Feb 4 – News Corp., one of the largest media outlets in the US, recently disclosed that it has fallen victim to a cyber attack, which may have exposed sensitive data belonging to journalists. Expert investigators believe that the attack may have been the work of foreign adversaries.
What is News Corp.?
News Corp. owns a series of major media outlets, from the Wall Street Journal to the New York Post, to British outlets like The Times and The Sun.
The intrusion appears to have begun in February of 2020. “Scores of employees were impacted,” reports The Wall Street Journal. Cyber adversaries effectively gained access to reporters’ emails and Google Docs, including early drafts of articles, stated people familiar with the matter.
Preliminary information points to foreign government meddling in News Corp.’s cyber affairs. The attackers are believed to have been interested in intelligence collection.
Reports indicate that the incident has been contained. The company has provided guidance to affected journalists, who remain concerned about the exposure of their sources and protecting sources’ identities. News Corp. says that customer and financial data were not compromised.
News Corp. has notified law enforcement and is working with cyber security firm Mandiant for investigative support.
Journalists are perceived as high-value targets among hackers interested in intelligence collection on behalf of foreign nations. “Powerful surveillance tools have been used against journalists and human-rights activists,” the WSJ points out.
Previously, other major US-based news outlets have also experienced foreign cyber attacks. As Nicole Perlroth describes in her book, This is How They Tell me the World Ends, she and her colleagues once hid in a windowless closet within a news agency’s office buildings in order to avoid sophisticated foreign espionage attempts.
For more information about this emerging story, visit the Wall Street Journal.