The Weather Channel's Live Programming Was Knocked Offline By Ransomware Attack
However, The Weather Channel was knocked offline for more than an hour on Thursday morning following a ransomware attack. Or as rock star meteorologist Jim Cantore explained on-air, "The Weather Channel, sadly, has been the victim of a malicious software attack today."
The AMHQ live morning show was scheduled to start at 6am EST on Thursday, but didn't actually come on air until around 7:40am EST. In a tweet, The Weather Channel explained that it was able to restore its live programming at a relatively fast pace thanks to "backup mechanisms" that it had in place in case of such a cyber-intrusion.
Federal authorities are investigating the attack, and according to an FBI representative that spoke to The Wall Street Journal, the network was indeed hit by a ransomware attack. Without the backup systems in place, it's likely that The Weather Channel could have been taken off the air for a lot longer than just an hour and a half. The longer that a network like The Weather Channel is offer the air, the longer that people can’t get critical updates on storm tracking and important weather-related information.
The Weather Channel is one of the most watched networks in the United States and the attackers probably thought that they have a lucrative target that would be willing to fork over big bucks to gets their systems back online -- especially with a severe storm system barreling down on much of the company. Luckily, the attackers went home empty-handed.