Sinclair Broadcast Group hit with ransomware attack

It is not yet known whether the attack 'will have a material impact' on operations, Sinclair said

Sinclair Broadcast Group has confirmed that the media company was hit over the weekend with a ransomware attack, saying some operations were impacted and data was stolen from its network.

Sinclair is one of the largest owners of television stations in the U.S., and several of its stations went down on Sunday, leading reporters to take to social media to explain they were experiencing "technical issues."

Sinclair

(Photo Illustration by Pavlo Gonchar/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images) (Pavlo Gonchar/SOPA Images/LightRocket / Getty Images)

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The company released further details on Monday regarding what it called a "cybersecurity incident," which it began investigating on Friday. The company noted it had "identified that certain servers and workstations in its environment were encrypted with ransomware, and that certain office and operational networks were disrupted."

Data was also lifted from Sinclair's network, the company said, adding that it was "working to determine what information the data contained and will take other actions as appropriate based on its review."

Sinclair

Signage is displayed outside the Sinclair Broadcast Group Inc. headquarters in Cockeysville, Maryland, U.S. (Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images) (Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg)

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SBGI SINCLAIR BROADCAST GROUP 25.15 +0.24 +0.96%

RANSOMWARE ATTACKS SURGE, GROWING 93% EACH WEEK

Ransomware attacks are a growing issue worldwide amid a rise in criminal hacking operations demanding payment from their victims – sometimes to the tune of millions of dollars.

Last week, the White House held a virtual event that included some 30 countries to address ways to counter the problem, saying ransomware payments hit $400 million worldwide in 2020 and surpassed $81 million in the first quarter of 2021.

hacker

Ransomware attacks cost victims $400 million worldwide in 2020, and another $81 million in the first quarter of 2021. (iStock)

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Sinclair is not the only media company to fall prey to a ransomware attack in recent years, either. 

The Associated Press noted that another major media conglomerate, Cox Media Group, recently said it was targeted earlier this year in a similar episode, and the Weather Channel went off air following a ransomware attack in 2019.

FOX Business' Brooke Crothers contributed to this report.