Sunday, November 28, 2021
Nov. 28, 2021

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KEPR TV news broadcasts in Tri-Cities knocked off air by ransomware cyberattack


Pasco-based KEPR TV posted on Facebook about 6:30 p.m. Sunday night that it was having “technical difficulties and is not able to air our regularly scheduled newscast on KEPR.”

The CBC-affiliated news station continued to have troubles Monday.

Tom Yazwinski, KEPR’s news director, told the Herald he had no specifics on the problems. “I know we have technical difficulties and we’re working through them,” he said.

Sinclair said in a news release Monday that hackers used ransomware to encrypt some of its key operational servers, rendering them unusable, and stole some data, NBC news reported.

“(T)he event has caused — and may continue to cause — disruption to parts of the Company’s business, including certain aspects of its provision of local advertisements by its local broadcast stations on behalf of its customers,” said Sinclair’s news release

The Maryland-based company “disclosed the breach in a Securities and Exchange Commission filing after the Record, an online publication owned by the cybersecurity firm Recorded Future, reported that a number of its 185 television stations had been affected,” said the Washington Post.

Cybercriminals use ransomware to remotely attack companies and extort them for money. They often lock the company’s computers, steal data and threaten to leak information if they are not paid.

Sinclair reported that its computer servers and workstations were infected in the attack and that they are “working diligently to restore operations quickly and securely.”

“Legal counsel, a cybersecurity forensic firm, and other incident response professionals were engaged. The Company also notified law enforcement and other governmental agencies. The forensic investigation remains ongoing,” said a release.

Another parent network of news stations was hit with ransomware in June, when the Cox Media Group was infected and its news stations weren’t able use their computers and telephones for several days.