I want to try something new here - bear with me here:
Data breach processing is hard and the hardest part of all is getting in touch with organisations and disclosing the incident before I load anything into Have I Been Pwned (HIBP). It's also something I do almost entirely in isolation, sitting here on my own trying to put the pieces together to work out what happened. I don't want to just chuck data into HIBP and the first an organisation knows about it is angry customers smashing out their inbox, there's got to be a reasonable attempt from my side to get in touch, disclose and then coordinate on communication to impacted parties and the public at large. Very frequently, I end up reaching out publicly and asking for a security contact at the impacted company. I dislike doing this because it's a very public broadcast that regular followers easily read between the lines of and draw precisely the correct conclusion before the organisation has had a chance to respond. And the vast majority of the time, nobody has a contact anyway but a small handful of people trawl through the site and find obscure email addresses or look up employees on LinkedIn or similar. There has to be a better way.
Yesterday, I posted this tweet:
After I shared this, multiple people said "ah, but at least we have GDPR", as though that somehow fixes the problem. No, it doesn't, at least not in any absolute sense. Case in point: I'm now going through the disclosure process after someone sent me data from a company HQ'd well… https://t.co/yMYIlFXkCU— Troy Hunt (@troyhunt) April 18, 2023
And around the same time I got to thinking about Twitter Subscriptions as a channel for communication with a much more carefully curated subset of the 214k people that follow my public feed. Tweets within a subscription are visible only to subscribers so the public broadcast problem goes away. (Of course, you'd always work on the assumption that a subscriber could take a tweet and share it more broadly, but the intention is to make content visible to a much smaller, more dedicated audience.) Issues around where to find contact details, verification of the breach, what's in it or all sorts of other discussions I'd rather not have with the masses prior to loading into HIBP can be had with a much more curated audience.
I don't know how well this will work and it's something I've come up with on a whim (hey, I'm nothing if not honest about it!) But that's also how HIBP started and sometimes the best ideas just emerge out of gut feel. So, I set up the subscription and of the 3 pricing options Twitter suggested ($3, $5 or $10 per month), I went middle of the road and made it 5 bucks (that's American bucks, YMMV). You can sign up directly from the big "Subscribe" button on my Twitter profile or follow the link behind this text. Just one suggestion from Twitter's "welcome on board" email if you do:
Encourage your followers to Subscribe on the web. Web Subscriptions go through Stripe, which takes a 3% fee from each purchase, compared to the 30% fee that Apple and Google currently take. Meaning web Subscriptions may potentially lead to more money in your pocket.
My hope is that this subscription helps me have much more candid discussions about data breaches with people that are invested in following them than the masses that see my other tweets. I also hope it helps me go through this process feeling a little less isolated from the world and with the support of some of the great people I regularly engage with more publicly. If that's you, then give it a go and if it isn't floating your boat, cancel the subscription. I think there's something in this and I'd appreciate all the support I can get to help make it a worthwhile exercise.