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Even the Best Fall Down Sometimes: Nine Network Suffers Large-Scale Cyber Attack

Channel Nine has suffered the largest cyber attack on a media company in Australia’s history, according to reports from IT News, the AFR and Nine News.

The cyber attack, reported by Channel Nine as a variation of a ransomware attack, struck early Sunday morning, resulting in television and digital production systems being offline for more than 24 hours. The attack impaired Channel Nine’s ability to broadcast from its Sydney studios, forcing the media outlet to shift operations to its Melbourne studios.

Channel Nine swiftly responded to the cyber-attack, advising affected parties that its IT teams were working around the clock to fully restore its systems and further describing the attack as a sophisticated and calculated attack that could take weeks to remediate.

Channel Nine has further enlisted the help of the Australian Cyber Security Center, which is taking an increasingly central and important role in this area and offered technical assistance in the investigation and resolution of the attack. It is interesting to note that in the recent updates proposed to the Security of Critical Infrastructure Act 2018 (Cth), the “communications” sector (which includes broadcasting services) would have additional obligations to consider in the event of such incidents.

At this stage, Channel Nine has not reported receiving a ransom demand.

The events demonstrate, as the Australian government pointed out in last year’s Australia’s Cyber Security Strategy 2020, that even large organisations with significant investments in proper data security protections and mechanisms can be out-manoeuvred by cyber attackers. It has been suggested that this attack may have been state sponsored given the level of sophistication.

Channel Nine’s quick response to notify affected individuals and utilise both internal and external resources also represents an important example of how entities respond in the circumstances of a cyber incident.

We will keep you posted on any further updates.

Copyright 2023 K & L GatesNational Law Review, Volume XI, Number 91

About this Author

Cameron Abbott, Technology, Attorney, Australia, corporate, KL Gates Law Firm

Mr. Abbott is a corporate lawyer who focuses on technology, telecommunications and broadcasting transactions. He assists corporations and vendors in managing their technology requirements and contracts, particularly large outsourcing and technology procurements issues including licensing terms for SAP and Oracle and major system integration transactions.

Mr. Abbott partners with his clients to ensure market leading solutions are implemented in to their businesses. He concentrates on managing and negotiating complex technology solutions, which...

Warwick Andersen Technology Lawyer KL Gates

Mr. Andersen is a senior corporate lawyer with a focus on commercial, technology and sourcing projects. He has advised on large scale outsourcing projects, technology agreements for both vendors and customers, corporate support, privacy and telecommunications regulatory work. He has acted for government departments, large listed companies, telecommunications companies and technology suppliers.

Rob Pulham Corporate Attorney K&L Gates
Special Counsel

Rob Pulham is an experienced corporate advisory and transactional lawyer with an active technology and privacy practice representing companies in the energy, manufacturing, mining, retail, health and financial services sectors, as well as government and not for profit organisations. He has extensive experience advising customers and vendors in the technology industry, with particular focus on software licensing, data privacy and protection, and systems integration projects. In his role as a senior corporate lawyer, Mr. Pulham reviews organisational policies and practices...

Max Evans Lawyer technology matters, Software as a Service Agreements SaaS Sydney

Mr. Evans is a corporate and transactional lawyer with a focus on information technology and outsourcing. He provides assistance on a broad range of technology matters, including Software as a Service Agreements (SaaS), terms and conditions for software products and platforms as well as software procurement and outsourcing projects. Mr. Evans also provides assistance with technology and privacy aspects of mergers and acquisitions transactions.

Professional Background

Prior to joining K&L Gates, Mr. Evans worked in the insolvency and bankruptcy practice of...