When Will Attacks On Media Become A Big Deal?

If you believe Russian-based operatives were only working to disrupt or skew content and advertising on digital platforms back in 2016 -- and perhaps to the same degree (though getting less headlines) in 2020 -- now your radar is up.

Cox Media Group -- which owns 57 U.S. radio and TV stations-- apparently has been hacked -- at least initially according to two Cox TV news hosts. Tweets from two hosts say the Cox live news streaming was off the air due to a “cyber attack.” And then those messages were taken down.

All this would seem to make sense, vis-à-vis recent news of Russian-based hackers who disrupted Colonial Pipeline, a major gas fuel wholesaler for much of the East Coast; and, days later, JBS, the largest U.S. beef producer.



For a while, TV Watch has been worried about possible disruptions to live, linear TV networks and operations from growing efforts of bad actors to either change or shift possible content and/or advertiser messages. Initially, much of this seems nonpolitical, especially with recent news discloses of demand for ransomware payments by hackers.

But, really, who knows?

Though a number of ransomware attacks on businesses, large and small, have been occurring for sometime -- stuff not always making big news headlines -- federal enforcement officials are concerned not just that much goes under the radar but more is coming.

What can media and advertising business do? Of course, they can ramp up security efforts. But by how much? Even with a rapidly recovering economy, there can be hesitation of higher capital expenditure levels needed.

Media agencies are already pressured to do more with lower fees from clients. It's like whack-a-mole: What areas of one’s advanced advertising planning/buying platform might be exposed?

There are fraud issues to contend in the new premium video streaming space -- which don’t seem attached to ransomware effort.

And if all this doesn’t concern you, consider viewing through your TV provider -- legacy, virtual, whatever -- and/or your subscription TV service. The screen goes black, and reality hits: You're left in the dark.

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