Apple is in the process of fixing what The Globe and Mail has called a “gaping hole” within their security software, “which gave spies and hackers the ability to grab e-mail, financial information and other sensitive data.”
What a nightmare.
We know (or at least we should know) that we’re always at risk of security breaches and hack-attacks when it comes to the online world. But not many would have imagined their actual devices to be a security risk. As a result, this episode has served as a wake-up call for many and has proved just how vulnerable we all are in this digital age.
Apple has reportedly pushed out an update to iOS devices (which apparently should update automatically) and is still working on a fix for OS X (yes, we’ve been made vulnerable on all of our beloved Apple devices). Apparently this bug has existed for the past 5 months and was just discovered. This has lead to many speculating that it was put there on purpose either by Apple themselves, a rogue engineer or a spy.
This is a major potential crisis for Apple
Although the innovative and highly loved brand tends to get away with a lot due to the extreme levels of love their evangelists have for the organization, an incident of this magnitude can do the worst thing imaginable: breach the trust of their very loyal customers. This is a serious risk. If people stop trusting Apple on account of their lack of attention to detail that results in severe security vulnerabilities for each customer, this can result in some very serious repercussions on Apple’s reputation and bottom line.
It’s interesting to me that, in this day and age of transparent, two-way and real-time communications, Apple has so far gotten away with providing the following as their crisis communications:
A quote to Reuters that said:
“We are aware of this issue and already have a software fix that will be released very soon.”
And posting this piece of non-information to their corporate website:
As I said above, Apple tends to get away with these sorts of things, but if they’re not careful, a situation such as this can quickly escalate and result in loss of trust by customers. A serious crisis that would even hurt the beloved Apple brand.
Author of Crisis Ready: Building an Invincible Brand in an Uncertain World, Melissa Agnes is a leading authority on crisis preparedness, reputation management, and brand protection. Agnes is a coveted keynote speaker, commentator, and advisor to some of today’s leading organizations faced with the greatest risks. Learn more about Melissa and her work here.