MasterChef, Big Brother, Black Mirror & Bear Grylls Show producer company is infected with ransomware

Recent reports indicate that a multimillion-dollar TV producer has been targeted by a ransomware attack detected late last week. Banijay SAS has more than 120 production houses worldwide, as well as owning popular television titles such as MasterChef, Big Brother, Black Mirror, among others.

In its most recent update on the situation, the company mentions that its IT teams are addressing a cybersecurity incident affecting the networks of Endemol Shine Group and Endemol Shine International, Dutch companies that were acquired by Banijay in mid-2020. Although the company makes no mention of a ransomware attack, sources close to the incident claim that cybercriminals are extorting Banijay executives.

However, the company acknowledged that threat actors may have stolen sensitive data: “We have reason to believe that certain personal data of former and current employees may have been compromised, as well as sensitive business information,” the company’s release states. “We will continue to take appropriate steps to address the incident, as well as endorse our commitment to protecting our employees and former employees.”

Since Banijay recognized potential data theft, the cybersecurity community speculates on a “double extortion” attack. This condition occurs when, in addition to encrypting victims’ systems, hackers also extract sensitive information from the company and threaten to post it on hacking forums if their demands are not met.

The company is already supported by a cybersecurity firm, and authorities in the Netherlands and the UK have already been notified. The measures the company will take are still unknown, although most cybersecurity specialists recommend not trying to negotiate with threat actors, as this practice only encourages more organizations around the world to suffer from attacks by these groups.