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A Cyber-Attack has Disrupted Slovenia's Most Popular TV Channel


In what appears to be an extortion attempt, a cyber-attack has crippled the operations of Pop TV, Slovenia's most popular TV channel. The attack, which occurred on Tuesday, disrupted Pop TV's computer network, preventing the firm from displaying computer graphics for the evening edition of 24UR, the station's daily news broadcast. 

Pop TV said in a statement on Tuesday, the day of the attack, that the night edition of the same show was canceled entirely, albeit a truncated version of the news appeared on the company's website. While news broadcasts were resumed the following day, the attack had an impact on other aspects of the network's operation. 

"At Pro plus media house, we are rebuilding a business that has been disrupted by a recent cyber-attack. We cannot yet estimate the full extent of the attack, we are currently focusing all our efforts on putting our main systems back into their original operation as soon as possible, which will enable the smooth operation of television programs and websites," the company said. 

Pop TV stated in a second statement on Wednesday that the attack also targeted several of its online servers, including VOYO, an on-demand streaming platform that includes channels from its parent firm as well as licensed movies and TV shows. The attack, according to the firm, stopped its employees from contributing new content to the site as well as broadcasting any of its channels or live sporting events, such as the Winter Olympics, which enraged many of its paid users. 

According to the Slovenian news outlet Zurnal24, Pop TV is being extorted by international hackers in what looks to be a ransomware-style attack. Slovenia's Computer Emergency Response Team, SI-CERT, also published a statement, saying that it was assisting the TV station in dealing with the incident but refused to provide any further insights.

Several prominent TV stations have been targeted by cyber-attacks in recent years, including France's M6 (October 2019), The Weather Channel (April 2019), the Cox Media Group (June 2021), the Sinclair Broadcast Group in the United States (October 2021), Portugal's SIC (January 2021), and Iran's IRIB (February 2021). 

With the exception of the IRIB incident, most of these were ransomware assaults on the stations' backend IT infrastructure, causing broadcasts to go offline for hours while engineers worked to restore systems, implying that Pop TV got off easier than the majority of the previous incidents.

Ransomware Hits Media Monitoring Company 'TV Eyes'

The latest ransomware has attacked 'TV Eyes,' a company that offers campaign monitoring services to TV and radio news broadcasts. PR agencies and newsrooms across the world mostly use TV Eyes service to keep a trace of their broadcast. "The ransomware infected the business somewhere around post-midnight on Thursday, 30th of January," said TV Eyes CEO David Ives in a conversation with ZDNet. The ransomware has damaged crucial TV Eyes servers and communications workstations, affecting the network mainly in the US, along with some other areas.

"We are still calculating the total damage caused by the ransomware to the company's network. However, the company has begun making retrieval attempts," said David to ZDNet. He further says, "TV Eyes is not thinking of paying the ransom demanded by the hackers. Instead, we are reviving the situation from existing backups and focusing on strengthening the affected network infrastructure." "MMS (Media Monitoring Suite), the main product of the TV Eyes company, is not in function since the last 2 days," according to various sources at PR agencies that worked with TV Eyes.

The TV Eyes service gives a platform that allows agencies in monitoring TV telecasts and Radio broadcasts mainly in the U.S (state and other 210 markets) and influential global media organizations. The Media Monitoring Suite-MMS permits the users to seek beyond podcasts for new keywords and also set up an email account for notifications of new events. TV Eyes is a very helpful tool for several journalists, PR agencies, and political parties for campaigning. David says there's no news confirming the comeback of the TV Eyes service in the near time. However, the company is working to restore services as soon as possible.

"The kind of services that companies like TV Eyes offer is often an easy target for the hackers because they know how much dependent and reliable the users of these tools are. Therefore, hackers know that such companies are vulnerable as their users are relying on them for the safety of their data," says Paul Martini, CEO, Iboss (cloud security company). The users of the TV Eyes service are concerned about the privacy of their data, which contains crucial financial information too.