The major US magazine publishers are set to be hit by the latest threat from a new online attack that has infected hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue.
The attack comes on the heels of a massive hack that has taken down a huge swath of the industry, but the industry remains immune to the attacks because publishers are able to shield themselves by using an encryption protocol called TLS, which prevents hackers from exploiting the attack.
The new attack has been dubbed “DDoS” by the US security community, meaning it is targeting websites which have been hit by it.
“We’ve been in a lot of situations where we’ve been able to mitigate the threat by putting a lot more robust controls in place,” said Michael McAlister, chief information officer at The Wall Street Journal.
“The threat from DDoS, if it comes, is going to be very real.”
McAlisters comments come after a series of attacks on the major US publishers have been blamed on a Russian hacker group, which has also attacked several other US companies.
While it is not clear how many of the attacks were carried out by Russian hackers, security researchers believe the attacks are linked.
The attacks are believed to be the work of a group known as Guardians of Peace, which was described by US security experts as a Russian government-sponsored group that had recently launched attacks against American companies.
A spokesman for The Wall St Journal told the New York Times that it had not yet received a request for comment from Russia.
The threats are the latest in a string of attacks that have hit US media organizations.
Earlier this month, the Associated Press reported that it was hit by a series the same group, including a denial of service attack that caused the website to crash for up to five minutes.
The AP said that the attack was caused by an exploit that allowed hackers to gain control of a website by sending an email to a victim’s account.
The hack also affected the Los Angeles Times and the Chicago Tribune.
The Associated Press story said that “some of the websites that were attacked by the attackers included AP and the New Orleans Times-Picayune, among others”.
The Associated States Attorney’s Office in Houston said that hackers responsible for the AP hack had been arrested.
“These criminal hackers are known for their use of a variety of tactics to wreak havoc on the public’s trust and privacy,” said Assistant US Attorney David T. Gullickson in a statement.
“As with any cyberattack, it is critical to take all necessary steps to protect ourselves, our customers, and our network from these cybercriminals.
We will not be deterred from continuing to operate our networks.”
Earlier this week, security firm Symantec said that it found evidence that the hackers responsible were using the Tor network to access the AP’s website.
“There are a number of indications that they are using Tor to access and manipulate our network, including the fact that we’ve seen their Tor traffic,” Symantech chief security officer James F. Odom said.
The group behind the AP attack, known as the Guardians of Light, was founded in August 2017 by former members of the Russian hacking collective Fancy Bear, which is believed to have ties to the Kremlin.
“While we have no evidence of the attack itself, it certainly doesn’t bode well for the future of the AP,” Symants chief security researcher Bruce Schneier said.
“It certainly raises the question of how these kinds of attacks will be stopped, and it seems likely that they will continue to spread, and the public is more likely to fall prey to this kind of attack, because we do not have the infrastructure or the tools to fight back against it.”