Next Media: under cyberattack and operations disruption

Next Media, publishing group of Apple Daily, stated its operation was disrupted and its computer system was under attack yesterday after crowds gathered at the company’s headquarter.

In an official statement, the publication stated the transportation and delivery of newspapers was severely affected since Sunday night as a crowd gathered at its headquarter. Meanwhile its internal computer system was also under attack. According to Apple Daily’s report, the company’s email system, Web site and mobile apps were affected. The system failure has interrupted its real-time news publishing, newspaper production, as well as its internal business operation.

One of the employees from Next Media told Computerworld Hong Kong that the company’s network experienced “total failure” yesterday. The senior Apple Daily staff working at Next Media's office building at the Tseung Kwan O Industrial Estate said the company’s network has been unstable since 9am yesterday and it was severely affected between 1-2 pm.

"The network was a total failure, affecting not just Apple Daily, but all the publications under Next Media," said the source. During the period, access to email, Intranet and Internet were all affected, added the source.

"To produce Apple Daily, several servers are used for the purposes of storing articles, images, photographs, logos, templates. These materials are normally accessible by news reporters, news editors, image editors and the rest of the production teams," the source said. "We tried to use webmail accounts to store these materials for shared access, but Internet connection also failed afterwards."

Computerworld Hong Kong also experience difficulty on Monday late afternoon when accessing Next Media group Web site and was directed to a temporary Apple Daily Web site. The temporoary site indicated error 522 with connection timed out. Despite approaching the publication’s IT team for confirmation, no respond was received upon press time.

The source added that network connection started to revive around 5pm yesterday. The company's offical Web site was available this morning, but the temporary Apple Daily Web site remained unavailable. The official statement noted the publication has never experienced similar disruption, since its first publication in 1995.

[Updated on 14/10/2014 11:00: Apple Daily managed to publish the daily on 14 October 2014. Copies of the paper were found available on newsstands (see picture above)]