Star Tribune Data Breach?

Star Tribune Data Breach?

Maybe not, newspaper spokesman says, but users are urged to change passwords anyway.

On Monday, Star Tribune management and tech staffers were trying to determine if hackers had breached the company’s web site.

“A couple of tech sites are reporting about a hacking group that claims to have breached a number of web sites … and they claim that they have Star Tribune subscriber user names and passwords and are trying to sell them,” Steve Yaeger, spokesman for Star Tribune, told Twin Cities Business.

Tech web site ZDNet posted a story over the weekend about a group called “ShinyHunters,” which claims to have breached 10 company web sites including Star Tribune. There appears to be little pattern to the targeted companies, which include a South Korean fashion platform, an Indonesian online retailer, and the Washington, D.C.-based Chronicle of Higher Education. The Star Tribune is the only U.S. daily newspaper on the list.

But Star Tribune tech experts haven’t yet been able to find evidence that hackers actually breached its site.

“We actually have not been able to verify whether a breach actually occurred … We don’t see evidence of it, but of course, we’re responding as though it has happened,” said Yaeger. “Just out of caution we’re recommending that all of our subscribers change their password.”

Star Tribune has approximately 185,000 subscribers with digital access.

ZDNet reported that the databases were being listed for sale on a “dark web” sites. The entire Star Tribune database is being offered for $1,100.

Star Tribune sent out an email alert to subscribers on Monday afternoon alerting them to a “possible breach of our website login database.” In the note signed by Strib publisher Michael Klingensmith, the media company stressed that it does not store customers’ financial information in its system.

Without credit card numbers, the possibly breached data would simply allow people to log into the Star Tribune web site without subscribing.

“It’s logins people use to log on and read the news,” says Yaeger. “They have value to our subscribers. I don’t know what value that has to hackers.”