On Saturday of Thanksgiving weekend, ProImage received an urgent phone call from The Kingsport (Tennessee) Times-News, owned by Six Rivers Media, LLC. It was the first newspaper to serve Kingsport and, at first, was printed weekly as the “Progress” in Johnson City. It later started semi-weekly editions and thrived with the prospering city. Daily publication began in 1924.
Dan Strickler, system manager, received a cell phone call from one of their morning weekend employees stating that the phone system was not operable. Strickler states: “After checking the phone system's power and finding everything normal, I noticed that we were unable to access our virtual systems that run our data center. It is believed that an internal user opened a malicious hyperlink. It appears that the malicious program ran early morning on Saturday, Oct. 28, 2023.”
The Faust ransomware, a Phobos ransomware family variant, had encrypted the entire Virtual SAN infrastructure. The encryption caused the staff to have to rebuild the system. After restoring the infrastructure, the long problematic recovery process was begun.
The ransomware also encrypted the in-house ProImage NewsWayX workflow system servers, so there was no way to output pages internally. Chris Jones, prepress supervisor, reached out to ProImage at 7:30 p.m. to see what they could possibly do to help the newspaper through this situation.
Tony, at ProImage support, reached back out to Chris Jones within minutes of his initial support call. Jones says: “Tony was able to work with us and setup a cloud instance for us to use to process the pages via FTP. This process worked well, and within two and a half hours, ProImage cloud workflow was operational, and we had no problems getting the pages processed and output through our CTP systems. We were able to produce pages and deliver a printed product to our customers on Monday morning. All five of our publications had to be moved to the cloud. We have two daily newspapers and three weeklies that publish every Wednesday.”
“We had several folks from different companies help during the recovery process, but we felt ProImage was the best support team we worked with, and we are grateful for the help they provided,” stated Strickler. “We were also surprised to find out that ProImage has over 60 customers using NewsWayX in a Cloud workflow environment,” mentioned Tim Archer, vice president of operations.
Cloud benefits and decision:
The Kingsport Times-News has since decided to move to ProImage’s AWS-based redundant NewsWayX Cloud workflow permanently. The ProImage-hosted solution provides The Kingsport Times-News publications a custom workflow on its Cloud servers with no single point of failure. Their users have logons just as if the servers were local — to softproof, approve and track pages and plates. Plate-ready Tiffs are automatically sent to their local CTP devices for output. ProImage maintains the servers, RIPs and software so versions are always current and protects against future virus threats.
New ProImage, an ECO3 Company is a leading developer of browser-based automated workflow, ink optimization, press registration, color image processing and production tracking solutions for the commercial and newspaper printing and publishing industries. Using a standard internet browser, ProImage's advanced workflow technologies offer the printing industry flexible and feature-rich end-to-end automated workflow management.
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