At least two television news stations had their operations disrupted Thursday by what appeared to be a targeted ransomware attack, according to media reports.
The outlets WFTV in Orlando, Fla., and WPXI in Pittsburgh, both owned by Cox Media Group, which owns TV and radio stations in multiple media markets, were offline Thursday, NBC News reported.
“This morning we were told to shut down everything and log out our emails to ensure nothing spread. According to my friends at affiliate stations, we shut things down in time to be safe and should be back up and running soon,” a Cox employee said, according to The Record, a company security website.
Employees were also told to delete any tweets about the outages, FTV Live reported.
Managers at the Orlando station asked employees not to come to the station on Thursday and again Friday, according to the NBC report. In Pittsburgh, IT staffers were shutting down computers Thursday morning, it said.
Cox Media did not respond to a Fox News inquiry.
Several industries have been targeted by cyberattacks in recent weeks. In May, Russian hackers temporarily shut down the Colonial Pipeline, causing fuel shortages across the East Coast. The company paid the hackers more than $4 million as part of a ransom demand.
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On Wednesday, the Massachusetts Steamship Authority, which operates ferry service to Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket, announced it had been the target of a ransomware attack.
Meat producer JBS USA, shut down its American beef plants following an “organized cybersecurity attack” this week.
In response, the Justice Department said it will elevate investigations surrounding ransomware attacks to be on par with terrorism probes.