nhs ransdomware attack

In May, the National Health Service fell victim to one of the largest ransomware attacks in history.

Utilising advanced hacking techniques to infiltrate vulnerable areas of the NHS network, the WannaCry virus took complete control of the system causing a network shutdown.

The NHS currently relies on an outdated operating system (Windows XP) to run its computers. With this system no longer receiving security support from Microsoft, it opens up new opportunities for security threats to breach what was thought to be a secure network.

To stay ahead of these threats, organisations are expected to remain vigilant when implementing cybersecurity protocols; those who deal with extremely sensitive data should be particularly cautious .

Although it’s a common occurrence to see cyber attacks happen in a business environment, you should also be vigilant when browsing the web at home. Phishing is a tactic employed by hackers to access personal computer networks through links that look legitimate, but can, in fact, cause a machine shutdown, so we’d also advise you stay vigilant when browsing at home.

Why governments are turning to data

New research identified a quarter of government CIOs believe that a lack of digital skill is the main barrier preventing them from accomplishing their aims, and it is data science where these skills are lacking.

Throughout the research process, 377 government CIOs from 38 countries received questions about their use of modern technology, including budget allocation and where they see the potential for more implementation.

In response to these questions, 30% of officials reported that their organizations were vulnerable due to a lack of data analytics and data science skills.

The global urban population has increased by 54%, and this is expected to rise to 66% by 2050. For cities to successfully remain online, large amounts of data points and IOT technology will need to be incorporated.

Governments around the world are beginning to implement these systems, through the creation of data-driven smarter cities, and seek influence from big data to successfully develop their infrastructure and processes.

If you want to know more about how governments are using big data to solve problems, take a look here.

New technology that brings ‘Minority Report’ closer to reality

Pre-Crime, a new documentary showcasing how police forces are implementing big data procedures to track offenders who have yet to break the law, is due to be released later this year.

Modelled on Minority Report, the novel by Philip K Dick, and later the Hollywood movie starring Tom Cruise, the documentary offers real-life insight into arrests made before a crime is committed.

This crime prevention method allows police departments to join forces with private companies and use predictive analysis techniques and data algorithms to predict where illegal behaviour will occur and who is the likely perpetrator.

Read more on how these predictive analysis techniques are affecting police departments and the public here.

Retailers use big data to their advantage

Big data is making positive advancements in the retail industry, as four major retailers have begun to use it to their advantage.

Traditionally, retailers have been quick to come onboard with collecting and analysing customer information, but before the introduction of big data, the most efficient way for a customer to receive a personalised shopping experience was through loyalty schemes.

However, this is set to change as Costco, Target, The Weather Channel, and Red Roof Inn are putting their customers first with innovative experiences aimed at preventing illness, finding accommodation and providing products for pregnant women before they’ve given birth.

The future of self-driving cars relies on big data

Cars that work autonomously rely on information to help them communicate, whether that’s the vehicle location, speed, direction or braking status. The information is also used to identify other risks including traffic signals, distance to pedestrians and other dangerous items on the road.

Motor giants like Ford and Tesla have begun experimenting with big data to optimise customer experience and safety, with both actively using customers as test drivers.

Computing large amounts of data in real-time, self-driving cars can respond to risks or inform the car owner of impending mechanical issues. They aren’t however immune to errors caused by humans, including distracted driving, tired driving, or driving while under the influence.

These scenarios demonstrate how big data is fast becoming the foundation for the future of driverless cars, and has already proved essential in driving progress toward the capabilities of driver safety and increased customer experience.

Did we miss your top big data new story this month? Tell us in the comments below and don’t forget to sign up to the knowledge blog to receive regular updates from Churchill Frank.