Marketron

Marketron was hit with a cyberattack over the weekend that is impacting all 6,000 of its customers and has taken virtually all of its services offline. According to CEO Jim Howard, the Russian criminal organization BlackMatter is responsible for the breach, which impacted its Marketron Traffic, Visual Traffic Cloud, Exchange and Advertiser Portal services.

While the company’s RadioTraffic and RepPak services were not impacted, Marketron says they were taken offline out of an abundance of caution. The Pitch platform is online and currently not impacted.

“Marketron recently discovered a cyberattack involving certain aspects of our network infrastructure that is causing an interruption in our normal business operations,” VP of Marketing Bo Bandy told Inside Radio. “Immediately upon learning of this event, we took swift action to notify law enforcement, secure our systems and information, and contain the event.”

The company, which manages $5 billion in annual U.S. advertising revenue, says it’s working with third-party specialists to assist in its response and recovery efforts, which include working to investigate the source and root cause, understand the full nature and scope of the event, and to restore full functionality. “We are also working to confirm the security of our systems and to assess the existing security measures we have in place to protect the integrity of our systems and data,” Bandy said.

Marketron's customers were informed about the breach Sunday night in an email from CEO Jim Howard. 

“This issue comes despite significant recent investments in separating backup and disaster recovery in different physical and network environments, instituting ‘zero trust’ access management policies, and new security detection and recovery tools,” Howard said in the email. “We have not yet discovered how the hackers exploited our networks.”

Howard said the company is communicating with both BlackMatter and the FBI and using all of its resources to restore systems as quickly as possible. The company has set up a status page to keep clients informed and set up a help line for customers at 888-239-8878 or via email at help@marketron.com.

Media companies have been an enticing target for hackers trying to get past digital firewalls and set off ransomware attacks that hold company computers hostage until money is paid – or the attack can be fended off. Salem Media Group disclosed in August 2020 that a ransomware attack had infiltrated some of its operational and information technology systems. A 2019 attack on Urban One cost the company more than $1 million. And Entercom (now Audacy) was attacked in September 2019 when hackers broke into its email servers and demanded $500,000 in ransom.