Publication of the Los Angeles Times and other U.S. newspapers was hampered Saturday by a suspected malware computer virus attack from outside the United States resulting in delayed distribution and several missing sections, problems that could persist Sunday, Times officials said.
Spokeswoman Hillary Manning told reporters Times’ crews are working to fix the issues, but said deliveries Sunday may still be affected in some areas. The Times websites and mobile applications were not affected, officials said.
“We apologize to our customers for this inconvenience,” Times officials said in a statement. “Thank you for your patience and support as we respond to this ongoing matter.”
The Times downtown facility also prints the San Diego Union-Tribune, the Chicago Tribune, Baltimore Sun and other newspapers plus the West Coast editions of the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times.
Katie Waldman, a spokeswoman for the federal Department of Homeland Security, said the cyber attack is under review.
“We are aware of reports of a potential cyber incident affecting several news outlets, and are working with our government and industry partners to better understand the situation,” she said in a statement.
A spokeswoman at the FBI’s Los Angeles field office would neither confirm nor deny that their agency is investigating the apparent attack.
The Times reported in its online edition at 4:55 p.m. that the cyber attack “appears to have originated from outside the United States.”
The virus caused production problems at the California Times printing plant in downtown Los Angeles, where the Times and other publications are printed.
The San Diego Union-Tribune was unable to make Saturday delivery of its print addition, and distribution of the Southern California editions of the Wall Street Journal and The New York Times were affected as well.
The Times said the company “is investigating whether the computer problems were the result of a cyber attack by a third party.”
Times officials said the issue — which apparently began late Thursday night — was first detected Friday. Technology teams made significant progress in fixing the problem, but were unable to clear all systems before press time.
In an update Saturday afternoon, the paper said that all publications within The Times’ former parent company, Tribune Publishing, had problems with print production Saturday. Tribune Publishing sold The Times and the San Diego Union-Tribune to Los Angeles biotech billionaire Dr. Patrick Soon-Shiong in June, but the companies continue to share various systems, including software.
“Every market across the company was impacted,” said Marisa Kollias, spokesperson for Tribune Publishing. That includes: The Chicago Tribune, Baltimore Sun, Annapolis Capital-Gazette, Hartford Courant, New York Daily News, Orlando Sentinel and Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel.
L.A. Times distribution director Joe Robidoux said he expects the majority of Times subscribers received their papers later than usual on Saturday. Those who didn’t were expected to get the Saturday edition with their regularly scheduled delivery Sunday.