“Ransomware” Demanded $500 From Broadcaster
We told you earlier about a “ransomware” attack on a small-market
Louisiana radio station.
Now we learn it was Stannard
Broadcasting in Leesville that was attacked. Not one but all three of its
stations were affected; they are KVVP(FM) “Today’s
Country 105.7” as well as KROK(FM) and KUMX(FM).
three stations are all back on the air, but problems persist.
“Stannard Broadcasting Inc. is working to
correct problems associated with a virus that affected its data server,” the
company said in a statement. A Trojan virus had been executed on a computer in
the station’s network on Oct. 16 that encrypted the station’s database audio
files in the server.
“Along with the virus came a text
note offering a key word to unlock the virus in exchange for $500 in Bitcoin,
an Internet currency,” it said.
The broadcaster did not
pay any ransom, Radio World has confirmed; instead it reported the attack to local law authorities and
went about working to get back on the air. The company said it will have to buy
some new equipment and that “further measures will also be taken to secure data.”
News Director Elona Weston tells Radio World that the
station’s small staff worked through the weekend dealing with the consequences
of this attack. “It was mayhem for a little bit,” she said, with a substantial
amount of audio data missing or inaccessible. Complicating things, one of the
stations has been in the process of installing a new transmitter.
Radio World reported yesterday that the station’s automation
vendor believes this attack was by the CryptoWall virus, though this hasn’t
Doug Stannard is the general manager. “Two
stations have had their music library compromised in that there is still
missing audio and all the data strings are not complete,” he wrote to Radio
World in a followup email today. “Each day there are more elements compromised. Each
day there are additional files tapped by the hackers. So, each day is a new set
He said the data that’s been restored lacks
normalization and some data headers, “but all three stations remain on the air
while staff is busy remedying other problems.”
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