News Corp hit by cyberattack with suspected link to China


The media company News Corp. said Friday it was the victim of a cyberattack likely to benefit the Chinese government, and that the intrusion targeted its businesses including the New York Post, Dow Jones and others.

The company detailed the scope of the attack in an email to employees and listed it on a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), where the company said a preliminary analysis pointed to a foreign government targeting one of its third-party, cloud-based systems. 

The cybersecurity firm Mandiant, which is investigating the attack, said that assessments point to a “China nexus.” 

Dave Wong, vice president of incident response at Mandiant, said in a statement that the company believes the cyberattackers “are likely involved in espionage activities to collect intelligence to benefit China’s interests.”

News Corp. said in an email to staff that the cyberattack affected “a limited number of business email accounts and documents from News Corp headquarters, News Technology Services, Dow Jones, News UK, and New York Post.”

“Our highest concern is the protection of our employees, including our journalists, and their sources. We are working closely with the leadership teams of the affected businesses to inform those employees whose accounts were impacted and help them take appropriate measures,” the statement from News Corp. read. 

Other business units, including HarperCollins Publishers, Move, News Corp Australia, Foxtel, REA and Storyful, were not believed to be targeted in the attack, the company said. 

The “attack activity” was first discovered on Jan. 20 and News Corp. said it notified U.S. law enforcement and retained the services of Mandiant. The company said that they took steps to contain the activity and their investigation indicates that systems housing customer and financial data were not affected, and that the company did not experience interruptions to its business operations, calling the threat activity “contained.” 

The SEC filing said the cyberattack targeted one of the company’s third-party providers, and “cloud-based” systems that it uses to support its business operations. 

News Corp. said in its filing that at the moment it was “unable to estimate the expenses it will incur in connection with its investigation and remediation efforts.”

The revelation of the attack comes following warnings from FBI Director Christopher Wray on Monday that the Chinese government is targeting the U.S. with “a massive, sophisticated hacking program that is bigger than those of every other major nation combined.”  

The director further said that the agency is opening a new China related counterintelligence investigation on average every 12 hours and 2,000 cases are underway, in an interview with NBC News on Tuesday. 

Tags China Christopher Wray Cyberattack cybersecurity News Corp.

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