Spokane’s “Q6” KHQ-TV hacked

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Scott Jones’ FTVLive today reports that Spokane’s “Q6” KHQ-TV  has been the victim of a ransomware attack on it’s newsroom computer system.  The story notes “The security breach occurred overnight Sunday, just hours before the affiliate’s 4:30 a.m. morning newscast, said Patricia McRae, president of KHQ, Inc. and Cowles Montana Media. The attack targeted the company’s technical software needed to prepare local newscasts across all stations owned by the television group, but no personal employee or advertiser data was compromised in the breach, McRae said.”

This is part of a recent increase in ransomware attacks on citizens, government & business.  The broadcast industry over the last 2 years has been hit particularly hard with radio & TV broadcasters – both commercial & non-commercial/public being affected.  “Q6” has been informing views of “technical difficulties” & has been using fewer graphics & video inserts to accompany it’s newscasts.  Reporters & anchors are actually having to use ‘old school’ methods many of us old-timers are familiar with:  writing & reading paper copy of news stories & use of cue sheets.  McRae said it was unclear Tuesday afternoon where the attack originated and said it would be at least a couple more days before everything was back online at the three KHQ, Inc., stations in Washington and the eight affiliates in Montana owned by Cowles Montana Media.  News staff have been filing reports through personal social media accounts due to the station’s Internet shutdown & accessing their email via their smartphones.  “Q6” weather forecaster Syndee Stelle has been assembling weather data to broadcast to the station’s viewers, but minus the usual graphics associated with meteorology reports.

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Mike Cherry

Author: Mike Cherry

retired broadcaster: on-air, MD, PD, asst PD, Prod Mgr, IT, station technician/engineer, pioneer Internet webcaster, station installation/maintenance; 12 years in commercial radio, 17 years volunteer in campus/community radio in B.C., Alberta & Wash. Amateur radio operator & "DXer" specializing in AM night-time DX, short-wave DX/listening & remote SDR DXing/listening

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