ION embroiled in hacking incident

Shopping mall ION Orchard (ION) has been mired in a recent hacking incident.

Marketing understands that an “inauthentic” email blast was to sent to the mall’s loyalty members on 26 December 2015.

According to an ION spokesperson, an in-house tech specialist had discovered the security breach prompting an advisory email to loyalty members.  ION acted swiftly and began emailing its members on 27 December 2015 alerting them to the unauthorised email which offered download codes for “a free giveaway”.

The email reads:

Dear Member,

We would like to alert that an inauthentic email has been circulating around. This is to clarify that ION Orchard did not send out any email to download codes for free giveaway. We are looking into the matter and do apologize for any inconvenience caused.

Thank you.

Subsequently, it sent a second reminder email on 29 December 2015 to assure its members that its cyber security  had been restored.

(Read also: The real price of hacking for brands)

An investigation on the hacking incident is said to be underway. No personal details were shared and no data has been reportedly compromised, the ION spokesperson said.

ION has reached out to relevant authorities to report the matter. It has also conducted additional security updates to its Electronic Direct Mailer (EDM) system. ION declined to comment on the culprits behind the hacking and the number of those that had clicked on the false link.

The full email to members reads:

Dear Member,

ION Orchard is aware that an unauthorised email blast has been sent to members from our email server, offering download codes for a free giveaway. Please do not access the link. We offer our sincere apologies for any inconvenience caused by this incident.

ION Orchard takes a serious view of the matter and handles the privacy data of our loyalty members with the utmost care and security. We are investigating the incident and we have taken comprehensive steps to secure our eDM module. The findings to-date have not shown any unauthorized access to our loyalty database and our members' personal data. The safety of our members and their personal information remains an absolute priority and we are taking the necessary precautions to ensure that your personal data remains protected.

Yours sincerely,
The Management of ION Orchard

Cyber security under continuous threat?

Just last month, the Association of Banks in Singapore (ABS) issued an advisory on a specific malware that has been targeting mobile banking customers on the Android platform. The application prompts the customer to input confidential information, such as credit card details, which is then used to commit fraud.

(Read also: When hacking does your brand a favour)

In August 2015, hackers reportedly made millions off unpublished press releases. This was done by hacking the computer servers of at least two newswire services and stealing, confidential earnings information for numerous publicly-traded companies from press releases that had not yet been released to the public.

As digital marketing becomes a significant part of most brands’ marketing mix, security concerns has taken precedence to counter hacking. Similarly, failure to protect themselves can have potentially disastrous consequences.

(Read also: Hacking: The new world marketing threat )