Mitigating Bad Press during a PR Crisis

2021-11-24 by JamesD

Syniverse is a critical company in the global telecommunications infrastructure industry. It has been  used by T-Mobile, AT&T, Verizon, and several other telecommunications providers, and is being sued by a handful of US citizens. The company discovered that it had suffered a data breach which started back in 2016 and lasted up until this year. The breach potentially ended up exposing the data of millions of users.

Two different groups of cellphone users that live all across the US filed their own lawsuits against the company, accusing the business of being negligent with securing such data as call records, locations, and text messages. Both of the two groups have argued that the lawsuits should be considered to be  class-action, and should include all of the individuals around the country who have been impacted by the data breach at Syniverse.

Earlier in the fall, there was a public report on how the company had managed to quietly disclose to the public the news about the hackers who ended up penetrating Syniverse’s networks back in 2016. However, the breach went completely undetected until this spring. That was up until the company had to disclose the breach in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, because that’s one of the procedures for companies to go public.

Syniverse hasn’t publicly disclosed which types of data were accessed by the hackers, and it  also declined to publicly comment about the extent of the breach. However, according to some former employees of Syniverse, as well as experts on cellphone networks, the hackers involved could have accessed a large amount of sensitive data.

According to a professor at Princeton University and former chief technologist at the Federal Communications Commission, Jonathan Mayer, the company is one of the most important in the telecom industry, and has direct access to many records. Those records include texts, phone calls, and internet accounts that are protected with 2-factor authentication via SMS. Additionally, the hack might result in easier hacker access to user accounts on Google, Microsoft, Amazon, Twitter, Facebook, and many others. 

Furthermore, according to the lawsuits, the plaintiffs are accusing the company of being careless in securing customers’ personal data, as well as failing to notify those customers when that data was breached. Because of the breach, the plaintiffs claim they’ll have to closely monitor personal and financial data, and could end up suffering harm, injury or losses.

It’s not easy for companies that were previously unfamiliar to the public to suddenly be put in the spotlight because of a negative situation, and to have to navigate such a crisis. In such cases, businesses should apologize, take the necessary steps to prevent similar situations from happening again in the future, and even offer solutions to the affected individuals.