Over the weekend, Channel Nine experienced a sophisticated cyber attack on its North Sydney headquarters, significantly disrupting programming.
The attack was ransomware, although Nine has not yet received a ransom demand.
In a note sent to all staff, Nine said that they had experienced a cyber attack that was disrupting their live broadcasts.
“As a result, we were unable to get Weekend Today to air this morning, however, have put several contingencies in place to ensure the NRL and our 6pm bulletins will proceed.”
According to the note, the attack primarily affected the broadcast and corporate business units, while the publishing and radio systems continued to be operational.
All employees – in all markets – have been asked to work from home.
Television, digital production, and website 9news.com.au were all affected for more than 24 hours.
Nine is currently working with the Australian Cyber Security Centre to fix the situation, though it could potentially take weeks to completely restore the network.
Today host Karl Stefanovic joked on Monday’s episode that the show’s technical issues were “caused by Vladimir [Putin].”
On Monday, Nine is set to air an episode of Under Investigation with Liz Hayes looking at Putin’s use of poison against political rivals.
The source of the attack is as yet unconfirmed, though according to the Sydney Morning Herald, sources close to Nine reported that external security experts said they had not seen an attack like this before in Australia.
They also said that the ransomware seems to have been “created by a state-based actor.”
Jacquelin Jayne, Security Awareness Advocate for KnowBe4 said that, “there is no security control in an organisation that is 100% effective all the time, as Channel 9 has learned.”
“That ‘silver bullet’ just does not exist, yet it is often an excuse to focus on recovery rather than prevention. That is a huge mistake and one that, now ransomware is often being used to exfiltrate and expose data, could be even more costly.”
She also said that COVID-19 was making ransomware attacks potentially worse than ever, and called for preventative measures.
Weekend Today present Richard Wilkins shared a picture of the show’s hosts in front of one of the affected screens on Twitter.
To continue Nine’s programming, producers have been flown from Sydney to Melbourne as operations are currently taking place from Victoria.
Featured Image: Twitter/Richard Wilkins
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