US Media Group In Latest Ransom Attack

Live streams for radio and TV stations owned by the Cox Media Group, one of the largest media conglomerates in the US are the target of a ransomware attack.. The attack affected the internal networks and live streaming capabilities for Cox media properties, such as web streams and mobile apps.  Cox's official websites, telephone lines, and normal programming remained running, but some live programming could not go on air as scheduled.

Live streams for some of the TV stations affected have returned online, according to checks performed by Recorded Future, but most of the Cox radio streams were still offline the following day.

“This morning we were told to shut down everything and log out our emails to ensure nothing spread. According to my friends at affiliate stations, we shut things down in time to be safe and should be back up and running soon,” a Cox employee shared in a private conversation  on 3rd June.

In the aftermath of the incident, some radio and TV stations had to cancel live programming, according to tweets shared by some Cox program hosts earlier today. This is the second time a ransomware group has hit a major media conglomerate in the US. In September 2019, a ransomware gang hit CBS Entercom , the second-largest radio broadcasting network in the States, taking some radio stations offline.

Ransomware attacks have also temporarily took down some big TV channels like France’s TV5 Monde and US-based The Weather Channel in isolated attacks in 2019.

Cox employees were told to turn off station computers or laptops immediately and not to access their Cox email accounts, FTV Live reported, and they were told to delete tweets about the outages.The Cox Media Group owns a reported 57 radio and television stations across the States.  There is no indication of who is behind the alleged ransomware attack, nor what methods were used. 

The US Justice Department has now announced that it will begin elevating ransomware investigations to a similar level of priority as terrorist attacks. Internal US guidance has been sent to attorney's offices across the country about ransomware investigations and these should be centrally coordinated with a recently created task force in Washington.

Reuters:      Threatpost:      Apple Insider:      The Record:       The Hill:           The Hill:        

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