Entercom Communications Corp., the owner of 235 radio stations, was apparently hacked over the weekend, freezing its emails and causing computer systems to crash, according to The Philadelphia Inquirer citing published reports and sources.
The hackers — in what some call ransomware — have asked for $500,000, according to the reports.
Two sources at the company said Entercom phone and email has been down for a few days, with employees communicating with one another via cell phone conference calls.
“We are experiencing a disruption of some IT systems, including email,” the company told Chicago media blogger Robert Feder. “We apologize for any inconvenience and are working around the clock to resolve this issue.”
Among the systems affected were telephones, music scheduling, production, billing, and other internal digital systems, reports said. There also was concern whether the company could process the direct-deposit payroll on Friday.
Entercom is the nation’s second-largest radio station group, behind the iHeartMedia.
Entercom was the third national station group owner to be attacked recently with ransomware. The others were Townsquare Media and Radio One.
Entercom is not paying the ransom, and that the costs to fix the attack will go well beyond the $500,000.