Scams & shams: The trouble with social networks

Diversionary Tactics

Social networks also have been used by scammers to lure a brand's customers to malware or phishing sites -- or to e-commerce sites hawking counterfeit or gray-market products. According to a survey by MarkMonitor, which tracks online threats for its clients, in the 12-month period ending in the second quarter of this year, phishing attacks on social networking sites increased by 164%.

In a CMO Council survey of 4,500 senior marketing executives, nearly 20% of the respondents said they had been affected by online scams and phishing schemes that had hijacked brand names. It was the third-biggest category, right behind cybersquatting or illegal use of a trademarked name, and the illegal copying of digital media content. The fourth category was online sales of fake products that contain deficient or dangerous ingredients.

Barbara Rentschler, CMO at K'nex Brands LP, sees cybersquatting, online scams and false association of its brands on other sites as the biggest threats to the toy maker's brands on the Web. She uses a monitoring service to track and shut down cybersquatters and scam sites. Many sites that misappropriate K'nex trademarks are overseas, she says. Most aren't malicious: They're simply businesses that hope to become K'nex distributors.

With so many different brand threats to contend with online, it's important to have a coordinated strategy. Unfortunately, says Cyveillance's Carnall, many organizations take a triage approach, sending the issue to legal, IT or marketing. "They silo it," he says. But someone needs to be keeping track of outcomes and the overall impact on the brand, he contends. "You almost need a brand intelligence officer."

At Kodak, the buck stops at the CMO's desk. Hayzlett keeps communication flowing through what he calls online councils with every department in the organization, including IT, legal and human resources. "Everyone needs to work together and understand each role. We work as a team," he says.

Communication between marketing and IT is key. "The most powerful team would be if you connected the CMO and the CIO at the hip," Miller says.

Customers are often the first to notify a business of a problem, so listen to customer service lines carefully, says Frederick Felman, CMO at MarkMonitor. At WWE, it was fans, not staffers or a monitoring service, who first reported the Triple H imposter. "Take the complaints you get seriously," Felman advises, "and be prepared to act quickly."

Rentschler says IT needs to educate colleagues in marketing about risks. If IT sees a problem and fixes it without telling anyone, "no one else will know what to look out for," she warns.

IT needs to push back more when marketing plans can jeopardize brand security. It must, for example, fight pressure to rush Web site changes through without thorough security checks. "I don't think IT does a good job of saying, 'Here's all of the IT issues with the brand upkeep,' " Rentschler says.

With so much online turf to monitor and so much activity in cyberspace, it's important to prioritize. Lynn Goodendorf, global head of data privacy at U.K.-based InterContinental Hotels Group, says she tries to focus on sensitive, confidential data. But even there, you have to have realistic goals. "Mitigate your largest exposures," she says, "but don't think you can mitigate it down to zero."

Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags MySpacesocial networkingFacebook

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Robert L. Mitchell

Computerworld (US)
Show Comments

Essentials

Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive

Learn more >

Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop

Learn more >

Mobile

Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive 

Learn more >

Exec

Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive 

Learn more >

HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450

Learn more >

Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards 

Learn more >

Budget

Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?