The Weather Channel’s live TV programming was knocked off the air for about 90 minutes on Wednesday by computer criminals. While the network struggled to recover from the attack, taped programming aired, beginning at about 6 a.m, according to CNN. Live broadcast was restored at around 7:30 a.m., but the station appeared to be broadcasting from a backup location.
The hack was ill-timed, as several regions around the country were dealing with severe weather on Wednesday morning. It did not appear to impact other parts of Weather Channel programming, such as the service’s smartphone app. The Weather Channel’s digital assets are owned by IBM Corp; the TV channel was purchased from Comcast Corp. by Entertainment Studios in 2018.
Anchor Jim Cantore confirmed on air that the station was hit by hackers.
“The Weather Channel, sadly, has been the victim of a malicious software attack today,” said anchor Jim Cantore. The network confirmed the attack via Twitter at around 8 a.m.
“We experienced issues with today’s live broadcast following a malicious software attack on the network,” The Weather Channel posted on its Twitter feed. “We were able to restore live programming quickly through backup mechanisms. Federal law enforcement is actively investigating the issue. We apologize for any inconvenience to viewers as we work to resolve the matter.”
It was not immediately clear how hackers entered Weather Channel systems.
Live TV hacks are extremely rare. In 2015, France’s TV5Monde was taken off air, and a group calling itself the Cyber Caliphate, linked to so-called Islamic State, claimed responsibility. According to the BBC, the station was nearly “destroyed” by the attack.
There were no immediate suspects or obvious claims of responsibility for the Weather Channel attack. It did come only hours before a major news event in the U.S. — release of the Mueller report investigating Russian meddling in the U.S. election and potential obstruction or collusion by the Trump campaign.