The German daily ‘Heilbronner Stimme’ has been forced to cancel Monday’s paper edition due to a computer attack, its editor-in-chief, Uwe Ralf Heer, has been able to confirm to DPA.
The paper is already working on a 24-page digital edition that will be available on Monday free of charge. It is unclear when the printed newspaper will be back in print.
Several systems of the Stimme media group were encrypted Friday night during a computer attack. The company has reported that it has received a letter from the alleged perpetrators, which points to an extortion attempt. It appears to be a known group of cyber criminals.
Heer has pointed out that the IT department and external IT experts were able to create a parallel production environment in a very short time. “To me, it’s a miracle,” he noted. If all goes according to plan, employees will be able to continue working in a new digital environment.
‘Heilbronner Stimme’ was able to go live on Saturday with an emergency edition. The stimme.de website was still available on the weekend with news updates. Heer said that at first the journalists worked from their private computers, from home, but now they are all in the newsroom.
Normally, according to the company, the dailies ‘Heilbronner Stimme’, ‘Hohenloher Zeitung’ and ‘Kraichgau Stimme’ have a circulation of 75,000. Also part of the Stimme group are the companies Pressedruck, Echo and RegioMail, which were also reportedly affected by the attack.
German media have been subjected to cyber attacks with increasing frequency in recent years. Some of them paralyzed newspaper production for weeks.