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Computer Attack Knocks Weather Channel Off The Air (#GotBitcoin?)

A computer attack knocked the Weather Channel off the air for more than an hour Thursday morning, and federal authorities are investigating the incident. Computer Attack Knocks Weather Channel Off The Air (#GotBitcoin?)

FBI investigating ransomware incident at cable channel.

After its broadcast was disrupted, the weather news service sent a tweet saying it had been the victim of “a malicious software attack,” adding that federal law-enforcement officials were investigating the matter.

A spokesman for the Federal Bureau of Investigation said the incident was a ransomware attack, and the agency was conducting an investigation.

Ransomware is an increasingly common form of digital extortion. Criminals install it on computer networks via trickery or hacking, and the software then spreads from computer to computer, locking up systems until a digital ransom is paid.

Last year, ransomware caused widespread problems at the Weather Channel’s home city, Atlanta, knocking city services offline. It has caused disruptions at FedEx Corp. , the container shipping company A.P. Moller-Maersk A/S, and—just last month—at the Norwegian mining and energy company Norsk Hydro AS .

“Authorities are actively investigating the issue,” a Weather Channel spokeswoman said Thursday afternoon. She said the channel was able to restore the programming quickly through backup mechanisms. “We apologize for any inconvenience to viewers as we work to resolve the matter.”

When the morning show went dark, the Weather Channel’s Twitter account stated in several tweets it was experiencing technical difficulties. Shortly after restoring the broadcast, it sent a tweet regarding the attack.

The outage came at a difficult time for viewers. Earlier Thursday, the National Weather Service warned that severe weather could come to the Southeastern U.S. bringing the possibility of tornadoes, flash flooding and severe thunderstorms.

The Atlanta-based network, which is owned by Entertainment Studios Inc., is known for its 24-hours-seven-days a week weather coverage across the country. The channel’s viewership has fallen in recent years, as consumers continue to cut the cord from traditional pay-TV packages in favor of lower-priced streaming services.

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