German regional newspaper group hit by cyberattack

International

BERLIN (AP) — A regional newspaper group in Germany has become the target of a cyberattack, preventing it from publishing its regular editions Wednesday.

The Funke media group said the attack, which began Tuesday, affected numerous computer systems at editorial offices and printing plants across the country.

“It involved an attack in which the culprits encrypted data on the Funke media group’s IT systems,” the publisher said in a statement.

The company said it was “prepared for such a scenario” and had immediately alerted in-house and external IT experts to investigate the attack, while also alerting police.

The group, which claims to reach more than 3.3 million readers nationwide with newspapers include Berlin’s Morgenpost daily, said it was forced to publish reduced editions Wednesday. Readers would get full access to all of its content online for free, it added.

It wasn’t immediately clear why the company was targeted.

Last month, Denmark’s biggest news agency, Ritzau, was knocked offline for several days after hackers demanded a ransom to release locked data. The agency said it refused to pay.

Ritzau CEO Lars Vesterloekke couldn’t say how big the ransom demand was because those behind the “professional attack” had left “a file with a message” that the agency didn’t open following instructions from its advisers.

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