Wikileaks’ founder Julian Assange now has his sights set on big business. After crafting the leak of sensitive State Department documents that is causing a diplomatic nightmare for the U.S., Assange now claims he has highly incriminating internal documents from one of the nation’s largest banks. And he promises that his assault on big business will not stop there.
Wikileaks already has a history of stirring up trouble for business. In 2008, the site posted documents alleging that the Swiss bank Julius Baer hid clients’ profits from Swiss and international governments. The bank filed a lawsuit to no avail, simply creating a public relations debacle. In 2009, the site came public with documents showing that commodities giant Trafigura dumped tons of toxic waste in the Ivory Coast, sickening thousands of locals. The company eventually had to pay over $200 million in resulting settlements.
Assange claims the documents he plans to release next year regarding this large bank will reveal an “ecosystem of corruption.” It doesn’t look like the government or anyone else has the recourse to have the website shut down, meaning that more potentially incriminating internal documents could be made public in the coming months.
As the Wikileaks saga unfolds, it is important for CEOs to realize that even the slightest breach could have catastrophic consequences. Even though most firms are not engaging in illegal or immoral activity, a simple e-mail conversation could spur a public relations fiasco. Internal documents could also leak critical intelligence that could damage a firm’s competitive advantage.
So what can you do to protect yourself and your company? Cybersecurity is becoming an increasingly critical component of every business’s security procedures. Leak-focused security software should be a cornerstone of a company’s preparedeness. It is virtually impossible to make sure all internal information stays secure, but installing security software is a necessary precaution.Even more vital than software is developing and constantly revamping internal policies and procedures that ensure that employees do not leak sensitive information. Employees need to be aware of the acceptable use policy regarding corporate assets and employee information, as well as the repercussions for when a leak takes place.
You can read more about Julian Assange and Wikileaks at Forbes.com:
Forbes.com: WikiLeaks’ Julian Assange Wants To Spill Your Corporate Secrets
For advice on creating policies and procedures to keep your corporate assets and information safe, please visit the resource below:
About.com: Keep Company and Employee Information Safe