Apparent cyberattack closes Philadelphia Inquirer office ahead of mayoral primary

Washington, D.C.

An apparent cyberattack forced the Philadelphia Inquirer to close its office through Tuesday, the newspaper’s spokesperson Evan Benn told CNN in an email on Monday.

That means the Inquirer’s journalists won’t be in the office on Tuesday as they cover a key election: Philadelphia’s Democratic primary for the mayoral race.

Still, the newspaper insisted that the cybersecurity incident wouldn’t affect its election coverage: “The Philadelphia Inquirer recently discovered anomalous activity on select computer systems and immediately took those systems offline,” Inquirer Publisher and CEO Lisa Hughes said in a statement to CNN.

The newspaper has hired risk advisory firm Kroll to restore systems and investigate the incident, Hughes said, adding that “in the meantime, we continue to provide Philly and the region with the latest news at, on our e-Edition and through print editions.”

Benn, the spokesperson, said the ongoing investigation precluded him from responding to CNN’s questions about whether a ransomware attack — which locks computers so hackers can demand a ransom — caused the disruption at the newspaper.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation did not immediately respond to a request for comment on whether it was investigating the incident.

It’s the latest example of hackers disrupting news organizations.

A December ransomware attack on The Guardian forced the British newspaper to take certain IT systems offline for weeks and staffers to temporarily work from home.

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