Banijay, the production house behind popular shows like MasterChef, Black Mirror, Mr Bean, and The Kardashians, has admitted to suffering a cyber attack that resulted in the loss of the personal data of current and ex-employees as well as of commercially sensitive information.
In a cyber incident notification posted on its website last week, Banijay said the cyber incident involved hackers stealing commercially sensitive data and the personal information of current and ex-employees associated with the Endemol Shine Group and Endemol Shine International networks.
The Endemol Shine Group was acquired by Banijay from The Walt Disney Co. and Apollo Global Management Inc. for about $2.2 billion in July this year. The acquisition has made Banijay the largest international content producer and distributor with total revenue of approximately €2.7 billion (2019).
At present, Banijay boasts a catalogue of over 88,000 hours of multi-genre premium entertainment brands that include Survivor, Big Brother, Peaky Blinders, Temptation Island, MasterChef, Wallander, The Kardashians, Mr Bean, The Wall, Hunted, Black Mirror, Extreme Makeover: Home Edition and Deal or No Deal.
In the cyber incident notification, the content production giant said it is currently investigating the situation with independent specialists and has reported the incident to local authorities in both the Netherlands and the UK.
“We are continuing to take the appropriate steps and remain committed to protecting our employees, past and present, so if we do identify any cases of data being taken or misused, we will contact the affected individuals directly,” it added.
While Banijay has not expressly said so, news reports are claiming that the company suffered a major ransomware attack from hackers who are now trying to extort a ransom. According to Deadline, the data breach involved the theft of bank account information and ID records, such as passport data. The report was published three days before Banijay officially confirmed the cyber attack.
The cyber attack targeting the Endemol Shine Group took place shortly after hackers targeted the network of football club Manchester United, resulting in prolonged IT disruption and email services not working for over a week.
“Although this is a sophisticated operation by organised cyber criminals, the club has extensive protocols and procedures in place for such an event and had rehearsed for this risk. Our cyber defences identified the attack and shut down affected systems to contain the damage and protect data.
“Club media channels, including our website and app, are unaffected and we are not currently aware of any breach of personal data associated with our fans and customers. All critical systems required for matches to take place at Old Trafford remain secure and operational and tomorrow’s game against West Bromwich Albion will go ahead,” the club said.