Crisis comms in a digital age

LIttle boy standing by computerWith the Fox News Twitter account hacked earlier this month, and the compromising of The Sun’s website last night, have you updated your crisis comms planning for the digital age?


The Fox News Twitter account was hacked over the 4th July holiday weekend. Tweets sent by hackers claimed that President Obama had been assasinated. Here’s the New York Times coverage

Much of the criticism of Fox News focused on the slowness of their response – the tweets were up for 10 hours – and the lack of explanation on their website about what was happening and why.

David Meerman Scott sums up lessons to learn here

Twitter also has clear advice on what steps to take if your account has been compromised if you can still log in and if you can’t

What plans do you have in place if your corporate Twitter account/s are compromised? And have you asked your Councillors and staff who tweet to consider the same thing?


The Guardian reports that last night saw “apparently the first hack of a major UK newspaper’s website.” with a group called LulzSec claiming to have infiltrated The Sun’s website and email system. 

The same group also claim to have hacked into a US Police website last month.

While you’d hope that the hacking of a Council or related website wouldn’t be on the agenda , it’s not unheard of.

Wesminster City Council’s transactional website was targeted in 2010, apparently to prove a point about safety of information.

While the Visit Cambridge website was hacked in 2009 and its homepage changed, as picked up by Dave Briggs

Have you sat down with your ICT team and discussed what you would do if your Council’s website were hacked? What are the potential implications and who and what services would be affected?

While ICT deal with the techological side of things, what actions, messages and channels do you have ready to deploy?

If you haven’t already done it, you need to discuss all of the ‘what ifs’ and get a plan down. You never know if and when you might need it.

Creative Commons: 3 year old hacker by Neoliminal on Flickr


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