How much is your reputation worth?

cybercrime_resizeAt a time when it seems as if every article in the housing press has to have the phrase ‘post-budget’ in the opening sentence, it feels slightly odd to be making a reflection on the post Ashley Madison world instead. Nonetheless whilst the economic wolves are howling outside the front door, who’s watching your back door?

Cyber security is taken extremely seriously by those who have seen risks materialise in their sector with eye-watering budgets devoted to protecting their assets. Unsurprisingly really, given that once the geek technology veneer is stripped away, what you are left with is just the banality of ordinary crime (burglary, breaking and entering, vandalism, economic espionage et al) conducted by 21st century means to try and gain access to things that are worth stealing. That being the case then the risk analysis really boils down to – do we have anything worth stealing, and how much is it worth paying to protect it?

Given that most housing organisations don’t store vast amounts of (digital) money, hold the financial records of high net worth individuals or a significant volume of credit card details then the logic would suggest that the answer to the questions posed above would be ‘not a lot’ and ‘not a lot’.

The Ashley Madison hack by The Impact Team has the potential to challenge that risk profile. The purported motive is one of moral imperative – they say they simply didn’t like what the company did. That takes hacking into the realm of ‘moral vandalism’.

So where the hacking tools (think digital lock picks and jemmies) can be had for a surprisingly small amount of money and quite easily too, and the chances are that over the next couple of years (in the post-budget world) you may well upset somebody quite badly, the answer to the question of what would you pay to protect is – your reputation.

Altair provides strategic IT consultancy services for housing sector clients across the UK and Ireland. If you would like to find out more, please contact Senior Consultant Mark Sweeny: or 07887 512165.