Was North Korea behind disruptive cyberattack on multiple United States newspapers?

Virginia Carson
December 31, 2018

The attack on Saturday appeared to originate outside the United States, the Los Angeles Times reported.

Tribune Publishing, whose newspapers also include the New York Daily News and Orlando Sentinel, said it first detected the malware on Friday.

The source gave no other details about the origin of the attack or the motive, describing the attacker only as a "foreign entity", The Times reported.

Tribune Publishing, which owns or helps print the affected newspapers - The Times, the Chicago Tribune, Baltimore Sun, as well as West Coast editions of the Wall Street Journal and New York Times - admitted delays on Twitter. We apologize for any inconvenience and thank our readers and advertising partners for their patience as we investigate the situation.

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"There is no evidence that customer credit card information or personally identifiable information has been compromised", she said.

"Technology teams from both companies made significant progress against the threat, but were unable to clear all systems before press time", Light wrote.

The Sun Sentinel's Saturday edition was delivered Sunday because of the delays.

"Every market across the company was impacted", said Marisa Kollias, spokesperson for Tribune Publishing.

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Representatives for the Los Angeles Times said they had no additional information or comment, while Tribune Publishing representatives didn't immediately respond to a request for comment. The West Coast editions of the two NY papers are printed at the same Los Angeles printing facility as the L.A. Times.

The virus affected Tribune Publishing papers across the country.

In an internal memo, Tribune CEO Justin Dearborn said "workarounds" were created in order to print the affected papers' Saturday editions.

The problem caused widespread confusion, the paper noted, because subscribers who called the newspaper's offices on Saturday morning were "told, incorrectly, that the numbers were not in service".

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"The malware unfortunately impacted our timeliness and delivery of Saturday's Chicago Sun-Times", Kollias said. But the papers continue to use some of Tribune's systems.

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