TV advertising giant hit by ransomware attack


A TV advertising sales and technology company jointly owned by the three largest US cable operators was hit in recent weeks by a ransomware attack that affected its operations.

Ampersand – owned by Comcast Corporation, Charter Communications and Cox Communications – provides audience data to advertisers on approximately 85 million households and has been around since 1981. Last weekend, the Black Basta ransomware gang claimed to have attacked the company, according to a cybersecurity researcher. Dominique Alvieri.

In a statement to Recorded Future News, the company confirmed that it had experienced a ransomware incident, but declined to say when the attack occurred or whether a ransom would be paid.

“Ampersand recently experienced a ransomware incident that briefly disrupted regular operations. We have restored the majority of normal business operations and are working with third-party advisors and law enforcement to resolve this issue,” a spokesperson said.

“This process will take time and we are committed to conducting a thorough analysis. We regret any concern or inconvenience this incident may have caused.

Black Basta has not specified how much data was stolen from the company and has not yet released sample information.

Ampersand collects a wealth of television audience information from more than 165 networks and helps companies tailor their ads to specific audiences. The company was originally founded as a one-stop shop for advertisers to purchase cable programming in local television markets.

After its founding in 1981, it was renamed National Cable Advertising in 1988 following a partnership with the three largest cable companies in the United States. It now forms the backbone of a $6 billion local television advertising business.

All three companies that own Ampersand have faced cybersecurity incidents in recent years.

In 2021, Cox was attacked by ransomware actors based in Iran while Charter had the personal information of 550,000 customers leaked in case of violation by a third party in January. In December, thousands of Comcast customers reported see their accounts hacked.

Dozens of television-related companies have been attacked around the world, with channels in Portugal, Russia, Ireland, Slovenia, United States, Australia, Iran And deal with incidents. Last week one of the biggest television channels in Spain was forced off the airwaves for several hours after a cyberattack.

Black Basta is one of the most high-profile ransomware gangs currently active, taking credit for brazen attacks against American Dental AssociationGerman wind farm operator Deutsche WindtechnikBritish outsourcing company CapitaSwiss technology giant ABB and German arms company Rheinmetall.

The gang leaked information from Raleigh Housing Authority in North Carolina two months ago.

Cybersecurity researchers have linked the long-running cybercrime cartel known as FIN7 to the Black Basta ransomware operation. report released late last year.

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Jonathan Greig

Jonathan Greig is a breaking news reporter at Recorded Future News. Jonathan has worked as a journalist around the world since 2014. Before returning to New York, he worked for media outlets in South Africa, Jordan and Cambodia. He previously covered cybersecurity at ZDNet and TechRepublic.

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