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What Lowe’s and Florida Family Association Can Teach Us About Online Security

What Lowe’s and Florida Family Association Can Teach Us About Online Security

If you’re like me, you’ve been tracking the online furor surrounding Lowe’s.  To recap the story, Lowe’s pulled ads from TLC’s “All-American Muslim” last week after the Florida Family Association complained, stating that the show was “propaganda that riskily hides the Islamic agenda’s clear and present danger to American liberties and traditional values.”  Yikes!  The spokesperson for the group stated that the group took issue with the fact that the show did not include radical Muslims.  Admittedly, I have been watching the Cosby-esque reality show for the past few weeks and would have to agree that there are no dangerous, radical Muslims in the lineup of families.  Situations like this make me grateful that the Cosby show was not boycotted for not having Flava Flav– type characters included.

What does this have to do with your security?  I’m getting there.

This entire situation has ignited a firestorm on both Facebook and Twitter.  Several key business and political  figures have called for a boycott of Lowe’s, calling their behavior bigoted and un-American.  As with all passionate debates, there are always those on both sides who take things to a new level.

Here enters Anonymous C, a hacker that broke into FFA’s website and issued the following warning.

Florida Family Association feels the need to put hate at the forefront of what it stands for.

Your hatred, bigotry and fear mongering towards Gays, Lesbians and most recently
Muslim Americans has not gone unnoticed!

Anonymous will not stand for hate and divisive vitriol to be spread across our country and whenever we can…we will stop it…
FFA you managed to use your power to influence Lowe’s to follow you into your racist stupor and they too will answer for that…
For now, you will answer to it..as well as your unfortunate followers having personal information shared with the world so everyone can know how racist and hateful you all are.
I am going to assume most of the people who receive your newsletter, email you and make donations are potentially part of the 99%. They are likely lower middle class people who have been mislead by all of your bullshit and god talk…therefor they too are unwitting victims. So I will NOT share all of the Credit Card information I got.
I am though reading the emails and getting information on those who did donate to make sure they are not worthy of the scorn of Anonymous as well…if i find information such as anyone being a part of other hate groups such as the Klan or anything similar all bets are off for those people.
Also, I am looking for you Steve Ensley…and I will find you.

I want all of your followers to know though their information is NOT SAFE in your hands until you address your security issues.

To make matters worse, he posted a sample of his handicraft, which included the email addresses of a few contributors, partial credit card numbers and even password information for administrators.  Curious to see if this was indeed real, I Googled one email address that appeared to be that of a business and found the business name, owner and contact information of the person on a business website for certified disadvantaged business enterprises in Florida.  This is easily-accessible public information.  Double yikes!

All opinions aside, now all of the FFA supporters are in potential danger and at least one has put her business in harm’s way.  Protesters can easily access her information and add her business to the boycott.  While Lowe’s may be able to withstand the publicity, the average small business would not fare as well.

As a social media speaker, I’m often asked about social media and online security by conference attendees.  While giving your full birthday or posting sensitive information can cause problems, oftentimes it’s our involvement in organizations- universities, banks, causes, etc. that pose the bigger threat.  The Lowe’s and Florida Family Association situation underscores this point.

 

When supporting any cause, be very careful with the  information that you provide (I suggest a pre-paid card vs. credit or debit card) and do not use your business address, email or phone number in communications unless you want your business to be associated with the organization.

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