Sinclair Broadcast Group, the local-news focused media giant that owns about 300 news and regional sports stations across the country, announced to the SEC in a filing on Monday that it was the victim of a ransomware attack over the weekend. In the filing, Sinclair stated that some of the servers in its network were encrypted by ransomware and that an unspecified amount of data was taken from its internal network. The attack also disrupted some of Sinclair’s regular services, like local news broadcasts and advertising. Sinclair reported that it was actively managing the situation and attempting to determine the full extent of the breach. It is unknown if Sinclair is considering paying or has paid any ransom to unencrypt its data.
If we didn’t have proof enough already, this latest ransomware incident shows the ever-increasing trend of such attacks and their pervasiveness on the corporate landscape for the foreseeable future. Like the recent Colonial Pipeline attack, ransomware attacks like these can and will target all forms of infrastructure – including media outlets like local television stations. Importantly, this situation also illustrates that ransomware does not just involve a ransom but often active data theft, even when money is paid and the data is released.
Sources: NPR and ABC News