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How a Cyberattack Can Cause Reputational Damage


Cutting-edge digital ecosystems enable enterprises to cater to various services in a fast and easy manner. However, as more customer data gets online, it lures cybercriminals. They hack into corporate systems and services, causing monetary, regulatory, and reputational damage.

According to cybersecurity experts, Indigo Books & Music Inc. suffered reputational damage when its website remained offline for over a fortnight. This article will discuss how cybercriminals attack online services for reputational damage. It will also discuss the case of Indigo Books & Music Inc. while offering preventive steps against cyberthreats and downtime.

How Do Cyberattacks Cause Reputational Damage?

Cybercriminals look for vulnerabilities in online services, platforms, and networks to breach them. Such cyberattacks and breaches often lead to reputational damage. Cybercriminals try to lure professionals and users with phishing and other social engineering attack techniques. They launch Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks on online services and servers to increase downtime with unsolicited data packets.

Stealing user data, infringing online privacy, or causing downtime to bring about financial loss cause reputational damage as users or customers lose faith in the organization.

According to the 2020 Ponemon report on third-party security, 63 percent of respondents stated that reputation is the most common reason for evaluating privacy and cybersecurity best practices. Enterprises relying on other organizations for protection must adhere to specific security and privacy practices with proper auditing after every 2-3 months. A reputation-damaging cyberattack will make customers hesitate to use the business's services. It causes a massive impact on revenue and overall business operation.

How did Indigo become a victim of a cyberattack?

Indigo Books & Music Inc's reputation was severely hit as the website went offline after a severe cyberattack. It was offline for over a week, and the attack dragged the business into a position where it could accept only cash in stores. The company announced the downtime and the hit on February 8, 2023.

The website was down until February 17. According to CTV news, after this tremendous lapse, "Shoppers can now use payment cards in store, but still can't process returns or exchanges while the website is fully offline and only shows the latest notification from the company." Their online service was not able to process gift cards or returns. According to service and online digital consulting expert Lisa Hutcheson, "There is going to be some fallout on reputation, but I think that can be offset by all the things that they did do right in terms of being transparent, they informed the customer quickly."

The company responded to customer queries through various platforms and social media company pages. According to the company's update, customer credit and debit card information was not compromised as it does not store full credit or debit card credentials in its systems. As per the latest report, after this cyberattack, Indigo Books & Music Inc. is working hard with third-party firms and internal security departments to investigate and resolve this cybersecurity incident.

According to Hutcheson's concern on reputational damage, "Customers do get a little nervous, regardless, so I think they will probably do some work to ensure that the customer is fully comfortable returning to the stores and on their website and making those purchases."

Ways to prevent cyberattacks on online services and websites

Reputational damage can have long-term financial implications besides distorting operational efficiency. Here are some ways enterprises can prevent reputation-damaging cyberattacks.

  • It is essential to perform penetration testing and frequent auditing of digital infrastructure to ensure that no security vulnerability remains in the network or enterprise infrastructure.

  • Enterprises should implement comprehensive, multi-layered, intelligent solutions like Web application firewalls, Identity and Access Management, network monitoring tools, and other ML-based security solutions.

  • Enterprises should invest in employee training programs to make them mindful of the latest cyberattacks and patterns that adversaries use.

  • Security measures like employee background checks and incidence response or recovery methods can help enterprises avoid reputational damage from cybercrimes.

  • Implementing multi-factor authentication and strong password policies is another effective way to prevent account breaching.

  • Enterprises should also leverage encryption for data at rest and in transit so that cybercriminals cannot read data even after a successful breach.

  • Load balancers, anti-DDoS solutions, and anti-malware can help prevent threats that distort business operations and increase service downtime.


Effective cybersecurity should be an agile practice every enterprise should hone to prevent reputational damage, customer data loss, or business downtime. Enterprises can also seek help from third-party cybersecurity firms like Packetlabs.

Our experts from different cybersecurity verticals provide robust guidance and measures against cyberattacks. Contact us to learn more about our services and how we can help strengthen your security posture. 

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