Putin on the fritz: Russia suspects in Nine attack
An unprecedented cyber attack against a major Australian television network yesterday caused chaos with Channel 9's Sydney programming, preventing live shows from going to air throughout the day.
The stunning day-long outage was last night being linked to Russia, with Nine preparing to air a highly-critical program about President Vladimir Putin tonight.
The network was forced to broadcast its nightly Sydney news bulletin from Melbourne after the cyber attack took Nine's studios offline.
The company confirmed a cyber attack was to blame for the huge technical outage that prevented live programs - including the flagship news bulletin, the NRL Sunday Footy Show and Weekend Today - from going to air.
In a staff email last night, employees "in all markets" were told to "work from home until further notice".
"There has been a cyber attack on our systems that has disrupted live broadcasts out of Nine Sydney," the email read.
The attack meant that Weekend Today host Richard Wilkins - who was among Sydney's glamour set enjoying the Hamilton premiere on Saturday night - arrived bright and early yesterday, but was unable to present his show alongside co-host Rebecca Maddern and newsreader Jayne Azzopardi.
Instead, morning viewers were forced to sit through a re-run of the talk show Ellen followed by a Great Barrier Reef nature special narrated by Russell Crowe.
The cyber attack continued to decimate the network throughout the day, with the 6pm news bulletin in Sydney replaced by a simulcast program produced out of Melbourne and catering for both markets. Adelaide and Brisbane's local bulletins went to air as normal.
The issues started on Saturday night, when staff at the North Sydney studio were unable to log on to their computers.
A source told The Daily Telegraph that some reporters flew to the Melbourne office on Sunday to use older equipment, which allows information to be entered manually compared to Sydney's newer "automated" system.
Perhaps unwilling or unable to acknowledge the hack at first, Nine's head of corporate affairs Nic Christensen initially put the drama down to "technical issues''.
With live programming from Sydney impossible, Melbourne's AFL Sunday Footy Show went to air nationally.
Nine is tonight set to air an episode of Liz Hayes' Under Investigation program aimed at the Russian President, with the network promoting it as an expose on Putin's "deadly campaign of chemical assassination''.
Originally published as Putin on the fritz: Russia suspects in Nine attack