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The Guardian confirms scope of ransomware attack

The Guardian Media Group has confirmed that it fell victim to a ransomware attack in December of last year.

user icon David Hollingworth
Thu, 12 Jan 2023
The Guardian confirms scope of ransomware attack
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In an email sent to staff on Wednesday (11 January) afternoon, Anna Bateson, the Guardian Media Group’s chief executive, and Katharine Viner, editor-in-chief, also confirmed that the data of some UK staff had been exposed in the attack.

“We believe this was a criminal ransomware attack, and not the specific targeting of the Guardian as a media organisation,” said Bateson and Viner in the letter.

The attack was a “highly sophisticated cyber attack involving unauthorised third-party access to parts of our network”, they said. It was also more than likely the result of a successful phishing attack.

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No reader information was compromised, however, and nor were any Australian or US staff affected.

“We have seen no evidence that any data has been exposed online thus far, and we continue to monitor this very closely,” said Bateson and Viner. The pair also confirmed that the incident had been reported to the UK’s Information Commissioner. Police have also been informed, though the identity of the attackers remains unknown.

Staff had been previously told to work from home until late January, but the new update directs staff — including in Australia — to remain at home until some point in February.

“As everyone knows, there has been a serious incident which has affected our IT network and systems in the last 24 hours,” Bateson and Viner said in the immediate aftermath of the 20 December attack.

At this stage, it looks like it will still be some weeks before all of the publisher’s systems are back online.

David Hollingworth

David Hollingworth

David Hollingworth has been writing about technology for over 20 years, and has worked for a range of print and online titles in his career. He is enjoying getting to grips with cyber security, especially when it lets him talk about Lego.

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