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Media Prima hit by ransomware attack, payment demanded in bitcoin

Media Prima has been hit by a ransomware attack, resulting in employees being denied access to in-house emails. According to The Edge Financial Daily, computer systems throughout the group were “breached and infected” with ransomware over the past four days and the attackers demanded 1,000 bitcoins in order for Media Prima to reaccess the email system. According to media reports, the amount demanded was RM26 million.

Quoting its sources, The Edge said despite the attackers’ demands, Media Prima will not be paying the bitcoins. Its employees have also migrated to G Suite, a brand of cloud computing, productivity and collaboration tools developed by Google.

In a statement to A+M, a spokesperson from Media Prima said the group refrains from making public comments on matters related to security and internal systems. “The group wishes to state that at no time were our core business operations (e.g. broadcast, print, out-of-home advertising, content production and digital publishing) interrupted,” the spokesperson added.

Ransomware is a form of malware which encrypts documents on a PC or across a network, only allowing victims to regain access by paying a ransom to the attackers. Media Prima is not the only company to have been hit by a ransomware attack.

Last year, WPP confirmed that on 27 June 2017, a number of WPP companies, “though not all”, were affected by the Petya ransomware attack that hit organisations around the world. This came weeks after the WannaCry ransomware attack which infected more than 300,000 computers across 150 countries.

Media Prima posted a revenue of RM623 million for the first half of 2018, 4% year-on-year increase due to higher revenue for digital advertising, content and commerce revenue. It garnered RM431 million in revenue for traditional advertising and RM42.3 million for digital.

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