Amazon, the mammoth Internet retailer, is the victim of a hacking attack that resulted in the theft of customer user names, passwords and apparently credit card information. A group of hackers associated with the activist group called Anonymous has taken responsibility for the hacking and theft of customer data.

The hackers ended up posting all of the misappropriated customer information at a website called Ghostbin. The information was posted in the form of a truly massive text document. The information was posted on December 26, 2014, making it available to the public at large.

Amazon was not the only merchant targeted by the hackers. Other merchants that saw their customer data compromised include: Walmart, Xbox Live, Dell, PlayStation Network and even some pornography sites.

Public Relations Fallout

Amazon has taken a public relations hit as a result of the latest theft of customer data via organized hacking. Customers are expressing concern with the security of their financial and personal information when making purchases through the Amazon site.

The public relations fallout is not limited to buyers or shoppers. Amazon is also a venue at which people can sell their own products. These independent merchants who utilized the Amazon platform are also concerned about how this hacking and theft event will impact their own business endeavors.

In the final analysis, Amazon cannot drag its feet when it comes to addressing the PR fallout associated with the hacking and theft. The company must formulate a meaningful response promptly to minimize the damage to Amazon associated with this security breach.

Amazon Response: What the Company Must Do

Above all else, in response to the hacking and public relations crisis, Amazon must restore confidence in the security of its system. Again, this includes both restoring confidence among the huge number of consumers who shop at Amazon but also those individuals that use Amazon as a platform for marketing and selling their own merchandise and products.

As part of this effort, Amazon must put into motion changes in its security scheme to better ensure the protection of customer data. Whatever changes the company makes must be explained in an easily understandable manner to the public at large. Although it is unclear how many people are avoiding Amazon in the aftermath of this incident, there naturally are consumers who are making such a response. No matter the number, the company must better its system security and reassure the public quickly and effectively — and publicly.