Philadelphia Inquirer

The Philadelphia Inquirer, a prominent daily newspaper in Philadelphia, experienced a significant data breach in May 2023. As the largest newspaper by circulation in the city and one of the longest-operating dailies in the United States, the Inquirer holds a substantial readership and reputation. 

The breach was detected after the Inquirer’s content management system unexpectedly dropped. Attackers gained unauthorized access to the newspaper’s systems between May 11, 2023, and May 13, 2023. 

The stolen data included personal and financial information of 25,549 individuals. 

Specifically, the exposed information consisted of: 

  • Names and other personal identifiers 
  • Financial account numbers 
  • Credit/debit card numbers (in combination with security codes, access codes, passwords, or PINs)

While the exact weakneses remain undisclosed, potential vulnerabilities could include: 

  • System Vulnerabilities: Exploiting unpatched software or misconfigured systems. 
  • Third-Party Risks: Assessing security practices of vendors or partners. 
  • Insufficient Access Controls: Weak controls allowing unauthorized access. 

This data breach has been discovered as follows:

  • The Inquirer became aware of suspicious activity on May 13, 2023. 
  • Third-party cyber specialists were engaged to investigate the breach. 
  • The breach was likely discovered through monitoring or incident response efforts. 

The breach affected over 25,000 individuals, exposing their personal and financial details; among other consequences, we can mention:

  • Home-delivery subscribers were asked to catch up with news via the Inquirer’s website, which remained unaffected. 
  • No payment information or passwords were compromised. 

The company’s response and recovery strategy has been:

  • The Inquirer notified affected individuals and offered 24 months of free Experian credit monitoring and identity restoration services. 
  • The nature of the attack was not publicly disclosed. 
  • The Cuba ransomware gang claimed responsibility, but the Inquirer disputed the authenticity of leaked documents. 
  • The FBI and CISA have been involved in investigating the incident. 

To prevent similar breaches: 

  • Strengthen system security and access controls. 
  • Regularly assess third-party security practices. 
  • Enhance incident detection and response capabilities. 

And remember: Even reputable organizations like the Inquirer are vulnerable to cyberattacks; swift response, transparency, and proactive security measures are critical.