Portugal's Impresa media outlets hit by hackers


FILE PHOTO: A man holds a laptop computer as cyber code is projected on him in this illustration picture taken on May 13, 2017. REUTERS/Kacper Pempel

LISBON (Reuters) - The websites of one of Portugal's biggest newspapers and of a major broadcaster, both owned by the country's largest media conglomerate Impresa, were down on Monday after being hit by a hacker attack over the weekend.

Expresso newspaper and SIC TV station both said they reported the incident to the criminal investigation police agency PJ and the National Cybersecurity Centre (CNCS) and would file a complaint.

The alleged hackers, calling themselves Lapsus$ Group, published a message on the websites saying internal data would be leaked if the media group failed to pay a ransom. The message included e-mail and Telegram contact info.

The group did not immediately reply to a Reuters request for comment.

Lapsus$, which claims that it gained access to Impresa's Amazon Web Services account, also sent a phishing e-mail to Expresso subscribers and tweeted from the newspaper's verified Twitter account.

The same group allegedly hacked Brazil's health ministry website last month, taking several systems down, including one with information about the national immunization program and another used to issue digital vaccination certificates.

CNCS's coordinator, Lino Santos, told Observador newspaper it was the first time the group launched an attack in the country.

Websites of Expresso and SIC are have been offline since Sunday, with the pages showing a message saying they are "temporarily unavailable" following the attack and would return "as soon as possible".

In the meantime, both media organisations are publishing news stories on their social media channels. They described it as an "unprecedented attack on press freedom in the digital age".

(Reporting by Catarina Demony; Editing by Inti Landauro and Louise Heavens)

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