PressReader Suffers Cyber-Attack

A cyber-attack on the world’s largest digital newspaper and magazine distributor left readers around the world unable to access more than 7000 publications.

PressReader, headquartered in Vancouver, Canada, and has offices in Dublin, Ireland and Manila, Philippines, began experiencing a network outage affecting its Branded Editions website and apps and its PressReader site on Thursday. 

The global outage impacted all PressReader’s local, regional and international newspapers and magazines online on mobile devices and in print. Users in countries including Australia, Canada, the UK and the US were blocked from accessing titles, including The Guardian, Vogue, Forbes, and the New York Times.

By Friday night, the company’s security teams had classified the outage as “a cybersecurity incident.” 

In a statement released March 4, PressReader said it was working to restore services and make content available to users. The company added that its investigation into the cyber-attack had not found any evidence that customer data had been compromised. 

“PressReader’s technical teams have been working around the clock to address the recent disruptions to services,” said the statement. 

“Our security teams have now classified this as a cyber security incident. This situation comes as companies across North America have seen an increase in security incidents over the past several weeks.”

With operations restored in the early hours of Sunday morning, PressReader has begun the process of restoring editions of titles that were disrupted. 

“Our teams have been working relentlessly on restoring operations and we are now able to process and release current newspapers and magazines, however, we continue to scale these systems back to their full capacity,” said Press Reader in a user update posted March 6. 

The cyber-attack came days after the company removed dozens of Russian titles from its catalog and publicly stated that it would help the Ukrainian citizens access the news following Russia’s invasion of their country. 

On February 25, the company said on social media: “In order to assist those in Ukraine with accessing up-to-date information, we are opening all PressReader content in the country without charge to individuals. PressReader will absorb the cost paid to publishers until further notice.”

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