TV search engine TVEyes hit by a ransomware attack

TV search engine TVEyes hit by a ransomware attack

TV search engine TVEyes suffers a ransomware attack

Broadcast television search engine TVEyes revealed it suffered a ransomware attack that temporarily brought down the service. TVEyes tracks TV and radio broadcasts, and allows one to search for keywords in past broadcasts, as well as set up email alerts in case of future keyword mentions. The platform is often used by political campaigns to monitor opponents, and by reporters.

“TVEyes core server & engineering workstations were targeted by a ransomware attack and caused an outage,” TVEyes has said.

According to reports, the attack took place on January 30. The ransomware was able to hit the core server & engineering workstations inside TVEye’s network. The company suffered an outage that lasted a couple of days, during which their services were inaccessible.

TVEyes did not pay the ransom and instead, restored everything from backup. An update by the TV search engine has been posted on the company’s Twitter page and it reassured users that services have been restored.

“Service is restored. Broadcast monitoring, search & alerting are functioning for all US DMAs. We are backfilling data from the outage over the next week. Thank you for your patience. We apologize for any impact you experienced from the attack on our system,” a short statement on TVEye’s Twitter page reads.

The ransom sum requested by the ransomware is not known, nor has the strain of ransomware been identified. It is also not known how exactly the ransomware was able to enter the system. It is not believed that the attack was an attempt to steal data as there is no evidence that information was downloaded. This was likely a mere attempt to extort money by taking files hostage.

Ransomware attacks are becoming increasingly common

For those unfamiliar with ransomware attacks, the malware encrypts files on a system, preventing anyone from opening them unless a special decryption tool is used. The crooks behind the ransomware then try to sell the decryption tool to users and promise to return the systems back to normal.

Ransomware attacks have become rather common in the past couple of years but the targets have recently shifted from individual users to businesses. While individual users are still very much targets and should not let their guard down, some ransomware specifically target businesses. Not only can ransomware demand significantly more money from companies, but ones with large userbases are more likely to pay the ransom as prolonged downtime can have serious financial consequences. And it can all start with something seemingly innocent, like an email with an attachment.

While TVEyes had backup and was able to recover without issue, some businesses, particularly on the smaller side, are not always prepared for such scenarios and do not have reliable backup. In some cases, businesses have no other option but to pay the ransom. Ransomware has even targeted local US governments, hospitals, schools, etc. Essentially, nothing is off limits for ransomware distributors when it comes to money.

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