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The headquarters of the Sinclair Broadcast Group is shown April 3, 2018 in Hunt Valley, Maryland. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

Sinclair Broadcast Group, one of the country’s largest local broadcast companies, said Monday that it had fallen victim to a cyberattack that left some servers and workstations "encrypted with ransomware."

Why it matters: The incident comes just days after Cox Media Group, another local broadcast company, acknowledged a that cyberattack it experienced this past summer was ransomware.

  • The company hasn’t said that the attack was explicitly a ransomware attack, where a payment is demanded by the attacker, but alluded to it in its statement.

Details: Three sources at Sinclair confirmed to Axios that as of Sunday night they still didn’t have access to their corporate email and that systems were down, impacting operations at dozens of local TV stations across the country.

  • In a statement, the company said that “certain office and operational networks were disrupted. Data also was taken from the Company’s network.”

The big picture: Ransomware attacks have become more common as more people and companies invest in digital operations due to the pandemic.

  • Between 2019 and 2020, ransomware attacks rose by 62%, according to cyber security firm SonicWall.

What‘s next: Sinclair says a forensic investigation into the issue is ongoing and that it 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.“

Go deeper

Apparent spy campaign targeting defense and other sectors uncovered

A member of the Red Hacker Alliance group in Dongguan in China's southern Guangdong province. Photo: Nicolas Asfouri/AFP via Getty Images

Foreign hackers are suspected of compromising organizations in the technology, defense, healthcare, energy and education industries in the U.S. and other countries, cybersecurity firm Palo Alto Networks said late Sunday.

Why it matters: The National Security Agency contributed to Palo Alto Networks' report amid ongoing efforts to crack down on hackers who've been trying to steal critical data from targets including U.S. defense contractors, notes CNN, which first reported the breach.

U.S. sounds alarm on Ukraine

Conscripts line up at a Russian railway station yesterday before departing for Army service. Photo: Sergei Malgavko/TASS via Getty Images

The Biden administration is "deeply concerned" by new intelligence — detailed for Axios and other outlets — showing Russia stepping up preparations to invade Ukraine as soon as early 2022.

Why it matters: Most of this was known from public sources and satellite imagery, but the administration is sending a stronger signal by releasing specific details from the intelligence community.

Felix Salmon, author of Capital
54 mins ago - Economy & Business

Philanthropy in the age of crypto

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

The best charities are increasingly effective. That's the clear message sent by Open Philanthropy, the think tank that doubles as the grant-making vehicle for Facebook co-founder Dustin Moskovitz and his wife Cari Tuna.

Why it matters: With tech and crypto wealth becoming a fast-growing part of the philanthropic pie, there's more of an emphasis than ever on effectiveness — what the newly-divorced Melinda French Gates, in her recent Giving Pledge update, characterizes as giving as "impactfully as possible."