Google says Don’t Worry
“Google Says Not to Worry About 5 Million ‘Gmail Passwords’ Leaked” So said a headline on forbes.com. If you have a gmail account, were you at all concerned that your email address and password was among the 5 million? Of course you were.
Continued data breaches are a cybersecurity headache. They’re also a major public relations nightmare. Telling your customers not to worry doesn’t sound like a good strategy.
So far no one is saying how the Russian Bitcoin security forum actually got the gmail addresses paired with the passwords. Some speculate that, instead of a gmail data breach, whoever was responsible grabbed them from other sites at which gmail customers used their emails and passwords to sign in.
It’s still a public relations problem for Google. Covering various parts of your body and telling everyone not to worry only serves to make people leery. They don’t believe you and suspect your ability to handle cybersecurity and even physical security.
So, whether it’s a data breach or some other problem, most PR professionals believe honesty is the best policy. Tell people their information privacy has been violated, whether via a cybersecurity or physical security breach. Give them directions for changing their passwords. Admit you don’t know what happened, but, by golly, you’re going to find out. And apologize. For goodness sakes, apologize.
People understand apologies, especially if they are followed by a vow to find and fix the problem.
Then tell them when it’s fixed.