Ransomware attack takes out TV ratings

Mariam Cheik-Hussein
By Mariam Cheik-Hussein | 27 July 2020

The overnight TV ratings continue to be unavailable for the sixth day due to a ransomware attack on Nielsen.

Last Wednesday, Nielsen informed clients that an “unexpected disruption” meant overnight data would be delayed but confirmed households continued to collect viewing data and referencing sites hadn’t been impacted.

Since then, on Friday July 24 Nielsen reported that the delay was due to a ransomware attack but hasn’t given any additional details.

“As you are aware, Nielsen has experienced an unexpected disruption relating to the Australian TV Audience Measurement (TAM) data centre environment,” a spokesperson says.

“This disruption is derived from a ransomware attack in which Nielsen was the victim.

“As a result of Nielsen’s investigation to date, on Friday (24 July) we advised our clients that we are aiming to have TV Ratings data available by Wednesday, 29 July.”

Nielsen says its team is working to have the data released earlier.

The attack means that the ratings for Big Brother’s penultimate episode and season finale which aired last week haven’t been released, as well as Nine’s Australian Ninja Warrior season launch last night.

“In terms of the recovery plan, Nielsen’s top priorities are to ensure that the environment is safe and to restore and release the overnight ratings. This will be followed closely by releasing data for missing days,” Nielsen says.

“We appreciate the industry’s understanding during this unprecedented situation. We will remain as transparent as we can with new information as it becomes available.”

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