Major US Newspapers Disrupted By Malware Attack

Published on January 3, 2019

Several newspapers around the country were impacted by a malware attack this week that resulted in major printing delays. Some of the papers that were affected include the Los Angeles Times, The New York Daily News, and the Tribune Publishing network. Printing has since returned to normal operations and all newspaper outlets have been able to overcome the attack. The impact of the attack, however, still lingers.

The malware attack hit over the weekend. It directly impacted many computers within the newspaper networks and disrupted printing. This caused major delays over the next two days. If people received their papers at all, they were often delivered late. Fortunately, though, the attack appears to have only done damage to the physical printing process. Any sensitive or confidential information was spared from the impact of the malware attack, according to the Los Angeles Times.

What this means

For starters, it shows a special sort of irony that even print news can succumb to the wrath of a tech virus. Long term, though, it raises questions about the safety of information even in print. The Los Angeles Times released a statement about the attack, citing that an anonymous source led them to believe that it came from outside of the United States.

The Los Angeles Times reports that it first assumed the attack was a server outage on Saturday. ““We believe the intention of the attack was to disable infrastructure, more specifically servers, as opposed to looking to steal information,” said an anonymous source to the Los Angeles Times who was working closely with the situation.

All of the impacted organizations assured their subscribers that no personal data was impacted by the malware attack. However, it draws concern as to whether or not something more harmful could come in the future.

Newspapers have not said whether or not they suspect that the attack came from a foreign government despite saying that the attack came from a foreign source. The Times claimed that they believe that the goal of the attack was to stop newspaper production instead of obtain information.

How does a malware attack work?

A malware is a type of computer virus that automatically downloads onto a computer or server without the users permission. From there, it spreads itself to other computers through the network that the computer is already connected to. Malware can cause a variety of problems. Malware can do anything from harming software and computer systems to mining data or even exploiting money out of the user.

Data breaches like these can often be costly to fix once they’ve spread throughout a whole server. The surprising, yet concerning, part of this data breach is that it only impacted production. But does that mean someone is trying to send a message?


Julia Sachs is a former Managing Editor at Grit Daily. She covers technology, social media and disinformation. She is based in Utah and before the pandemic she liked to travel.

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