A new cyber-attack took place targeting popular news agencies. The New York Post along with the Wall Street Journal were both targeted in the latest attack. The attack affected some employees but no customer data was breached. The US blamed the attacks on China and said that this was an intelligence gathering operation.
According to reports, threat actors targeted the media giant 'News Corp'. The company owns many popular American and even UK news outlets. According to them the attackers accessed email addresses belonging to a number of journalists. According to the company, the situation was quickly brought under control. The news agency also asked Mandiant for help.
The authorities were immediately notified and an investigation was quickly launched. Kline and O’Brien, the CFO of the company made a statement on the situation. He stated “We will not tolerate attacks on our journalism". He also noted that such attacks will not deter them from reporting.
In an email sent to staff, 'News Corp' blamed foreign threat actors for the attack. The email also confirmed that some data was stolen. The blame was put on China and the attack was called an 'espionage activity'. According to the company, the attackers had a China nexus. The news of the breach came in hot as over 200 news agencies have experience similar cyber-attack attempts.
The attack came right after the company released a strong earnings report to investors. Right after the announcement of the breach, the company's stock suffered a slight drop of about 1-2%.
China was quick to respond to the claims, denying all responsibility for the attacks. An official from the Chinese embassy in Washington commented on the claims. He said that he has never heard of any details related to the attack. He also urged officials to conduct professional, evidence based investigations.
Such claims aren't new to China, as the country has been named in similar attacks in the past. Specifically back in 2013, the New York Times got hacked, resulting in 53 PCs being breached. At the time, the news agency was working on a report related to the wealth of the Chinese prime minister, Wen Jiabao. The news agency was quick to blame him. Other similar events also took place.
Cyber-attacks between nations are common. Different countries have been known to target news agencies with different opinions. If this is one such case then this is clearly an attack on free press. It is unclear if China really is behind these attacks as there is not much evidence to prove that. The US has been known for quickly and inaccurately pointing fingers in the past.