It's often said that companies that fall victim to hackers suffer the greatest damage from harm done to their reputation. So, inevitably, managing that the fallout has become a vital part of most firms incident response programme. All of which makes each new twist and turn of the Stratfor case more bizarre.
The company styles itself as the shadow CIA – a socio-political analyst firm with insights into the rumblings deep within the corridors of power across the globe.
For those with a short memory, Stratfor was also one of the highest profile victims of Anonymous-affiliated hackers. Those hackers were able to breach company defences for a prolonged period, allowing them to siphon off internal emails, and pilfer the credit card details of its customers – who included the likes of Henry Kissinger.
The hackers were able to accomplish all of this despite their lynchpin having turned FBI informer – who presumably got regular updates on the attack, yet let it happen.
Many of the suspected perpetrators have subsequently been arrested, but according to FBI files, they were able to charge around $700,000 to the credit cards they had compromised, often making donations to charities.
Needless to say, the affair proved highly embarrassing for Stratfor and one might have imagined it would have bent over backwards to appease irate customers.
Yet the details of the settlement reached by the firm, as a result of a class action, suggests there's not always such a high price to pay for being compromised.
According to news agency Reuters, Stratfor has agreed to give users one-month's free access to its services and a copy of an e-book it had penned, known as the Stratfor Blue Book. So how much is that settlement worth to each customer? A paltry $40.
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