Whether it’s the best marketing blogs to follow or how to make pancakes from scratch, chances are looking for life’s most pressing answers has led you to the crowdsourced question-and-answer site, Quora at one point or another.
This news has raised major concerns for personal users as well as marketers using the platform to promote their organizational and personal brands.
Quora whose mission is “to connect the people who have knowledge to the people who need it” discovered a breach in its systems this past Friday.
CEO Adam D'Angelo stated that “some user data was compromised by a third-party who gained unauthorized access to one of our systems."
The breach compromises user’s information including names, email addresses, and encrypted passwords as well as data from social networks like Facebook and Twitter, if you linked to your Quora account.
The hack also revealed detailed information about user’s Quora activity, including questions asked, answered, upvotes and downvotes. Fortunately, anonymously written questions and answers are not affected by this breach.
D’Angelo also claims that the breach is unlikely to result in identity theft since the site “doesn’t collect social security numbers or financial information,” but users are nevertheless concerned as this seems to be a recurring problem with online platforms.
In fact, this news comes only a few days after the reveal of the massive hack of the hotel chain Marriott, which compromised a potential 500 million guests, including hotel chains St. Regis, Westin, Sheraton, Aloft, Le Meridien, Four Points and W Hotels.
What Should You Do?
While they believe they have identifying the root cause, the investigation is still ongoing and “we’ll continue to make security improvements” says D’Angelo.
Quora is currently in the process of notifying compromised users, but recommends that it is “generally a best practice not to reuse the same password across multiple services, and we recommend that people change their passwords if they are doing so.”
If you are a user (both personally orprofessionally),change your passwords. While the breach may seem harmless at this time; you don’t want to take the risk of this opening the door to other accounts/databases you may be in.
(Note: Quora has also created an FAQ Page regarding more detailed information about the issue.)
If you're a marketer using the platform to market your business, there's a greater strategic lesson here as well.
This data breach is yet another reminder of the importance of data privacy and security.
Digital marketers like you are collecting user data every day and you need to take precautions to guard yourself against possible hacks.
Business is based on trust and if people do not feel like they can safely share their contact or demographic information with you, they are far less likely to work with you.