Sinclair Stations Mostly Up and Running Following Ransomware Attack

By Kevin Eck 

Sinclair Broadcasting says its programming is mainly back online after last weekend’s ransomware attack disrupted some local news broadcasts, but is still working on bringing some systems back online.

The company, which owns, operates and or provides services to 185 television stations in 86 markets, told TVSpy that it still has teams working around the clock to restore operations that were disrupted in the attack. It also said it is focusing on bringing back systems in a secure way that “prioritizes critical business operations.”

“All of our stations and Regional Sports Networks (RSNs) are currently on the air and broadcasting,” Sinclair said in response to TVSpy’s questions. “While we are still working to return to our complete regular programming schedule and to resolve all programming issues that may arise, network and major sports programming has aired as scheduled, a large portion of other programming has and is airing as scheduled, and all our news stations are providing news programming to our viewers.”

Bloomberg is reporting the attack has been linked to what it called “one of the most infamous Russian cybergangs, called Evil Corp.”

The Sinclair hackers used malware called Macaw, a variant of ransomware known as WastedLocker. Both Macaw and WastedLocker were created by Evil Corp., according to the two people who spoke to Bloomberg anonymously to discuss confidential matters. Evil Corp. was sanctioned by the U.S. Treasury Department in 2019.

Here’s the full text of Sinclair’s statement:

Sinclair Broadcast Group continues to work diligently to restore the business operations that were disrupted by the recent cybersecurity incident. We are bringing the systems involved back online quickly and securely, and in a way that prioritizes critical business operations. All of our stations and Regional Sports Networks (RSNs) are currently on the air and broadcasting. While we are still working to return to our complete regular programming schedule and to resolve all programming issues that may arise, network and major sports programming has aired as scheduled, a large portion of other programming has and is airing as scheduled, and all our news stations are providing news programming to our viewers. Our teams are continuing to work around the clock to address this situation, and we appreciate our colleagues’ and viewers’ patience and support.”

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