TVEyes crashes after ransomware attack

The company said it's doing everything it can to restore services.

Photo credit: Getty Images
Photo credit: Getty Images

FAIRFIELD, CT: TVEyes crashed after its core server and engineering workstations were targeted by a ransomware attack, CEO David Ives confirmed.

The TV search engine alerted customers of the cyberattack by email and later tweeted a response to ad buying company Medium Buying. In its email to customer, TVEyes said the ransomware attack caused an outage of its multimedia messaging and data feed services.

"We are rebuilding the core system on fresh hardware, and expect to have TVEyes back online soon, but do not have an exact ETA for services to be restored," the email says. "As you can imagine, TVEyes engineers are working nonstop and will continue to do so until we are back up and running."

Ives said the attack occurred just after midnight on January 30.

"There is nothing to indicate that the attack has proliferated further," Ives said, adding the company is "progressing well" in restoring services.

Ives said there’s no indication that any data was downloaded. The attack targeted and encrypted several terabytes of transcripts made from closed captioning data that TVEyes uses to create search criteria.

The company hasn’t determined how the hackers entered the system. It’s currently conditioning new backup servers and restoring the data to them.

TVEyes has cordoned off affected areas, isolating the malware, and it will reach out to third party defenses shortly to prevent future attacks, Ives said. It hasn’t yet alerted law enforcement. TVEyes has 50 terabytes of data total stored on its servers and works with thousands of PR clients.

TVEyes was founded in 1999, aspiring to be a global search engine for TV and radio coverage. Its clients include GrubHub, JPMorganChase, NASCAR, Airbnb, BMW, Bloomberg and Alcoa.

The company also lists "Burson-Marsteller" as a client. A BCW representative wasn’t immediately available for comment to clarify if the WPP shop, rebranded BCW after its merger with Cohn and Wolfe in 2018, remains a client.

Editor's note: This story was updated on January 31 with comment from Ives.

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