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Websites disrupted as regional publisher hit by cyber attack

A regional publisher has been hit by a cyber attack causing its websites to malfunction and leaving journalists unable to upload stories.

Staff at Newsquest have been battling to deal with a so-called ‘denial of service’ attack which affected its websites and content management systems.

The attack, described in internal documents as a “major business continuity event,” began on Monday and continued throughout Tuesday and into yesterday.

It has now been reported to the National Cyber Security Centre and messages posted on Newsquest websites apologising to readers for the disruption.


A message on the Southern Daily Echo website read:  “Since Monday, this website has suffered some intermittent disruption which may have affected your reader experience, as well as your access to our associated digital editions and apps.

“This has been caused by a series of cyber-attacks known as “distributed denial-of-service” (DDOS).

“We have been able to contain most of these attacks, but some readers will have experienced a disruption.

“Please be assured that no reader or subscriber data has been accessed or compromised, and none of our systems have been damaged.

“We appreciate this must be frustrating and apologise for these issues. We are fully aware so there is no need to report these issues to us.

“In the meantime, thank you for your patience and your ongoing support”.

An internal message sent to Newsquest staff at 10am yesterday which has been seen by HTFP, added: “The impact on our journalists ability to upload stories, images and media…is being discussed and we are working on methods to improve uploads and administration

“This problem has been reported as an incident to the National Cyber Security Centre and an initial response has been received.

“The Gannett Cybersecurity Incident Response team has been alerted and this is now a major business continuity event.”

A Newsquest spokesman told HTFP: “Some of the Newsquest websites suffered intermittent disruption over the last two days due to a number of denial of service attacks.

“We were able to rebut most of these attacks, but some online readers will have experienced a disruption.   No reader or subscriber data was accessed or compromised, and none of our systems were damaged.

“We are continuing to monitor the situation closely, but the attacks have now subsided and website access returned to normal.”