A suspected malware attack affected major U.S. newspapers over the weekend.
In what was initially thought to be a server outage, the attack delayed distribution of Saturday’s Los Angeles Times and San Diego Union-Tribune, according to the Times.
On Saturday afternoon, the company suspected that the attack had originated from outside of the U.S., but didn’t reveal any further detail about its origins or what evidence led to the belief it came from overseas.
“We believe the intention of the attack was to disable infrastructure, more specifically servers, as opposed to looking to steal information,” a source told the Times.
The attack also affected Tribune Publishing properties, who owned the Los Angeles Timesand San Diego Union Tribune until June, when it was sold to biotech investor Patrick Soon-Shiong.
The Chicago Tribune said its print edition was published without paid death notices and classified ads, while other Tribune newspapers had a slimmed down version of the Saturday edition delivered on a Sunday.
A Tribune Publishing Company spokesperson said that “there is no evidence that customer credit card information or personally identifiable information has been compromised.”
A disruption to our print production systems caused delays in the delivery of some of our newspapers Saturday. We apologize to all of our readers for the inconvenience. https://t.co/KmVYE7FpNu
— Tribune Publishing Company (@tribpub) December 30, 2018
A Department of Homeland Security spokesperson told Reuters it had knowledge of the situation.
“We are aware of reports of a potential cyber incident affecting several news outlets, and are working with our government and industry partners to better understand the situation,” DHS spokesperson Katie Waldman in a statement.
Malware attacks have become increasingly common among companies, crippling infrastructure and in one Alaskan case earlier this year, forcing employees to go back to typewriters and hand-write receipts.