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Ransomware attack hits Standard-Examiner, delays Tuesday paper

By Staff | Sep 6, 2022

Image supplied, Utah Department of Public Safety

OGDEN -- A ransomware attack on Monday damaged the Standard-Examiner's computer network, delaying delivery of the Tuesday print edition until Wednesday.

The outage also affected the Provo Daily Herald, the Standard-Examiner's sister paper, which also is printed at the Ogden plant, said Tim Swietek, information technology director for Ogden Newspapers of Utah.

"They come in and try to take your network hostage and encrypt all of your data files and get you to pay them to get everything back," Swietek said, referring to the unidentified intruders. He said the IT staff detected the intrusion Monday afternoon, but not before the network was compromised. He said an infected email was the probable avenue of the attack.

He said the network was being repaired Tuesday and normal printing options would resume.

The Standard-Examiner's website and digital edition at standard.net were not affected. Swietek said a majority of the data is stored in cloud computers where the intruders did not gain access.

According to an FBI compilation, there were 21 reported corporate or government entity ransomware victims in Utah in 2020, with nearly $1.2 million in ransom payments made. The ransomware impact numbers don't include estimates of lost business, time, wages, files or equipment. Some victim entities do not report the attacks, so the overall total is artificially low.

The University of Utah paid $457,000 to obtain a decryption key after a ransomware attack in 2020 locked up student and faculty data, according to the internet intrusion tracking firm threatpost.com.

Clearfield City was hit in a similar fashion in July 2021, but officials said they were able to work around the damage without having to pay ransom, according to Standard-Examiner coverage at the time.

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