Australia's Channel Nine Suffers Cyberattack, Disruption to Live Broadcasts

Channel Nine Australia
WILLIAM WEST/AFP via Getty Images

Local reports say the network suffered the largest hack on a media company in the country's history.

Australian broadcaster Channel Nine was the target of a cyberattack that saw the severe disruption of its live programming on Sunday, with the network now investigating whether the hack of its systems was "criminal sabotage or the work of a foreign nation."

Over the weekend, hackers were able to bring down Nine's news production and current affairs services across Australia for more than 24 hours, with the network's website also affected. Several shows suffered outages throughout Sunday, including the popular morning show Weekend Today. 

Local reports say Nine suffered the largest cyber attack on a media company in Australia's history. The BBC reports that Australia's parliament was also subject to a possible cyberattack on Sunday, although it is unclear if the two attacks are connected.

The cyberattack on Nine has been described as sophisticated and deliberately aimed at crippling the news division. The network said it was cooperating with the Australian Cyber Security Centre to investigate, but there are concerns that it may take weeks for production to return to normal.

In a news report on Nine's website, tech expert Fergus Hanson, of the Australian Strategic Policy Institute, said the nature of the hack pointed to a government being responsible for the incident.

The BBC reports that the Australian government, as well as several media groups and corporations from the country, have been the target of state-backed hackers in recent years, many of them linked to China. Relations between Australia and China are strained following a series of diplomatic spats.

Nine is part of Nine Entertainment Co., one of Australia's largest media groups that includes the newspapers The Age and the Sydney Morning Herald.