US publisher Macmillan confirms cyberattack forced systems offline

Macmillan, one of the largest book publishers in the U.S., said it has been hit by a cyberattack that forced it to shut down its IT systems. 

Macmillan spokesperson Erin Coffey told TechCrunch that the company recently experienced a “security incident” that “involved the encryption of certain files on our network.” The attack struck the company on June 25, according to reports, and also impacted its U.K. branch, known as Pan Macmillan.

While the company declined to answer further questions on the nature of the incident or how its systems were compromised, the use of encryption by the hackers indicates that it was ransomware. The attack has not yet been claimed by any major ransomware groups, and it remains unclear whether any sensitive data was stolen.

“As a precautionary measure, we immediately took systems offline to prevent further impact to our network,” Coffey added. “We are working diligently with specialists to investigate the source of this issue, understand its impact on our systems, and to restore full functionality to our networks as soon as possible.

“Customers and other third-party partners may notice that certain systems are unavailable while these efforts are underway. Please know that the Macmillan team is working around the clock on this restoration and installation of additional network safeguards.”

As a result of the cyber incident, Macmillan also closed its virtual and physical offices in New York, with staff tweeting that they had no access to their systems, emails and files as a result. Publishers Weekly, which first broke the news of the cyberattack, notes that Macmillan’s sales team was also warning that disruption could cause delays in book shipments.

Macmillan told TechCrunch that it has already begun bringing systems back online, but remains unable to process orders. 

“We are bringing certain systems back online, including those that we took offline as a precautionary measure,” Coffee said. “For the U.S., we are accepting orders electronically, but are unable to process them at this time. We will continue to communicate updates as they come.”