KMPH Fox 26 among TV channels hit by hackers

Some operations of Fresno’s FOX television subsidiary, KMPH Channel 26, and its parent company Sinclair Broadcast Group have been disrupted by a ransomware attack on their computer systems.

Justin Willis, host of the station’s Great Day morning show, took to Facebook on Tuesday to explain that the weekend’s attack by hackers on the station and Sinclair “kept us from logging into our systems that allow us to produce our news broadcasts when we normally would.

On Facebook and Twitter, the station acknowledged Monday that Sinclair’s systems had been hacked, reporting that “some servers and workstations in its environment were encrypted with ransomware and some office and operational networks were disrupted.”

Also on Monday, in a press release and in a filing with the United States Securities and Exchange Commission, Sinclair reported that the hack “has caused – and may continue to cause – disruption in parts of the business of the company “, including service to its advertisers.

The company statement added that “data was also pulled from the company network.”

Phone calls from The Bee could not be made to either the KMPH studio in Fresno or the Sinclair, MD headquarters because the company’s phone systems were down.

The station reported Tuesday that all Sinclair stations were operational, but that “some features, such as live online broadcasts, have been discontinued.”

Cybersecurity firm Recorded Future, in its online publication The Record, reported on Sunday that the attack “destroyed Sinclair’s internal network, mail servers, telephone services and broadcast systems. local television “.

Citing multiple sources, The Record reported that “due to the attack, many channels were unable to broadcast morning shows, news segments and scheduled NFL games, according to a deluge of tweets from viewers and the TV stations themselves. “

The Fresno station’s social media posts and company statements came after Sinclair said he identified “a potential security incident” on Saturday. On Sunday, it determined that some of its systems were affected by ransomware.

In early July, Sinclair alerted its stations to a “serious network security issue” and, according to the television industry website FTVLive, advised all of its stations to perform a reset of all systems. shared IT administration.

A “ransomware” attack is an attack in which hackers enter a computer system and encrypt files that exist on that system, rendering them unusable. The Federal Cyber ​​and Infrastructure Security Agency, or CISA, notes that hackers then demand payment, or ransom, to return the files or the computer system to their owners.

Hackers often threaten to dump data on the Internet if the ransom is not paid.

This story was originally published October 19, 2021 2:25 pm.

Tim Sheehan, a resident of Lifelong Valley, has worked as a reporter and editor in the area since 1986 and has worked for The Fresno Bee since 1998. He is currently The Bee’s data reporter and also covers the bullet train project in California and other transportation issues. He grew up in Madera, holds a journalism degree from Fresno State and an MA in Leadership Studies from Fresno Pacific University.
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