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Tuesday, 01 December 2020 11:47

Attackers use Windows ransomware to hit Big Brother production firm Featured

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Attackers use Windows ransomware to hit Big Brother production firm Pixabay

Attackers claim to have used the Windows DoppelPaymer ransomware to hit leading British television production company Endemol Shine and have published a few files from the company that they claim to have exfiltrated from its systems.

The company is best known for producing Big Brother from 2000 to 2018 and Celebrity Big Brother from 2001 to 2018, according to Wikipedia.

Founded in 1994, Endemol Shine UK has about 800 employees. Of itself, it says: "Made up of a diverse range of companies and labels, including television production businesses, digital content producers and talent agencies the group produces over 1000 hours of content a year in the UK.

"In July 2020, Endemol Shine Group was acquired by Banijay, creating the world’s largest international content producer and distributor spanning 22 territories with over 120 production companies and a multi-genre catalogue boasting over 88,000 hours of original standout programming."

The group has a lone phone number on its website which does not seem to be contactable, either from outside or inside the UK. iTWire checked other numbers in London and faced no issue making contact.

A lone email address was found on the company's website, but an inquiry about the incident sent to that address has not elicited any reply, even though it was sent on the morning of 27 November and the company was given time until 10am on Tuesday (1 December) to respond.

DoppelPaymer has been used in a number of attacks this year, with the world's second biggest laptop maker Compal hit this month. The University of Newcastle in the UK was another institution to be attacked.

Boyce Technologies, a company that used its engineering expertise to develop a ventilator in a month because it was needed in New York, also fell victim to cyber criminals who used DoppelPaymer to attack the company's infrastructure in August.

Other attacks of note were on the Canada Defence Academy and on the the City of Knoxville in Tennessee and Trinity Metro in the US, all in July.

And Mitsubishi Paper, a company based in Germany, which is a part of Tokyo-based Mitsubishi Paper Mills, was attacked in June.


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Sam Varghese

Sam Varghese has been writing for iTWire since 2006, a year after the site came into existence. For nearly a decade thereafter, he wrote mostly about free and open source software, based on his own use of this genre of software. Since May 2016, he has been writing across many areas of technology. He has been a journalist for nearly 40 years in India (Indian Express and Deccan Herald), the UAE (Khaleej Times) and Australia (Daily Commercial News (now defunct) and The Age). His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.

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