On January 3, Portugal’s biggest media company, Impresa, was the subject of a significant cyber-attack, as hackers not only brought down both the Expresso weekly newspaper and SIC TV, but also reportedly published a ransom note on the company’s websites. The hackers took credit for the attack by defacing all of Impresa’s sites with a ransom note (pictured at the top of this article).
Impresa is now believed to have full control of its publications back. This attack is a timely reminder of the attention that needs to be paid to cyber threats which, over the past twelve months, have increasingly affected pivotal societal players, including news media.
The attack on Impresa is a criminal act that not only breached cyber-security laws, but also included a ransom demand published across Impresa websites.
“In a digital age, online crimes are no less serious than those committed in the physical world and must be dealt with accordingly. We strongly encourage the Portuguese government to fully investigate and prosecute this crime.
This attack represents a direct attempt to undermine freedom of speech and the free and independent press, at a time when the need for independent and professional media has never been greater. A free and accurate press is a key aspect of democratic societies, and we thoroughly condemn those who attack it in any form.” stated the four press organisations.