FBI Investigating Ransomware Attack That Took Live Broadcast Offline

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The Weather Channel went offline for more than an hour after its systems were locked by malware

The FBI has said it is investigating a ransomware attack that took a live television broadcast offline for more than an hour late last week.

The Weather Channel was broadcasting live at around 6 a.m. local time last Thursday when the program went off the air, to be replaced by recorded programming.

Live programming didn’t resume for some 90 minutes.

The Atlanta-based broadcaster later said it had been hit by a “malicious software attack” and had been forced offline while IT staff restored systems from backups.

ransomwareSystems locked

Local news media reported the issue was caused by a ransomware attack on the broadcaster’s Atlanta headquarters, something confirmed by a Wall Street Journal report on Friday.

The FBI told the Journal it was investigating the attack as a ransomware incident.

The Weather Channel declined to provide more details.

Ransomware, which often spreads indiscriminately via malicious email attachments, is designed to render systems inaccessible, with the attackers charging a fee for restoring them.

The city of Atlanta is no stranger to major ransomware attacks, with many of the city’s public services, including municipal courts, having been paralysed for weeks following such an incident in March of last year.

The worldwide WannaCry ransomware attack, which disrupted NHS services, is thought by some authorities to have originated in North Korea.

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