Malware-based attack hit delivery chain of the major US newspapers

Pierluigi Paganini December 31, 2018

The LA Times revealed that a malware-based attack hits the delivery chain of the major US newspapers delaying the hardcopy distribution.

A malware-based attack originated outside the US hit US major US newspapers delaying their hardcopy distribution.

According to the LA Times, the attack was carried out on Saturday, it hit
a computer network at Tribune Publishing which is connected to the production and printing process of multiple major US newspapers. Initially, the experts assumed it was a server outage, but further investigation revealed the problems were caused by a malware infection.

“What first arose as a server outage was identified Saturday as a malware attack, which appears to have originated from outside the United States and hobbled computer systems and delayed weekend deliveries of the Los Angeles Times and other newspapers across the country.” reported the LA Times.

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

The delivery of the Saturday editions of the LA Times and San Diego Union Tribune was delayed due to the cyber attack,

Delays were also reported for the distribution of West Coast editions of the New York Times and Wall Street Journal, both printed at the printing plant of the LA Times.

US newspapers

At the time it is not possible to estimate how many subscribers were impacted by the cyber attack, but a majority of LA Times customers received their newspapers with several hours of delay.

“We believe the intention of the attack was to disable infrastructure, more specifically servers, as opposed to looking to steal information,” said the source, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to comment publicly. The source would not detail what evidence led the company to believe the breach came from overseas.

The paper cited officials as saying it was too soon to know whether it was carried out by state or non-state actors.

“We are aware of reports of a potential cyber incident effecting several news outlets, and are working with our government and industry partners to better understand the situation,” said Katie Waldman, a spokeswoman for the Department of Homeland Security.

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Pierluigi Paganini

(SecurityAffairs – US newspapers, malware)

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