Tuesday, November 05, 2013

IT warns of 'deliberate' campaign to infiltrate network to 'embarrass' or 'disrupt our business'

Amid earlier reports of cyberattacks against The New York Times and other major media, Corporate's information technology department this morning warned employees in an email that Gannett, too, believes it's vulnerable: "We know there is a very deliberate campaign to infiltrate our company’s technology infrastructure in order to embarrass us and disrupt our business."

The email doesn't give any details, including whether IT has already experienced attacks. And it doesn't reveal identities of suspected attackers or their reasons for targeting the company. Employees were advised to take precautions when asked to provide information or perform certain tasks. (Full email text, below.)

Media organizations have long drawn critics on a range of local, national and foreign issues, and their protest methods certainly predate computer networks.

But modern IT systems make it easier to cause major disruptions through computer viruses when large companies like Gannett link all their operations on a single network.

Text of email
Gannett Information Technology has been informed that a Gannett location received several reports of employees receiving calls on their work and cell phone numbers from unknown persons asking these employees to provide or update personal information. These cold-callers may be masquerading as technical support or security personnel asking you to go to a web site, type a command into your computer or ask for information pertaining to network equipment such as printers or computers.

When receiving calls where someone is asking you to provide information or perform certain tasks, please take precautionary measures. Always ask for the callers full name and let the caller know that you will call him or her back through your normal IT support channels. Then, contact your local IT support (xXXXX) to verify the request. If the call is legitimate, they will know about the activity and be able to verify the identity of the person.

We know there is a very deliberate campaign to infiltrate our company’s technology infrastructure in order to embarrass us and disrupt our business. We need your continued help to thwart these efforts.

  • Please continue to be cognizant of Gannett's Byte Back program.
  • DO NOT provide personal or company information to unknown persons without first verifying their identity
  • End User awareness is critical to successfully defeating these types of attacks
Thank you for taking the necessary steps to keep our systems and data secure.


  1. The Clarion-Ledger does a good job of embarrassing itself on a daily basis, from poor grammar and typos out the wazzoo to ignoring major news stories.

  2. someone give them the login information for High School Sports, maybe they'll fix it.

    1. HighSchoolSports.net, now USA TODAY High School Sports or whatever it is they're calling it these days, was/is the WORST POS website/program Gannett ever made us use. It was worthless and embarrassing 4 years ago and never got any better. I got out awhile back and haven't even looked at that site in more than a year and don't intend to ever look again. It was a total embarrassment for Gannett and the Gannett paper I worked for, and an example of the piss-poor work Gannett thought was good.

    2. There really needs to be a "like" button. 1:00 p.m. & 3:15 p.m. hit the nail on the head.

  3. Why would anyone bother sabotaging Gannett. Corporate is self-destructing (and looting) the company all by itself.

    I wouldn't be surprised if this "warning" was an attempt by some self-important suit to pretend Gannett is as attractive a target as the New York Times.

  4. These hackers are all from the NYT and WSJ and they are trying to tap Gannett circulation records to see if we are REALLY dumb enough to believe that 7 million free app downloads constitute paid circulation.


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