The Australian Federal Police and NSW Police have been asked to help investigate the cyber attack that has crippled Nine Entertainment Co, as Australia’s largest media company begins to restore its internal technology network.
A Nine spokesperson said no data had been removed from its computer systems as of Tuesday afternoon, but attempts to isolate the attacker continues to affect multiple parts of the business, including its publishing operations. Nine’s publications include The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age as well as The Australian Financial Review. The company also owns the television network that airs shows such as Married at First Sight and The Block, streaming service Stan and radio stations such as 2GB and 3AW.
"As a precautionary measure, we isolated our network in order to protect the systems and data held on them,” a Nine spokesperson said. “At this stage there is no indication any data has been removed from our systems. We are now moving to restore full services."
Late on Tuesday the company also warned staff to be vigilant about suspicious external communications and asked them to not engage with emails, social media messages or invitations from people claiming to be connected to the attack.
“This is an important reminder that if you are contacted online from anyone claiming to be involved in the recent cyber-attack, do not click or engage with the content,” the note said. “This includes: Emails from addresses you do not recognise, or that look suspicious; or social media invitations, requests or messages from people you don’t know.”
Sources familiar with Nine’s discussions said it had contacted the AFP and NSW Police units about the attack, in addition to speaking with the Australian Signals Directorate’s top cyber security agency on Sunday. NSW Police declined to comment while a spokesperson for the AFP said it did not comment on matters until formal reports are submitted.
Nine’s spokesperson declined to comment on how many computers were affected in the attack, which targeted its corporate network. However, the computers impacted are from the broadcast and corporate divisions, which are occupied by more than 2000 staff.
Newly appointed chief executive Mike Sneesby told staff on Monday night the attack, which took place on Sunday morning and caused major issues for live broadcasts, was “significant” and had a high potential to disrupt the business. However, he said the response from staff allowed the immediate impact to be mitigated.