The known spam operator, River City Media, was recently the target of a data breach that resulted in the theft of hundreds of thousands of e-mail addresses and other details that severely hindered some of their operations. As a result, they appear to have switched a number of aliases and retooled their use of social media in an attempt to mitigate any future exposure to such an attack. This incident is being called “Spammergate.”

The main takeaway from Spammergate is that, in a cloud-based environment where infrastructure is so distributed and the channels of communication so broad, the compromise of information is bound to happen.

When you outsource operations to third-party contractors, you lose control of the quality and are no longer able to ensure security, even though your clients’ security may in the end be your responsibility. At the end of the day, delegating work involves tradeoffs, and the potential consequences of those tradeoffs must be considered when dealing with a logistical pipeline as complex as advertising or information assurance.

As a result of this recent data breach, River City Media’s web operations seem to have been taken offline by their hosting service provider, TierPoint Inc. However, it is important to remember that RCM is still a victim of unethical hacking, and as a moral of the story, you should always consider the area of your operations footprint and how information bottleneck my adversely impact your operations.