The day the internet broke – and Flagship helped fix it

You may have noticed, for an hour the other week, the internet was down.

A simple tweet by the BBC Political Correspondent, Chris Mason “The http://gov.uk website is down, as is The Guardian and CNN”, alerted the team at Flagship to go to their battle stations, as this could have been the beginning of a significant cyber-attack.

When news breaks, there are just two rules for communication teams; add value and do it fast. We are lucky that several of our clients are genuine experts in cybersecurity, so we sent them the tweet and asked if they had any analysis to offer on the situation.

One of our experts is Professor Mark Rodbert, the Founder and CEO of cybersecurity firm Idax Software, and Visiting Professor in Computer Science at the University of York. After a few emails and phone calls, not only had the good Professor diagnosed what was going on but, together with Flagship, crafted a slick, easy to understand analysis and comment.

Mark explained (not only to us but to ITV as you’ll see in the link) that a firm called Fastly, which helps websites speed up loading times and present their content to users, went down. This meant that many major organisations, including that of the UK Government, the White House, Reddit, Amazon, BBC, Guardian and Financial Times, saw their websites go offline for around an hour.

Within that hour, Flagship worked with Mark and the Idax team to identify the problem, draft a comment and send it out to the media. He was among the first to explain what had happened.

By the end of the day, Idax and Professor Mark Rodbert were leading the news agenda. They had been covered by 72 publications, including every major national and most regional newspapers. What makes this more impressive is that Idax is a new voice to the media, having only recently joined Flagship as a client.

To top off a day of excellent coverage for Idax, Mark was invited to speak on the Eddie Mair Show on LBC Radio. This was his first broadcast interview, so Flagship ran a super quick media training season before the appearance. When an expert like Mark speaks, people listen, so Flagship’s job was to pass on a few tips and tricks to help the radio interview go smoothly, which it did. You can listen to it HERE.

Our work with Idax was done in conjunction with continued work with our other cybersecurity client, ESET. Within that hour of the outage, the Flagship team simultaneously managed to discuss, craft and send other expert comments to the media leading to national, regional and broadcast coverage both internationally and in the UK.