The News Corp building on March 20, 2019, in New York, NY. The Wall Street Journal reported on February 4, 2022, that the conglomerate's media publications had been targeted in a hack believed to be linked to China. (Getty Images via AFP/Kevin Hagen )

CPJ condemns cyberattack on News Corp media publications

Washington, D.C., February 7, 2022—The Committee to Protect Journalists on Monday expressed grave concern about the cyberattack on News Corp that gave hackers access to journalists’ emails and other documents, and urged Chinese authorities to conduct a thorough investigation into who was behind the attack. 

The Wall Street Journal reported on Friday that the attack was discovered on January 20, and affected the paper, along with its parent company Dow Jones; the New York Post; News Corp’s operations in the United Kingdom; and the conglomerate’s headquarters in the United States.

A vice president at Mandiant, the cybersecurity firm hired by News Corp to investigate the attack, said the attack has “a China nexus” and that the hackers were “likely involved in espionage activities to collect intelligence to benefit China’s interests,” The Wall Street Journal reported. According to the Journal, a spokesman for the Chinese Embassy in Washington, D.C., said that China was firmly opposed to cyberattacks “in all forms.”

“We are greatly concerned by the recent hacking of News Corp and its publications, which compromise journalists’ ability to protect their unreported source material,” said CPJ U.S. and Canada Program Coordinator Katherine Jacobsen. “We urge Chinese authorities to conduct a thorough investigation into the origins of this hack so it can lend credence to its denials that it is behind years of cyberattacks on media outlets.”   

“We are committed to protecting our journalists and sources. We will not be deterred from our purpose—to provide uniquely trusted journalism and analysis,” said Almar Latour, chief executive of Dow Jones and publisher of The Wall Street Journal, according to the Journal article, citing a News Corp staff memo.

CPJ has documented China’s history of employing cyberattacks against journalists and outlets as a way to deter and curtail critical coverage.