On Tuesday, January 25th, 2022, Loudspeaker was hit with a ransomware attack which wiped out the contents of our music library and system that we use to power our primary service, Loudspeaker One. This attack wasn't specifically aimed at Loudspeaker, but was rather a wide-ranging attack that targeted customers of a particular brand of infrastructure provider. Sadly, our situation was not unique – this affected over 36,000 systems around the world. The attackers were able to lock our files behind a ransom demand of 0.03 Bitcoin (or approximately $1100 USD). If we agreed to pay this price, the attackers would provide a way to unlock access to our files.
While security researchers were able to mitigate the continued attack, the damage had already been done, and at the time of writing this post, the method used to lock the files has not been reversed, and those files are likely gone forever. What this meant for Loudspeaker was that the music library we've been building for years (even prior to the launch of the network) was reduced to zero. Thankfully, we did have contingencies in place so that we could continue broadcasting, which we did for nearly ten days until Loudspeaker One resumed normal programming on Friday, February 4 at approximately 1pm Eastern time. Even more blessing was the fact that while we lost music, we did not lose any of our original programming, and those archives are safe.
We consider ransomware attacks to be terrorism. These attackers are often linked in some way to sophisticated organized crime rings in the US, Europe, and elsewhere, and we do not negotiate with terrorists. We don’t fund their operations. We don’t incentivize them to continue victimizing others.
In the early days of dealing with this crisis, I (Chris) was also diagnosed with COVID-19, and was largely out of commission for several days. Our Executive Producer Charles Joseph Kelly and Music Director Corbin David Albaugh worked around the clock to rebuild playlists and source new copies of enough music to restore normal programming, and I cannot thank them enough for their dedication and attention to ensuring that we weren't "offline" for very long. Make no mistake: without Charles and Corbin, there is no Loudspeaker.
There's no telling how long it will take to fully rebuild our library, but we learned an important lesson. Back up your data. Then back it up again somewhere else. We recommend following the "3-2-1" strategy, and you can read more about what that means over at Backblaze. Never have a single point of failure. If it can fail, there is a time when it will, and when that happens, you want to be prepared.
Don't wait until it's too late.
It's going to cost us a significant amount of money and time to rebuild our library. If you'd like to support the effort, there are two ways you can help: