The Watertown Daily Times, a daily newspaper published in Watertown was targeted by the cybercriminals, as an attack on this New York-based media outlet was identified on Saturday afternoon, April 27 that restricted the organization to publish its print edition on Sunday.
Last week, on April 18 the American TV channel 'The Weather Channel' went offline for about an hour due to a malicious software attack on the network. Almost one week later, anonymous cybercriminals targeted another media organization, The Watertown Daily Times and the attack was discovered by its information technology staff.
The media outlet stated that on Saturday afternoon the staff found that their servers and computer systems had been infiltrated by a malware virus that encrypted files.
As per the reports the virus, 'Ryuk', is the same one that affected another American newspaper print and online media publishing company, Tribune Publishing in December 2018 and damaged the data infrastructure of Stewart, Fla. on April 13, 2019.
Since the computers and the server was affected by the virus, the main sections of The Watertown Daily Times, sports and Sunday Weekly could not be printed on Saturday night. But some sections of the newspaper, printed in advance, were delivered to the readers and that includes the NNY Auto Finder, Life & Livelihood, the six-page colour comic section and inserts and coupons.
The news agency confirmed that their IT officials worked late night on Saturday to build a new server to run the machine which burns plates for the printing press, but there was no time to print the morning newspaper.
The name, 'Ryuk' Ransomware became famous after it affected major American publications such as Los Angeles Times, the San Diego Union-Tribune and West Coast editions of the Wall Street Journal and New York Times in 2018.
Two cybersecurity companies, McAfee and Coveware, stated in a report that the Ryuk attackers had extorted more than 10 times the average malware ransom "making it the costliest type of ransomware, Coveware also observed that some Ryuk ransoms were highly negotiable, while others were not. The bar-belled negotiation results generated an average ransom payment of $71k, a 60% discount from an average opening ask of $145k."