Sinclair Broadcast Group, the parent company of dozens of news stations across the U.S., was hit by ransomware over the weekend.
Sinclair said in a news release Monday morning that hackers had used ransomware to encrypt some of its key operational servers, rendering them unusable, and stolen some data.
“[T]he event has caused — and 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,” the release said.
News of the attack was first reported by The Record, a media outlet owned by the cybersecurity firm Recorded Future.
Ransomware has become a lucrative tool for cybercriminals, who often remotely attack American companies and extort them for money. Most now choose to both lock up victims’ computers and steal their data, threatening to leak it if not paid.
Multiple servers and workstations were infected with the ransomware, Sinclair said.
Sinclair noticed the attack Friday. Ransomware hackers often launch their attacks at the beginnings of weekends in the hope that victims will be short-staffed.
Sinclair is the second parent network of TV stations to be hit with ransomware this year. In June, the Cox Media Group was also infected with ransomware, leaving a number of its stations unable to use their computers or phones for days.