Cyber attack disrupts thousands of publications, including Gazette | Local News | #cybersecurity | #cyberattack

An outage that has prevented Denver Gazette and Colorado Springs Gazette subscribers from accessing the e-edition on their digital apps in recent days was linked late Friday to a cyber attack that blocked access to more than 7,000 publications worldwide, according to the newspaper’s e-edition provider.

Access to the Gazette’s Sunday e-edition has now been restored, and past editions that were disrupted will be restored over the next few days, PressReader said.

The global outage affected all of PressReader’s local, regional and international newspapers and magazines online, on mobile devices and in print, including publications like The New York Times, The Washington Post and the Houston Chronicle, according to the company. The outage included the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand.

In a statement, PressReader said a “cyber security incident has resulted in a widespread disruption to our services, including Branded Editions and PressReader. This situation comes as companies across North America have seen an increase in security incidents over the past several weeks.”

The PressReader cyber attack comes just after Russia invaded Ukraine last week. On Feb. 25, about five days before the outage, PressReader posted on Twitter: “In order to assist those in Ukraine with accessing up-to-date information, we are opening all PressReader content in the country without charge to individuals. PressReader will absorb the cost paid to publishers until further notice.”

The Gazette could not confirm the hacking was related to that decision. 

“This has been one of the most serious and troubling disruptions we’ve ever experienced,” said Chris Reen, president and CEO of the Gazettes’ parent company, Clarity Media. “We greatly appreciate our customers’ patience as we work with our technology partner to resolve this security breach.”

PressReader’s statement said that Wednesday night, “we identified some suspicious activity in our systems. As a precautionary measure we brought all Branded Editions sites and apps, as well as PressReader, offline for 24 hours while we commenced an investigation. We were able to restore many of our services by approximately 9 (p.m.) Thursday. Content processing continues to be a work in progress.”

“At this stage, we are continuing to restore internal systems and we do not see any evidence that Branded Editions data, including customer and transaction data, has been compromised,” said the statement, released by Steve Chapman, PressReader senior vice president for content partnerships.

Gazette readers may still experience periodic disruptions on their digital apps in coming days as Pressreader works to fully restore service after the cyber event.

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