WikiLeaks’ founder Julian Assange has reportedly been holding onto documents about some big businesses. They soon could become public. No doubt, they could embarrass a company or two, and maybe cause them serious harm. Assange claims he has internal documents from one of the nation’s largest banks, perhaps Bank of America. He also may have documents on BP. WikiLeaks has a history of creating trouble for business. In 2008, the site posted documents on the Swiss bank Julius Baer. In 2009, the site released documents on Trafigura. In a recent interview, Assange told Forbes magazine the site has material that “could take down a bank or two.”
The site has already has released classified State Department cables that are causing not only a diplomatic nightmare for the United States, but putting actual lives at risk. So Chief Executive magazine advises 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.
Matters are made difficult because confidential information can be released by just one disgruntled employee. Installing security software is a necessary precaution, says Chief Executive. Company policies should also minimize the risk of employees leaking sensitive information. For more about WikiLeaks and its threat to businesses, as reported by Chief Executive, please click here.