Communication and legal protection against cyber-crime go hand in hand

Coordinating crisis communication and legal action optimizes the likelihood of surviving corporate crises caused by hacker attacks without loss of reputation. At the cyber briefing “Crisis management to protect your reputation” (held in Cologne on January 23), experts from communications consultancy Instinctif Partners and law firm Heuking Kühn Lüer Wojtek illustrated how companies can stay in control in the event of a crisis through sound preparation and a fast and targeted response.

In addition, Senior Detective Peter Vahrenhorst, responsible for prevention in the cybercrime division of the North Rhine-Westphalia State Criminal Police Office, addressed the practical threat situation: “Increasing digitization also increases the risks of falling victim to criminal attacks. Internal weaknesses and lack of awareness among employees continue to be perilous gateways for attacks and malware.”

The relevance of cyber incidents is growing rapidly. According to a recent study, companies are assessing the risks of hacker attacks and privacy breaches as the greatest overall corporate risk for the first time ever.

“To be well prepared is key for surviving a crisis safely and without massive losses in value,” said Dr. Hubert Becker, Managing Partner at Instinctif Partners and responsible for its Cyber-Risk division. “About half of the managers in Germany do not systematically follow what is said about their company in social networks. But if you don’t know, you cannot react professionally either. Chaotic reactions then lead to unnecessarily long downtimes and to loss of trust among customers and business partners.”

Professional responses to cyber crises affect reputation, which is why robust defense and clear and transparent communication need to go hand in hand. This requires a concerted strategy from a legal and communications perspective. As an example, handling legal violations on social media platforms is an important interface. “Even if the culprits frequently remain anonymous, coordination with the platform operator provides the opportunity to take quick and lasting remedial action,” added Dr. Ruben Hofmann, Certified Specialist Lawyer for Intellectual Property at Heuking Kühn Lüer Wojtek.

The experts agree that the balancing of communicative and legal action always remains a question of the individual case. “Good coordination and practical experience will deliver convincing results,” Becker and Hofmann emphasized.

About Instinctif Partners

Instinctif Partners is a leading international and owner-managed communications consultancy for business, finance, and politics. We offer our clients reputation management as an integrated service for financial markets and investor relations, corporate communications and socio-political communication. Instinctif Partners employs some 300 people at 10 offices worldwide. In Germany we are represented with about 45 employees in Cologne, Frankfurt, Munich, and Berlin. In addition, Instinctif Partners operates own offices in major international economic centers, including London, Johannesburg, Dubai, and Brussels. www.instinctif.de // www.instinctif.com

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