May 16, 2023 - Technology

Philadelphia Inquirer responding to cyberattack

Animated illustration of a pixelated newspaper icon being obscured by a falling metal garage door.

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

The Philadelphia Inquirer is actively responding to a cyberattack that affected print production, the media outlet confirmed to Axios.

What's happening: On Thursday, the daily newspaper discovered "anomalous activity on select computer systems," Inquirer publisher and CEO Lisa Hughes said in a statement Monday.

  • The targeted systems were immediately taken offline, and the Inquirer was unable to print its regular Sunday edition, the outlet reported over the weekend.
  • The Inquirer is now working with Kroll, a third-party cyber investigations firm, according to the statement. The FBI has also said it is aware of the incident.

What they're saying: "The security of our network and systems is a top priority," Hughes said in the statement.

  • "Based on the results of our investigation, we will take action as needed to help prevent a similar situation from occurring in the future."

Why it matters: Media organizations have long been a target for malicious hackers and ransomware gangs — and that threat could heat up as the 2024 U.S. election cycle ramps up.

  • The Guardian faced a ransomware attack in December that affected parts of its technology infrastructure but didn't disrupt print or online production.

Between the lines: The cyberattack comes as Philadelphia residents cast their ballots Tuesday in the Democratic primary in the mayoral race.

The intrigue: While the Inquirer hasn't said what kind of cyberattack it's facing, experts have noted that the details and response plan mirror those of other organizations that have responded to ransomware attacks.

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