Yesterday, CNN reported that “. . . Internet users around the globe were facing slowed-down service thanks to what’s being called the biggest cyber attack in history.” Those of us involved in printing, and in direct marketing in particular, have faced the challenge for years about direct marketing mail campaigns creating unwanted “Junk Mail” clogging up both the personal and business communication system. However, in thinking back over 30+ years in the business, I cannot ever remember two service providers virtually going to war and creating a slowdown for the entire system, let alone on a world-wide scale. This seems to indicate an appalling lack of ethics and responsibility by the “new service providers.” We would not see this in the print/mail based environment. Additionally, it is another indicator of how broad an impact attacks on the Internet can have on our current electronic communications systems, instantaneously and with no warning.
Over the past several years as direct mail has struggled to compete with other direct marketing channels we have found again and again that targeted communication programs are one of its major strengths. Direct mailers need to reaffirm their position as responsible and focused business communication providers. The rare cases of problems connected with print and mail, such as security breaches, are limited and isolated incidents by comparison to electronic marketing channels, and are largely breakdowns in the system or process, not purposeful acts.
Finally I find it interesting that in reporting this incident there does not seem to be more of an outrage against the perpetrators. Every breach of security or privacy in the mailing industry seems to bring not only reporting but also an outcry for retribution and safeguards. The CNN article included this quote, “These things are essentially like nuclear bombs,” Matthew Prince, CloudFlare’s CEO, told the New York Times. “It’s so easy to cause so much damage.”
My questions are, how can we protect ourselves from this as citizens, and how can the print industry use it to market our industry’s advantages?
See more: Largest Cyber Attack in History