Cyber-attack disrupts distribution of multiple US newspapers

Cyber-attack disrupts distribution of multiple US newspapers

A cyberattack which appeared to originate from overseas disrupted the publication and distribution of numerous newspapers in the United States, papers hit by the malware said.

The attack came from a "foreign entity" aiming to "disable infrastructure, more specifically servers", rather than steal the data, the paper's source explained.

The attack led to distribution delays in the Saturday edition of The Times, The San Diego Union-Tribune, The Chicago Tribune, Baltimore Sun and several other major newspapers that operate on a shared production platform.

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In a note posted on the Union-Tribune's website, Light described a computer virus that affected the computer systems for Tribune Publishing, the media company that used to own the Union-Tribune and now owns multiple newspapers including the Chicago Tribune, The Baltimore Sun and the Orlando Sentinel. "We have had big issues with delivery today and we apologize".

However, Tribune Publishing's website was not affected and no customer information was compromised, according to the statement issued by the company on Saturday.

The San Diego Union-Tribune was unable to make Saturday delivery of its print addition, and the Southern California editions of the Wall Street Journal and The New York Times were affected as well. The papers had previously been part of Tronc, the previous name of Tribune Publishing.

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Forbes reports that the malware Tribune Publishing discovered was a version of the Ryuk ransomware family, which is often attributed to the Lazarus Group. Light wrote that systems still used through the paper's former owner, Tribune Publishing, had been compromised by the virus Thursday night and spread to critical systems by Friday. "Thank you for your patience and support as we respond to this ongoing matter", The Times said in a statement.

The problem caused widespread confusion, the paper noted, because subscribers who called the newspaper's offices on Saturday morning were "told, incorrectly, that the numbers were not in service".

The company said it first detected the malware on Friday, which hit papers sharing the same printing plant.

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A Tribune Publishing spokesperson didn't confirm the ransomware infection, but did say the incident was caused by "malware".

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