U.S. Press Freedom Tracker

Ransomware attack delays two daily newspapers in Utah

Incident Details

September 5, 2022

Two Utah newspapers — the Standard-Examiner and its sister paper, the Provo Daily Herald — were forced to delay the delivery of daily print newspapers after a ransomware attack targeted the Standard-Examiner’s computer network on Sept. 5, 2022.

The Standard-Examiner reported that the attack, which caused an outage at the newspapers’ shared plant in Ogden, was believed to have come from an infected email sent by unknown intruders.

In ransomware attacks, hackers use malicious software, or “malware,” to seize control of a company’s IT and digital assets and demand the company pay a ransom for their return.

The Standard-Examiner reported that its IT staff initially detected the intrusion on Sept. 5, after the system had already been compromised, delaying the newspapers’ Sept. 6 print edition until the following day.

The Standard-Examiner’s website and digital newspaper, standard.net, were not affected by the attack, according to the outlet. Tim Swietek, information technology director for Ogden Newspapers of Utah, told the Standard-Examiner that the intruders did not gain access to the cloud computers containing most of the newspaper’s data.

The compromised computer network was repaired the next day, Swietek told the Standard-Examiner, and normal printing resumed.

Neither the Standard-Examiner nor the Daily Herald responded to requests for comment.

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