Ransomware is the hottest new crime right now for people who can’t find a job in government, and another high-profile entity has just had their data handed to them. Wait, no, the opposite. Sinclair Broadcast Group, one of the major broadcast companies in the States, has come under attack by folks who have locked their systems up as tight as… well, as something really tight.
Sinclair’s cybersecurity sucks, apparently
The company was a little vague on what has happened but said that it first identified issues on 16 October. Subsequently, Sinclair noted that “…certain servers and workstations in its environment were encrypted with ransomware, and that certain office and operational networks were disrupted.”
An investigation is ongoing and the company has informed the relevant law enforcement and governmental agencies of the incident. No specifics were available as to what effect the ransomware attack will have on the company itself. Sinclair said that it “…cannot determine at this time whether or not such event will have a material impact on its business, operations or financial results.”
John Shier, Sophos senior security advisor, pointed out that ransomware is an epidemic that is on the rise. Sophos’ own State of Ransomware report claims that 32% of media, entertainment, and leisure organisations encountered a ransomware attack last year, and also says that the average ransom paid is $134,125 (which is a little under R2 million — not a bad payday for criminals).
“While unfortunate, it is not surprising that a large media company like Sinclair fell victim to such an attack. The attack prevented affiliates from broadcasting local content and news, potentially denying many viewers important and timely information. Continued vigilance remains a key priority for businesses of all sizes and in every industry,” Shier said.