpoint almost the exact location of the device.

Online geolocation isn’t uncommon. Most IP addresses have markers that can be used to identify a general area, such as a region or hometown. However, Young says his attack demo was able to obtain location data accurate to within 10 meters, as opposed to two or three miles (about three to five kilometres) with an IP address. So far Young has only used three test environments, but he says ‘in each case, the location corresponds to the right street address.’

A Patch Will Be Available in July

In its initial response, Google claimed that this was the ‘intended behaviour’ for both devices; however, further pressure from security experts has pushed the search engine giant to device a fix that will be available in July. Yet the concern about home network security remains. Noah Apthorpe, a computer science expert with Princeton University, says that many Internet of Things (IoT) devices communicate location information over an integrated wireless or Bluetooth network without requiring authentication. This means that an attacker can hijack the network through an unauthorised device and gather location data with comparative ease.

The ramifications of this type of leak can be imagined, whether hackers track down the victim’s location to commit a physical crime or use this data to access other online accounts. Either way the result is financial loss and/or reputation damage.

The IoT Continues to Be Dangerous

Consumers should continue to be wary about the type and number of devices connected into their home network. Laptop and mobile phone browsers come with inherent security features that aren’t necessarily built into other smart devices. Plugging these insecure devices into your network makes it easier for hackers to gain access to your personal information. It also enables a widespread attack called a Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) that can cripple large sections of the internet. This happened with the Mirai botnet in 2016. As the IoT continues to grow, a DDoS could become even more damaging.

Contact ReputationDefender for more information about privacy and security in relation to the IoT. We can help safeguard your reputation and reduce the chances that you will become a victim.

 

 

Managing Reputation Risk – A Lesson from the Telecoms Industry

ReputationDefenderA recent survey found that telecom companies lose thousands or pounds in reputation damage each year. Today, we rely on the internet for almost every aspect of our lives, and we expect our wireless and mobile phone connections to function efficiently whenever we need them, at any hour of the day or night. If the network is down too often or service is slow, customers are likely to start shopping for a different company.

The study, sponsored by Oneserve, a field service management software company based in the UK, questioned senior management and decision makers at Britain’s top telecom companies. Of the brands surveyed, 75 percent had experienced reputation damage following technical difficulties that resulted in a service outage. The reputation fallout was often further compounded by poor customer service and failure to communicate with clients.

High levels of customer dissatisfaction create ongoing client turnover that cost the entire telecom industry £1.8 million in revenue every year, with an average of £188,700 per company. Perhaps it’s not a big enough amount to put companies out of business in a billion dollar industry, but it’s certainly sufficient to dip profit margins well below what they might be.

A Preventable Problem

The survey showed that the majority of telecom service failures (44 percent) are associated with internal system errors; however, old components account for 37 percent and external damage adds another 29 percent. More surprisingly, 82 percent of the respondents believed that many of the technical issues could have been prevented using so-called ‘predictive maintenance models’, programs designed to assess high risk areas and fix problems before they become apparent. In some instances, this could actually prevent the outage altogether, saving not only the cost of reputation damage but also the cost of paying additional personnel to diagnose and fix the issue once the system goes down.

Proactive Reputation Management is Worth the Cost

Companies that invest in their reputation save money in the long run. Assessing reputation risk is an integral part of preventing reputation damage, whether it’s by updating technical systems to prevent a service outage, or training customer service personal to handle outages that occur as a result of circumstances beyond the company’s control.

Integrating the cost of reputation damage into overall expenditures can help refocus the company’s priorities and improve investment strategies to make them more cost-effective in the long run. While telecom companies may have the most to lose with a service outage, every industry has risk areas, where failure to return will make it difficult to regain customers’ good opinions. Assessing these risks and actively working to counteract them can help save the time and money it takes to rebuild a tarnished reputation.

For more information on how to manage reputation risk for your company, visit ReputationDefender’s website or call and talk to one of our specialists.

What Is Corporate Reputation Management?

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A corporation’s reputation can make or break the business. Who hasn’t heard the unfortunate examples of Enron, Tyco, and WorldCom? These are all companies that failed to recover after devastating scandals ruined their reputations. There are many more examples of similar stories. At the same time, there are also corporations that thrive year after year as respected organisations. Some examples are Johnson & Johnson and Cisco Systems. Corporate reputation played an important role in each of these examples.

What Is a Corporate Reputation?

It’s sometimes easy to tell if a corporation has a really bad reputation or a really good one. However, measuring corporate reputation has not yet been perfected. It can be tricky to tell how the general population feels about a specific corporation. How the public feels about a corporation is essentially the definition of corporate reputation. More specifically, some experts note that the company image or reputation is determined by a variety of stakeholders or constituents, and is built over time.

What’s important to remember is that corporate reputation isn’t the same as image or corporate identity. Corporate identity is what the corporation itself communicates through its branding, commercials and services. A corporation’s image refers to some stakeholder’s opinions of the organisation. However, reputation truly shows how all stakeholders feel about the corporation, its communications and its actions.

How Do Some Corporations Earn and Maintain Their Sterling Reputations?

It’s not by chance that some corporations are able to enjoy a positive position in the public eye. Leadership, management, operations, the quality of products and services, and relationships with stakeholders all influence the strength of a corporation’s reputation. Communications practises and how well the corporation seeks and responds to feedback also influence this reputation. As you can see in the embedded PDF document, managing corporate reputation has its perks and there are some characteristics shared between organisations that are doing things right.

The practise of trying to influence a company’s reputation is called corporate reputation management. Need an overview? Check out the embedded video, which offers a short introduction to what corporate reputation management is.

How Does Corporate Reputation Management Work?

In a loose comparison, one group of experts, Hutton et al. said that corporate reputation management is similar to “trying to manage one’s own popularity”. This doesn’t mean that corporate reputation management has to be as awkward as managing one’s own popularity might sound. Another expert, Charles Fombrun, rightly compares corporations to citizens. In order to build a reputation, they must “act like good citizens,” he says. By reading the attached infographic, you’ll see how stakeholders form their opinions about corporations, which in turn determines their reputations.

Effective corporate reputation management means that organisations incorporate these concerns and goals into the very fibre of the corporation in the form of policies and actions. As is true with being popular, corporate reputation management also largely relies on relationships. Companies with strong reputations have excellent relationships that they manage carefully to ensure both sides benefit. Just as much as a corporation looks out for itself and its employees, it must also ensure customers and the local community are benefitting.

As discussed, there are many factors to consider when studying how corporations manage and influence their reputations. In an important, in-depth study, researchers Kitchen and Laurence discovered the following important points that summarise their findings, which are relevant to any organisation interested in managing its reputation:

  • Corporate reputations are growing in importance
  • The need to measure reputations in a systematic way is also growing in importance
  • There are three major players that influence reputation: customers, employees and the CEO
  • A good corporate reputation can help an organisation grow its business abroad and prepare new market areas
  • The CEO plays the role of the chief communicator and as such, that person’s reputation is very much intertwined with the corporation’s reputation
  • Managing reputation is a key component of managing in general and must be led by the CEO, who must integrate it into the management strategy

Corporate reputation management is possible when made a priority and has many benefits, including financial ones. However, it is an ongoing process that must always be tended to and cultivated to achieve the most desirable outcomes.

3 Ways Online Reputation Management Works For Your Brand

Companies today are facing a steadily increasing online community, with lots of information being shared all the time. What people say about your brand or business online will make the difference between making money and losing market share to your competition. Online Reputation Management (ORM) offers you great tools that will ensure a fair view of your business online so you get the revenue you deserve. There are many ways that ORM works to engage the public in the spaces that they share information and will give you the positive exposure you need.

Keeping Active Online

People want to do business with a company that has an active presence on social media and the internet. In addition to publicising your products or services, frequent contributions of relevant content will help to engage potential customers. If you ever face a tide of negative news about your company, all of the positive content you have posted will help to mitigate the damage. Google tends to promote content that has been online for a long time and will also give precedence to popular items.

Project A Realistic Image

There is no law that says the information people publish about your company has to be accurate. In many cases people will overlook the importance of your reputation and write things that may not be fair. By using ORM, you can ensure that the image people form of your business is fair and your positive aspects are featured.

Growth From Negative PR

Everyone knows that mistakes are inevitable. When it comes to negative PR, you want to make sure that you talk to unhappy customers in a public way and show that your company cares. You can easily turn a bad news story into a demonstration of your commitment to fixing mistakes, but you need to take the initiative and address issues as they arise.

Professional Solutions

No matter what field your business operates in, using ORM to make sure your image is safe makes sense. Choosing to enlist the help of a professional ORM company is a good idea, so you can rest assured that your image is safe in the hands of professionals. Make sure to choose a firm that has a track record of getting positive results and will talk you through the entire process. When it comes to your business image is everything, so don’t leave it to chance.

The Basics Of Online Reputation Management

Online Reputation Management (ORM) can take a number of forms, but it all comes down to one thing: showing the online world a positive image. ORM relies on quality content that gets placed prominently on a Search Engine Results Page (SERP), which will show people the good parts of your business or public persona.

The vast majority of people will never click through to the second or third page of Google, so if you get positive content featured prominently, your image will be given balanced representation online. Reputation management isn’t something you should wait to implement after negative information has gone viral; the most effective strategies are preventive. If you want to know more about ORM, and what it can do for you, have a look at this brief guide.

The Fundamentals of ORM

A successful ORM strategy can be seen as falling into two categories.

  1. Creating a Presence With Great Content
  2. Making Sure the Content Is Easy to Find

The most important part of ORM is the content. Today Google’s search algorithms are designed to promote content that is both well-written and creates interest. This means creating high-quality content for your ORM programme is important.

Once you have a solid stream of great content that shows your image in a positive light, it is time to get it where people can find it. Many people choose to use blogs and social media to do this, but YouTube can be a great place to be seen as well. As stated above, quality content reigns supreme, so trying to blanket the web in shoddy content isn’t a good idea.

Start A Conversation

Social media gives you the ability to engage the online community like never before, so that you can give your image an interactive feel. People love connecting with a public figure, or attaching a personality to a company. Branding has been doing this for years, but ORM uses the same idea to your benefit. If negative publicity ever becomes a concern, you will be glad you spent the time to build up a safeguard.

Online reputation management is growing all the time and many people choose to enlist the help of professionals. ReputationDefender has a long history of getting results and we only use the best practices in the marketplace. Ultimately your online image is at stake, so do what you can to protect it.