Cyber attacks in digital marketing: What you need to know

November 22, 2022

Roxanne Denman

Marketing dedicates itself to fostering client relationships and partnerships and makes information accessible for brands to stand out. It is the vehicle that propels a brand image forward, conveys the tone, and highlights the company values.

Businesses rely on their marketing strategies, so if malicious activity and one single cyber-attack can destroy the structure with one swift move, it is worth dedicating some time to. Cyber-attacks are increasing in complexity across the globe. As a digital marketer, you might think that cybersecurity is an IT problem, but it’s everyone’s responsibility. And it can quickly become everyone’s burden too.

The recent pandemic increased the need for departments in every organisation to focus more on cybersecurity because people used more online technology to process day-to-day tasks. Elevated levels of online communication, and processing data, made us that much more vulnerable to a breach. If your business experiences a data breach, claiming ignorance won’t fix it. Even though cyber-attacks are increasingly prevalent, protecting your company from hackers and cyber criminals is not that difficult. So how do marketing companies and departments safeguard themselves?

Careers Dedicated to Cyber Attacks

The good news? There are many industry professionals ready to help you. If you want an in-house employee dedicated to protecting your data constantly, you can hire someone with experience and qualifications. If you have someone in IT who could include this in their daily work, send them on a course to sharpen their security skills. Excellent companies such as Capslock offer in-depth learning programmes to suit your cybersecurity needs.

How a Data Breach Can Affect Your Reputation

Think of everything that makes your company what it is today. The people, the processes, the technology, the relationships, and the branding. Everything that went into creating what your business represents today. Destroyed in an instant. Marketers should be transparent regarding how their company uses data and what procedures they have in place to protect their audience. A data breach is a PR crisis and can significantly damage your organisation’s image.

Digital Marketing Cyber Threats & How to Protect Yourself

1. Social Media

Social media profiles are a popular hacker target. The damage is proliferous – not only can they access private information, but they can also post offensive material visible to followers until you pay them to stop.

To prevent this, make sure your team uses a password manager. A password manager is a digital safe that encrypts and stores your logins and generates strong passwords. Educate your team on the dangers of unsolicited social media messages.

2. Domain

Domain-level faults in your security can leave you open to popular forms of attack. Attacks include DDoS and Cross-Site Scripting (XXS). These dangers increase when your website has multiple users, like consultants and freelancers.

Protecting your domain requires a cybersecurity expert. You may need help from an outside source, or your IT staff can put protective measures in place for cybersecurity across all the websites you own.

3. Email

Our trusty way of communication has hidden cyber-security danger lurking beneath its surface. We forget that the oldest digital communication platform is still the most dangerous. 91% of hacks start with email.

The two threats when it comes to email are phishing and encryption. Including an encryption strategy in your company and teaching your team how to recognise a phishing email will prevent successful cyber-attacks.

4. WordPress

WordPress is dominant in the CMS market, and cyber-related vulnerabilities continue to make headlines globally.

Keep your WordPress account safe against cyber threats and hackers by updating it regularly. Automatic updates ensure you receive timely security patches. Review the plugins and extensions you use regularly. Delete themes, extensions, and plugins you no longer use to extend your security.

5. Malware

The way hackers use malware is still mind-blowing. Modern malware has evolved that can record passwords and keystrokes while Ransomware encrypts your site's sensitive data, only decrypting it once a ransom payment is received.

Marketing teams are especially vulnerable due to constant and daily communication. Educate your team about what to click on and add antivirus extensions to all the software they use for work.

What we think

You can ignore the alarming statistics on the increasing complexity of cyber-attacks and hope you will never be affected. Or, you can build a bulletproof strategy to prevent hackers from coming within an inch of your data. The decision rests with you. You wouldn’t feel comfortable launching a Spring enrollment campaign without a strategy, here, the same logic applies.

When we look at this from an education marketing perspective, the first thing that comes to mind is our audience. Not only are we compelled to protect their data, but we also need to maintain a consistent level of transparency and authenticity, particularly when it comes to our Gen Z audience, who are more likely to appreciate this than its counterparts.

Marketing departments are one of the most affected entities that need to have cyber security in place. You can claim ignorance until something happens to you, but with one fell swoop, cybercriminals can destroy your reputation and brand trust leaving you to pick up the pieces. If the issue is salvageable, hopefully, you have enough funds to pay a ransom.

Putting a cyber-security system in place, teaching staff members how to reduce the risk, and sending employees for skill courses can stop a cyber threat from ever happening. We think protecting yourself from a cyber threat is one of the best ROIs ever - especially when you’re an education marketer.

Are you a marketer curious to learn about the aspects that affect our industry?

Or do you want to tap into our expertise to sharpen your tactics? Look no further than our free downloadable resources. We work hard to research our content - and offer it to you - free of charge.