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Mar 15, 2019 9:56 AMPublication: The Southampton Press

Town's Public Access Channel, SEA-TV, Programming On Hold After Computers Hacked With Crypto Virus

SEA-TV was down since Tuesday after the local station's servers were infected by a virus. GREG WEHNER
Mar 19, 2019 3:48 PM

Computers owned by SEA-TV, the public access television station that broadcasts local government programing to residents of Southampton, were hacked last week, prohibiting the station from being able to transmit shows on Altice (Cablevision) channel 22.

The outage began on Tuesday, March 12, and since then the station has displayed a blue screen with the words: “This channel is temporarily off the air for maintenance. Programming will resume as soon as possible.”

Southampton Town Supervisor Jay Schneiderman said a power outage on Tuesday morning caused the server system at the station to reboot, and when it was back up and running, the files were encrypted and the computers were infected by a crypto virus, which encrypts all files on the machine and demands a ransom to reverse the damage.

“When we powered on the machine, the virus took effect and everything on the machine was encrypted,” Sara Pleat, the audio visual aide at the station said on Thursday, March 14, adding that a text file was on the screen that directed the user to download a torrent to set up a bitcoin account to pay the ransom. “The virus could have been dormant. When we powered up the machine, that seemed to trigger the virus.”

Ms. Pleat said about 20 terabytes of video were on the hard drives that the virus attacked, many of which were backed up on other hard drives and computers.

All of the infected hard drives were taken by the Suffolk County Police cyber security team for investigation.

The outage not only affects the television broadcasts but also impacts the station’s website, seatvsouthampton.com, which appeared to be down this week.

Ms. Pleat said on Tuesday that a loaner machine was expected to arrive by Wednesday and would be online as soon as possible.

Anyone who wants to watch Town Board or any town regulatory board meetings live still can go to the town’s website, southamptontownny.gov, and stream them from there.

“In terms of overall impact, we’ll put new hard drives in place,” Mr. Schneiderman said. “We should be up and running pretty soon. In terms of any lost information … the only thing on these hard drives were these television shows you see on Sea-TV. We have backups of pretty much all of it.

“At the end of the day, the loss will be minimal or none. We’ll be able to put it back together,” he added.

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Curious to hear the ransom. In BTC?
By Agawam Yacht Club (69), Southampton on Mar 15, 19 10:15 AM
By Pacman (253), Southampton on Mar 15, 19 6:22 PM
Lmao I dont believe it. Altice wont even give full bandwidth a joke
By chief1 (2726), southampton on Mar 15, 19 6:51 PM
It is sad how common these sort of attacks are. IMHO these acts are and should be given the attention due terrorism. The culprits hunted down and eliminated or sent to Gitmo.
By bird (785), Sag Harbor on Mar 16, 19 1:07 PM
No mention of which cryptovirus variant was used? Or, which software suite missed detecting the malware? Or (unlikely) was this a zero day variant.
By Mr. Z (11376), North Sea on Mar 17, 19 8:59 AM
"According to research from Emsisoft, the cyber security company Fabian works for, a computer is attacked every two seconds.

Their network has managed to prevent 2584105 infections in the past 60 days - and that’s just one anti-virus firm of dozens around the world."
By dfree (743), hampton bays on Mar 17, 19 10:51 AM
Some of them are even written to volatile memory, and dust their own tracks.
By Mr. Z (11376), North Sea on Mar 18, 19 7:21 PM
... any collusion?
By William Rodney (544), southampton on Mar 17, 19 5:38 PM
The only collusion was between Hillary and the Russians in creating the fake dossier , illegally used to obtain the FISA warrant. The truth hurts , make way for the alt left apologists to spew their vile , anti Trump hatred.
By bigfresh (4384), north sea on Mar 17, 19 9:27 PM
1 member liked this comment
8k run & 3 mile walk, Agawam Park, Southampton Rotary Club fundraiser