Newspaper and Media Giant Hit By Phishing Attack

Media Division | May 4, 2017

Phishing attacks have continued to make headlines as they breach various types of organizations.  While they can typically be avoided through proper education upon their indicators, there are still those who fall for the cleverly crafted emails.  Phishing emails will purport themselves as a reputable business or associate to attempt to fool an individual into clicking on a malicious link or attachment.  Gannett Co, a well know media giant, was recently hit by a phishing attack that potentially compromised around 18,000 current and former employee email accounts.

How the Attack Was Discovered

Gannett is the owner of several well-known media outlets, including USA Today, Detroit Free Press, The Des Moines Register, and over a hundred others.  According to reports, the breach had been discovered on March 30th when the attacker had attempted to use a compromised account to request a fraudulent corporate wire transfer.  This activity was recognized as suspicious by the company’s finance team and was then investigated by cyber security staff.  It was found that the attack appeared to have originated in emails which were sent to the human resources department.  The company had said that there does not appear to have been any access to personal or sensitive information at this time.  The 18,000 that were potentially affected will be sent notices regarding the breach, and will also be offered credit monitoring through the United States Postal Service.

The Need for Proper Protection

With the large prominence of phishing and other types of cyber attacks, it is a basic necessity for organizations to have comprehensive cyber security.  It is fortunate in the above incident that the finance team was aware enough to identify and report the suspicious activity, as this allowed the cyber security staff to then immediately address it.  Unfortunately, this is not always the case, as many phishing attacks are successful at fulfilling their malicious purposes.  Attacks like these can be for a variety of purposes, including theft of various types of information and funds.

There have been several other organizations that have been hit by phishing attacks this year alone.  For instance, there was another phishing campaign that targeted Gmail users which had been circulating around the same week as the above attack.  There have also been several hotels, schools, and healthcare organizations that have been victimized by these malicious attacks this year as well.

The Value of Cyber Security Monitoring

With the various different types of cyber attackers and threats that lurk among the web, it is vital that organizations are able to maintain awareness over their networks and systems.  Cyber security monitoring is what provides this ability.  It allows an IT team or dedicated analyst to be able to consistently view the current status of their systems, as well as be alerted to any anomalies or suspicious patterns.  This way, they can then investigate the alert and address it if it turns out to be a malicious threat.  Cyber attacks are often able to cause extremely large amounts of damage simply because they are not detected immediately, which allows them to remain in the systems and continue to wreak havoc.  But, with cyber security monitoring, indicators of compromise (IoC) can be rapidly detected.   The threat actor can then be prevented or expelled before it is able to cause significant damage.  Cyber security monitoring from Massive Alliance can help to ensure the protection of an organization’s networks and systems.

Massive's Media Division publishes timely news and insights based on current events, trends, and actionable cross-industry expertise.