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Computer virus disrupts production of newspapers

31 December 2018

San Diego Union-Tribune Publisher Jeff Light described the incident as "what now seems to have been a malicious attack on the company by computer hackers" in a message posted to the newspaper's website.

"We believe the intention of the attack was to disable infrastructure, more specifically servers, as opposed to looking to steal information", a source told the Times.

Tribune Publishing said in a statement on Saturday that "the personal data of our subscribers, online users, and advertising clients has not been compromised".

In an internal memo, Tribune CEO Justin Dearborn said "workarounds" were created in order to print the affected papers' Saturday editions.

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A computer virus hit newspaper printing plants in Chicago, Los Angeles, and at Tribune Publishing newspapers across the country.

Formerly known as Tronc, Tribune Publishing also owns the South Florida Sun Sentinel, Orlando Sebtinel, The Baltimore Sun; Hartford Courant; the New York Daily News; the Capital Gazette in Annapolis, Md.; The Morning Call in Allentown, Pa.; the Daily Press in Newport News, Va.; and The Virginian-Pilot in Norfolk, Va. Tribune also products suburban newspapers in its markets.

"We apologize to our customers for this inconvenience", the L.A. Times said in a statement published in an article about the malware.

The Los Angeles Times reported the attack appears to be in the form of "Ryuk" ransomware, which are "highly targeted, well-resourced and planned", according to an August advisory by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' cybersecurity program. "News and all of our regular features are available online". The technology housed at the Los Angeles Times has been able to make some major strides in fixing the problem as it now stands. Those newspapers were delivered on Sunday, the company said.

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The attack seemed to have begun late on Thursday night and by Friday had spread to crucial areas needed to publish the paper.

Teams had tried to quarantine the malware, but it apparently "reinfected" systems linked to news production and printing.

"We are trying to do work-arounds so we can get pages out. That's the bottleneck." Mr Robidoux said. Inc., said it was also affected.

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Computer virus disrupts production of newspapers