Media Prima Email Servers Breached, hit by Ransomeware?

Media Prima, a media conglomerate which spent multi-millions of ringgit for digital investment, is reported to have suffered a ransomware attack, affecting its email systems.

It is learned that attackers have breached Media Prima’s email system and locked it down with ransomeware. The Edge Financial Daily reported that the ransomware attackers demanded Media Prima to pay 1,000 bitcoins (approximately RM26 million) to access its email system again.

“The whole Media Prima group’s computer systems have been breached and infected with ransomware over the last four days. The attackers demanded 1,000 bitcoins from Media Prima in the ransomware attack,” said one source.

Bitcoin is currently trading at US$6,454 (RM27,042.26) on Bitfinex — one of the world’s largest and most advanced cryptocurrency exchanges. This translates into US$6.45 million.

When contacted, Media Prima did not confirm or deny whether there was a ransomware attack.

“Thank you for the questions. It is with regret [we have] to inform you that we decline to comment on the questions,” it told The Edge Financial Daily in an email reply.

Typically, ransomware — a form of cyberattack — gives attackers full access to computer files and then encrypts them making those files inaccessible. These attackers demands a ransom payment for those files to be decrypted. In some cases, those computer systems are locked but not encrypted. A key is required to regain access. Even when the ransom are paid, there’s no guarantee the cybercriminals will give victims those files back.

It was also reported that Media Prima migrated to a different email system since the attack.

“Our office email was affected, but we have migrated to G Suite. They (the attackers) demanded bitcoins, but we are not paying,” said another source.

Media Prima operates media-related businesses in television, print, radio, out-of-home advertising, content and digital media. The group owns and operates four free-to-air television stations, namely TV3, TV9, ntv7 and 8TV, as well as four radio stations, namely Fly FM, Hot FM, One FM and Kool FM.

Media Prima currently ranks third in Malaysia (behind Google and Facebook) in digital reach after the 2017 acquisition of Rev Asia Holdings, one of Southeast Asia’s leading digital media groups. The acquisition, at a cost of RM105.0 million, will focus on expansion in digital content and digital media platforms. It recently acquired a 52% stake in Vocket Media Sdn Bhd for RM2.6mil cash as it expands its digital business. Last month, the company partnered with Ziff Davis LLC to operate Mashable Southeast Asia.

Media Prima reported a net loss of RM650.6 million for the financial year ended Dec 31, 2017, from RM59.2 million the year before.

However, for the first half ended June 30, 2018, the group generated a net profit of RM10.1 million on revenue of RM623 million.

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