Irish TV broadcaster says attempted hack will affect programming

Virgin Media Television, the Irish broadcaster, said on Monday that an attempted hack was going to impact its programming in coming days.

The nature of the attack has not been specified, although a spokesperson told The Record it was not a ransomware attack.

In a statement the company described identifying “an unauthorized attempt to access our systems in recent days” which it said had been “contained, isolated and terminated.”

Ossian Smyth, the Irish Minister of State, described the incident as a “major hack” and said it was being investigated by the Republic of Ireland's National Cyber Security Centre.

The company said that “precautionary protocols" meant it was “temporarily disconnecting some of our technologies to ensure ongoing maximum security.”

“Due to the precautions we have implemented there will be temporary effects to the broadcasting of some of our recorded programming on Virgin Media 3, 4, More and VMTV Player,” the statement added.

Virgin Media Television, which offers three free-to-air channels alongside premium sports content, is ultimately owned by the telecommunications company Liberty Global which operates a range of subsidiaries, including the ITV network in the United Kingdom.

The broadcaster said that only it was affected and not any of the company’s other operations, which include the Virgin Mobile wireless carrier and home broadband.

It warned that although the attempted access had been handled, the review process around the incident was still underway. Normal service is not expected to be resumed until “the review and verification process” is completed.

Media companies can be tempting targets for malicious hackers. Targets over the past year have included a PBS station in the U.S., the Nikkei Group in Japan and Vice Media.

Ireland's Munster Technological University also was the recent victim of a ransomware attack.

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Alexander Martin

Alexander Martin

is the UK Editor for Recorded Future News. He was previously a technology reporter for Sky News and is also a fellow at the European Cyber Conflict Research Initiative.