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The Age editor on the hack that hit Nine Media

Mark Fletcher
April 1st, 2021 · No Comments

Here is the text of a note from Gay Acorn, Editor of The Age, to subscribers, in which she discusses the impact and their response.

Dear subscriber,

 

Age staff spent most of last year working from home. Here we go again, not due to a global pandemic this time, but a cyber attack.

The attack hit Nine’s systems early on Sunday morning, disrupting live television as workers arrived and found their computers unresponsive. The Age was also affected, especially our print newspapers, as networks were locked down to protect our systems and data.

The flow-on effects could be seen in our newspapers in recent days – for example, graphics and new photographs could not be used and we reduced the number of pages.

Deputy editor, Michael Bachelard, who was editing on Sunday, says it was a mad scramble to put on Monday’s newspaper. It was a bit like going back to the 1950s, using a digitised version of the same print techniques from that period – a lot of cutting and pasting! Monday night was also challenging but we are now confident we can produce unimpaired newspapers in the coming days and weeks.

I am so proud of our production staff – led by production editor Wade Pearce and Monday to Friday print editor Selma Milovanovic who ensured the newspaper was published in the most difficult of circumstances.

Thankfully, our website and apps mostly remain unaffected and any login issues you may have experienced have now been resolved. We are all working from home now so we can use our own internet network.

Who organised this attack is not yet clear, but it is a wake-up call for businesses and governments that this kind of disruption is likely to become more common. This was a sophisticated attack, which seriously affected one of Australia’s biggest media organisations.

I want to apologise to you for the compromises we have had to make to the quality of the newspaper to ensure its publication and delivery, and for your experience on our website and app during this time. We are doing everything possible to get the issues fixed quickly and we will keep you up to date about any developments. For more information, please see our FAQs below.

Gay Alcorn
Editor, The Age

For anyone in business, what happened to Nine Media is a reminder about the need for good disaster planning.

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Category: Newsagency management

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