The Dropbox PR Fiasco - From Hero To Zero In 24 Hours

  • Author: Niall
  • Niall Harbison,

Dropbox are a company that have had non stop positive PR for the last couple of years as one of the best new services to launch and it's turned them in to a billion dollar + company with a huge future. They have managed to lose some of that amazing reputation in less than a day after a major security breach and their less than transparent approach to explaining the situation. For those of you who don't know what they do they essentially let you store and share files securely online. Cloud computing as it were and until now an excellent way of storing your important files online. Last night it was reported however on a couple of blogs that for 4 hours you could log in to Dropbox without any password and simply using an email address. Considering the types of confidential files (Business plans, accounts, private videos, company secrets, client files etc) that people store on Dropbox this security breach is massive and exposes some of the problems with cloud computing and storing your data online. A bigger worry though was the way in which Dropbox handled the PR around this...

Story Spreading Fast

The Story is appearing on all the major tech blogs and picking up momentum online. It was first picked up on the likes Techcrunch and TUAW and Wired and given just how many hacking incidents there have been of late this will get picked up by the bigger traditional press as well as the day goes on.

[caption id="attachment_21932" align="aligncenter" width="526" caption="The Story broke on Techcrunch first alerting users "]

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Customers Are Furious

There are already over 250 comments on the blog post on their blog and the comment below basically sets the tone for most of the comments on the blog post announcing the security breach. People are angry that they found out about the security breach on other blogs before Dropbox let them know and that paying users had not even been emailed to let them know what had happened.

[caption id="attachment_21923" align="aligncenter" width="506" caption="Commentors are not happy on thr Dropbox blog"]

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Bad News Spreads Faster Than Good

Dropbox has spent years building up it's good reputation and that is why they have 25 million customers but the online world is abuzz with this story and you only have to look at Twitter in real time to see how quickly a story can spread and influence people.

What Happens Now

If you are going to be storing your files online the only thing you care about is if they are safe are not. Dropbox have screwed up big time here but like all internet storms this will blow over by tomorrow. They might lose a small amount of their 25 million customers and this might influence new people signing up for a while but in the long run they will be fine. The one bog problem would be if it happened again because I think most people are willing to accept one accident but another security lapse and it could influence the whole future of the company. Dropbox are a great company so lets hope they learn from this and it never happens again.

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