The Nine Network is at the centre of the largest cyber attack on a media company in Australia’s history, which has brought network’s news production systems around the country to a grinding halt for more than 24 hours.
The broadcaster said it was unable to air several shows on Sunday, including Weekend Today.
Television and digital production systems have been offline since the early hours of yesterday morning. This site, 9news.com.au, has also been affected.
The nature of the cyber attack — and if it is criminal sabotage or the work of a foreign nation — is still being investigated.
Australia’s parliament was also investigating a possible cyber-attack in Canberra on Sunday.
The cyberattack on Nine has been described as sophisticated and deliberately aimed at crippling the news division. The network said it was cooperating with the Australian Cyber Security Centre to investigate, but there are concerns that it may take weeks for production to return to normal.
The technology that brings you 9 News every night is under attack by hackers.— 9News Australia (@9NewsAUS) March 28, 2021
Whether it’s criminal sabotage or the work of a foreign nation is still being investigated, but this attack could reveal a nationwide vulnerability. @MarkWBurrows #9News pic.twitter.com/YL8l1DLNVV
Local reports say Nine suffered the largest cyber attack on a media company in Australia’s history. The BBC reports that Australia’s parliament was also subject to a possible cyberattack on Sunday, although it is unclear if the two attacks are connected.
It has been described as calculated attack and has fundamentally disrupted how the network delivers and presents news.Nine, the publisher of this website, said the attack was affecting the network’s ability to produce news and current affairs, forcing contingency plans to be put in place.
The Australian government, institutions and major corporations have fallen victim to a string of cyber-attacks in recent years.
Last year, Prime Minister Scott Morrison also warned that Australian organisations were being targeted by a sophisticated foreign “state-based” hacker.
Australia’s parliament and political parties were also hit by a cyber attack in 2019.
Cyber intelligence experts say only a few states – China, Russia, Iran, and North Korea – have the capacity for such attacks and are not allied with Australia.
Nine TV presenter Karl Stefanovic joked about “the Russians” on the network’s Today Show on Monday.
Experts have long linked various hacks in Australia to China, including the parliament attack in 2019.
What did Channel Nine say about the cyber attack?
At first, Nine said it was “responding to technical issues” affecting its live broadcasting.
Its online news site, 9news.com.au, was also affected.
On Sunday night, Nine confirmed there had been a “cyberattack on our systems”.
“Our IT teams are working around the clock to fully restore our systems which have primarily affected our broadcast and corporate business units. Publishing and radio systems continue to be operational,” the company said in a statement.
A later report by Mark Burrows, a senior journalist for the network, said the company was “under attack by hackers”. He said emails and editing systems had gone down.
“I’m not surprised,” Mr Hastie, the assistant defence minister, told Nine. “Last year alone we had 60,000 reports to Australian cyber-security of cyber-crime. That’s one every 10 minutes.”
Nine told all its staff to work at home until further notice. It was able to air its shows on Monday.