The Weather Channel's Live Programming Was Knocked Offline By Ransomware Attack

storm surge
Over the past few days, a deadly storm has been coursing its way across the southern United States heading eastward. A number of states -- including Louisiana, Mississippi, Tennessee and Georgia have been rocked by high winds, tornadoes, and flash flooding. With the storm affecting millions of Americans, many turned to The Weather Channel to get real-time updates.

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.

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