loader gif

Tampa-based community radio station WMNF 88.5-FM hit with ransomware attack

Tampa-based community radio station WMNF 88.5-FM hit with ransomware attack
  • The attack forced the station to shut down its live broadcasts and play pre-recorded shows.
  • The ransomware attack also compromised a few files that included all of the blank forms the station uses for various office purposes.

WMNF 88.5-FM suffered a ransomware attack infecting the station’s AudioVault system that stores audio archives and other files.

What happened?

The radio station discovered the ransomware attack on June 18, 2019, when a programmer noticed abnormalities in a computer in one of the studios. The station then received a digital ransom note stating “Your files have been encrypted. Pay us, and you can have them back.”

  • Upon which, WMNF 88.5 FM reported the incident to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. The department advised the station not to pay the ransom amount.
  • The station then sent the infected server to a local data recovery company for restoration.
  • It also took down the station’s live HD broadcasts.

What is the impact?

  • The attack forced the station to shut down its live broadcasts and play pre-recorded shows.
  • The attack infected the station’s AudioVault system compromising the audio archives, pre-recorded promos, and other audio files stored in the system.
  • Since the pre-recorded promos where compromised, the station was forced to recreate promos of CDs and in the meantime made the hosts read the promos in live.
  • Archived episodes of the station’s news and public affairs programming were also compromised.
  • The ransomware attack also compromised a few files that included all of the blank forms the station uses for various office purposes.

What is the source of the attack?

Interim general manager Cindy Reichard noted that the investigators told her the ransomware could have originated in Russia.

“We don’t really know for sure, other than it came through the AudioVault. It could have been sitting in a file for a long time and someone did something that triggered it. Or it could have come in with some music we downloaded,” Reichard said, Tampa Bay Times reported.

loader gif