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| 1 minute read

British Library cyber breach: an intelligent response to an emotional attack

My excellent colleague in the UK, Clare Harman Clark, has drawn my attention to a really interesting piece in the Register on the British Library's (BL) communications response to last year's cyber security attack. 

As well as offering regular communications and updates, the BL also published a detailed report explaining what had gone wrong and what it intends to do differently in the future. 

The incident had a huge effect upon the BL, with most of its services unavailable to readers for some time, but its public and stakeholder engagement was rightly praised. I am not surprised to read that emotional intelligence was a driving force behind the thoughtful approach taken. 

Recently I wrote a piece for our regular publication Global Data Hub, looking specifically amount the emotional toll a cyber attack can take and about the vital importance of resilience in the face of often exhausting challenges. It is important to remember that while a security incident is emotionally and physically draining for those in the midst of the response, many others may be concerned about the security of their data. In the case of the British Library this worry was even more acute for individuals reliant upon its resources for their research or enjoying long-standing attachments to the organisation.

Many years ago I worked on my undergraduate thesis in the British Library and while I have no current need for its services, it pained me to hear that such an important academic and cultural institution had been crippled by cyber crime and I found its updates comforting and its subsequent report reassuring.  While few cyber crime victims will have as complex an array of stakeholders as the BL, many can learn from its transparent and engaged response with interested parties. 



I think it's probably fair to say early on it was all quite dry; rapidly we began to realize we had to be a little bit more emotionally intelligent than that. British Library CEO Roly Keating, addressing CyberUK 2024.


technology media & communications, data protection & cyber, cyber security & data breaches