Threat Management

Stop the presses: cyberattack disrupts distribution of major newspapers

A cyberattack Saturday believed to have been launched by a foreign actor against Tribune Publishing disrupted the distribution of newspapers across the country, including The Los Angeles Times.

“We believe the intention of the attack was to disable infrastructure, more specifically servers, as opposed to looking to steal information,” the L.A. Times cited an anonymous source as saying. 

Tribune Publishing assured subscribers as well as online users and advertisers in a statement that their personal data wasn’t compromised.

“We apologize for any inconvenience and thank our readers and advertising partners for their patience as we investigate the situation,” the company said, though it did not provide any details on the attack, which affected such notable papers as the Chicago Tribune, the Baltimore Sun and the San Diego Union-Tribune aa well as the West Coast editions of the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal that are printed at the L.A. Times downtown Los Angeles printing plant. 

The Times said in a statement that it was “actively” working to fix the problem “and restore timely service to our customers.”

“While there’s plenty of speculation, there are relatively few facts available about this incident at the moment," said Tim Erlin, vice president of product management and strategy at Tripwire. “It’s unclear at this point whether this was a targeted or opportunistic attack. The impact to newspaper delivery could be collateral damage, or the intended result."

Erlin warned against "jumping to conclusions without sufficient information in hand," noting "the headline that grabs the most clicks may not be the most accurate.”  

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