Cyber-Attack on US TV Broadcaster


American media company Sinclair Broadcast Group is in the grips of a ransomware attack.

The Baltimore-based company, which operates and/or provides services to 185 television stations in 86 markets, became aware of a potential security incident on Saturday and launched an investigation. 

In a statement released Monday, the group said: “On October 17, 2021, the Company [Sinclair Broadcast Group] identified that certain servers and workstations in its environment were encrypted with ransomware, and that certain office and operational networks were disrupted.”

Sinclair Broadcast Group said that the unknown attacker(s) took data from its company network. It is not yet known whether any sensitive information was among the data stolen during the attack.

“The Company is working to determine what information the data contained and will take other actions as appropriate based on its review,” said Sinclair Broadcast Group.

In response to the event, the group implemented its incident response plan and took measures to contain the incident.

“Legal counsel, a cybersecurity forensic firm, and other incident response professionals were engaged. The Company also notified law enforcement and other governmental agencies,” said Sinclair Broadcast Group. 

As the forensic investigation into the attack continues, operations at the company remain strange.

The group warned that “the event has caused – and may continue to cause – disruption to parts of the Company’s business, including certain aspects of its provision of local advertisements by its local broadcast stations on behalf of its customers.”

The company added that it is “working diligently to restore operations quickly and securely” and that it will “look for opportunities to enhance its existing security measures.”

The impact of the attack is reportedly being felt far away from the company’s headquarters in Maryland. Kristin Bien, a weekend anchor at Sinclair-owned WSBT 22 in Indiana, tweeted on Sunday: “We don’t have access to our company emails or anything that requires a company login.”

Meanwhile, Nashville, Tennessee’s WZTV uploaded a statement to its website on Monday about “serious technical issues” impacting its ability to stream content.

“We are also currently unable to access our email and your phone calls to the station,” the statement read.

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