Australian Public Broadcaster Affected by Cyber Attack

Hollywood Hack Day - H 2013
Spencer Allen

Hollywood Hack Day - H 2013

The broadcaster's 24-hour news channel ABC News 24 had to move to pre-recorded programming after emails affected its TV studios

ABC News 24, the 24-hour news channel of Australian public broadcaster ABC, was affected by a cyber attack, which had a temporary impact on the ABC TV studios in Sydney.

The attack, in the form of a fake email, which contained crypto-ransomware if an attachment is opened, targeted the Australian postal service's computer systems and subsequently spread to ABC and other major Australian organizations, forcing the national broadcaster to air pre-recorded programming for half an hour from 9.30 a.m. local time. It resumed its live news programs at 10 a.m. local time.

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According to the ABC statement an "IT security issue" affected ABC News 24 programming, but local news reports soon detailed the cyber attack. "There was an IT security issue this morning which affected some of the ABC's broadcasting systems and created technical difficulties for ABC News 24," the ABC said in the statement. "As a result, we broadcast stand-by programming from 9:30 a.m. before resuming live news broadcasts from Melbourne at 10:00 a.m. We are now operating normally."

The broadcaster didn't disclose further details. The hacking attack, which according to Australian reports originated in Russia, used fake emails containing a link, which downloads malicious software onto a user's computer.