Data Dive: The Impact of NHS Cyber-Attack
As the world continues to shift to digital the threat of cyber-attacks from malicious software get stronger by the day.
Businesses worldwide were recently hit with a large-scale cyber-attack dubbed “WannaCry”. The ‘ransomware’ caused absolute chaos globally. Once WannaCry took over the user’s PC, those affected were told they had 3 days to cough up bitcoins to retrieve their now inaccessible files… or they will be deleted forever.
National Health Service (NHS) hospitals across the UK in particular took a bashing from WannaCry. Some couldn’t access patient data, and other had to cancel operations and divert ambulances.
In this post we’ll be looking at the impact of the digital response to the WannaCry crisis and suggest the best response PR professionals should take if ever they land themselves in “worse case” scenarios.
Using social media monitoring to understand the impact
Using Meltwater’s media monitoring tool, we were able to search and listen for the term “NHS” and ‘national health service’ alongside keywords related to the WannaCry ransomware.
Number of online news mentions of the NHS and the recent cyber-attack (12/05/17-22/05/17)
Number of social mentions of the NHS and the recent cyber-attack (12/05/17-22/05/17)
In the 10 days following the news of the virus there was thousands of mentions both on social media and in the online news. 118,861 total mentions. That’s an awful lot over 10 days!
Media Monitoring: analyse media exposure
Here we can see the huge spike in both news and social coverage. The National Health Service, alongside computer virus related keywords coverage skyrocketed overnight. We saw coverage surge from only 108 mentions the day before the malware, to 28.35k social media posts when it first hit.
It’s not surprising that such an incident generated so much coverage, however by using our media monitoring platform we found out some surprising insights from the analysis too!
Media Monitoring: Analyse trending themes, sentiment and location of posters.
Here’s the dashboard we quickly created using our tool
Posts with the highest potential reach
- Top Reaching Article: 71 million- ‘NHS hospitals in England hit by widespread ransomware attack’
- Top Reaching Facebook post: 42 million- ‘The cyber attack that paralyses computer systems belonging to the NHS and many organisations around the biggest of its kind’ –
- Top Reaching Tweet: 32 million- NHS services across England hit by IT failure, believed to be caused by a large-scale cyber attack
Which countries talked about NHS cyber-attack?
- UK: 18,019 news mentions
- USA: 19,943 news mentions
- France: 1501 news mentions (even when we only searched in English)
- India: 1411 news mentions
- Australia: 1156 news mentions
Word cloud of internationally trending themes
Wordcloud with trending themes in the US.
Why did America write so many articles mentioning the NHS and the ransomware?
Based on the trending themes of coverage across America, articles focused on preventing being infected by ransomware, speculation of who might be behind it and the worldwide impact of the virus.
Sentiment of coverage:
Posts mentioning ‘NHS’ or ‘national health service’ on day of crisis.
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