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Sinclair Still Dealing With Effects from Ransomware Attack

Sinclair Broadcast Group
(Image credit: Sinclair)

HUNT VALLEY, MD—Sinclair said this week that last month’s cyberattack on its TV stations is still affecting daily operations but that it “is working diligently to restore operations quickly and securely.”

On Oct. 17, certain servers and workstations  were encrypted with ransomware, disrupting certain office and operational networks. The company notified senior management, local law enforcement and related government agencies and has initiated an investigation that is ongoing.

"We are grateful for the patience and understanding of our customers, partners, and employees as we deal with the challenge of the recent cyber attack on our company,” said Sinclair CEO Chris Ripley in a statement during the company’s release of its Q3 2021 financials. “Our employees' quick response and creative workarounds have helped us restore a significant portion of our systems. As we work to complete our investigation, we will look for opportunities to enhance our existing security measures.” 

“While the Company has taken significant steps to contain the incident, the event has not yet been fully resolved, and certain disruptions to its business and operations remain,” the company said. “The Company is working diligently to restore operations quickly and securely. As the investigation is still on-going, the full extent of the impact on the Company's business, operations and financial results is not known at the present time.”

The ransomware attack, which forced local broadcast stations to improvise using local servers instead of cloud networks, has been linked to a Russian crime ring, according to CNN

In addition to providing an update to the cyber attack, Sinclair announced that it was continuing to look at launching a direct to consumer sports streaming service as well as increasing its NextGen TV deployments, among other initiatives.

"Our focus remains on growth opportunities in the broadcast, news and sports areas,” Ripley said. “New programming, the implementation of gamification elements across our platforms, the ramping up of activities around a 'Direct to Consumer' product and the utilization of the ATSC 3.0 technology will all be key initiatives as we move into the next year."  

Sinclair reported a net income of $19 million for the quarter, versus a net loss of $3.2 billion in the prior year period, when it took a loss over its regional sports business.