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Controversial TV station owner Sinclair Broadcast Group struck by ransomware

The local TV chain, known for its conservative viewpoints, says its systems have been infected with ransomware.

Controversial TV station owner Sinclair Broadcast Group struck by ransomware
[Source Images: stockforliving/iStock]

Sinclair Broadcast Group, which owns and operates local TV stations across the country, said Monday it had discovered over the weekend that some of its systems were “encrypted with ransomware.”

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Some data was also taken from the company’s network, according to the statement. Sinclair continues to work to restore its systems and investigate the scope of the attack and says some of its operations, “including certain aspects of its provision of local advertisements by its local broadcast stations on behalf of its customers,” are still being affected.

The company says it owns, operates, or provides services to 185 TV stations across 86 markets. It’s faced criticism and mockery over the years for the conservative viewpoint it brings to local news, including sometimes requiring local broadcasters across the country to read scripted editorials espousing a particular viewpoint. One such script notoriously called upon anchors across the country to denounce “biased and fake news” at other outlets.

In its statement, Sinclair said it’s too soon to say if the ransomware attack will have “a material impact on its business, operations or financial results.”

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Ransomware, which typically encrypts data unless a ransom is paid in cryptocurrency, has caused disruptions across a wide variety of sectors in recent years, including shutting down municipal services in various cities, disrupting a major fuel pipeline leading to panicked buying and gasoline shortages, and impacting services at multiple container shipping companies.

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About the author

Steven Melendez is an independent journalist living in New Orleans.

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