US Newspapers Hit By Cyber-Attack

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Printing and distribution of major US newspapers disrupted at the weekend after cyber-attack

The reach of cyber-attackers into everyday life was demonstrated in the United States this past weekend after an online attack against major US newspapers.

The cyber attack caused major printing and delivery disruptions on Saturday at the Los Angeles Times and other US newspapers including the West Coast editions of the Wall Street Journal and New York Times.

Printing and distribution of these newspapers were impacted after a malware attack on the computer systems of the Tribune Publishing’s network.

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Tribune disruption

According to the Los Angeles Times a server outage was identified on Saturday as a malware attack, and that appeared to have “originated from outside the United States.”

“Technology teams worked feverishly to quarantine the computer virus, but it spread through Tribune Publishing’s network and reinfected systems crucial to the news production and printing process,” said the LA Times.

“Multiple newspapers around the country were affected because they share a production platform,” it added.

The attack reportedly delayed distribution of the Saturday editions of the Los Angeles Times and San Diego Union Tribune.

It also impacted the distribution of the West Coast editions of the Wall Street Journal and New York Times, which are printed at the LA Times’ Olympic printing plant in downtown Los Angeles.

“We believe the intention of the attack was to disable infrastructure, more specifically servers, as opposed to looking to steal information,” the LA Times quoted a source as saying.

The source would not detail what evidence led the company to believe the breach came from overseas.

Tribune Publishing later said on Saturday that “the personal data of our subscribers, online users, and advertising clients has not been compromised. We apologize for any inconvenience and thank our readers and advertising partners for their patience as we investigate the situation.”

Newspaper attacks

This is not the first time that newspapers and indeed Tribune has been subject to cyber-attack.

In April 2016 journalist Matthew Keys was sentenced to two years in prison, after he was convicted of helping the Anonymous hacking collective gain access to the computer systems of Tribune Media.

Prior to that the Syrian Electronic Army (SEA), the Syrian and pro-Assad hacking collective, compromised the websites of a number of Western media companies, as well as a number of other targets.

The SEA hack affected the websites of the Independent, the Daily Telegraph, OK magazine, the London Evening Standard, as well as the New York Daily News and a number of other western media companies.

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Author: Tom Jowitt
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