U.S. Press Freedom Tracker

Fast Company disables website after cyberattack results in ‘vile’ push alerts, posts

Incident Details

October 5, 2022 - Update

Fast Company website back online eight days after cyberattack

On Oct. 5, 2022, Fast Company relaunched its website, FastCompany.com, after it was forced offline for eight days by a cyberattack.

In a statement posted on its website, Fast Company said the attack targeted its content management system, the software used to create the site, and hijacked its home page, “replacing every headline with an obscene and racist message that proudly claimed credit for the intrusion.”

Editor-in-chief Brendan Vaughan wrote the company made a “painful decision” to shut FastCompany.com, its sister publication, Inc.com and its corporate website, Mansueto.com, in order to conduct a thorough investigation of the attack.

After the investigation, Vaughan confirmed that the attackers didn’t access any personal customer information and the company took safeguards against more attacks.

September 25, 2022

Fast Company, a business and technology magazine based in New York City, shut down its website after a cyberattack led to “obscene and racist” posts and Apple News push notifications.

In a tweeted statement, Fast Company said the attack on its content management system appeared to be related to a Sept. 25, 2022, hack of FastCompany.com in which similar language was posted on the site. The first incident forced the website offline for two hours while the company restored the page.

Two days later, following the unauthorized Apple News alerts, the organization said it would disable its website and Apple News feed during its investigation into the attacks.

“The messages are vile and are not in line with the content and ethos of Fast Company,” the company tweeted. “We are investigating the situation and have shut down FastCompany.com until the situation has been resolved.”

Immediately after the Sept. 27 attack, the U.S. Press Freedom Tracker confirmed that accessing the magazine’s website resulted in a “404 Not Found” message. When accessed on Sept. 29, FastCompany.com redirected to a statement mirroring those published on Twitter.

According to the statement, Fast Company is continuing to publish its news and analysis across the magazine’s social media platforms. It is unclear how long the website will be unavailable, or who was responsible for the attack.

Before it was removed from the site, a post about the attack shared that the hackers got access through a password that was shared across many accounts, The Verge reported.

Fast Company did not respond to a request for comment from the Tracker, but it tweeted that a “global incident response and cybersecurity firm” would lead an investigation.

The U.S. Press Freedom Tracker catalogues press freedom violations in the United States. Email tips to [email protected].