Over half of worldwide news media outlets have suffered some form of cyber-attack

Over 50 per cent of media companies across the world have been victim to some sort of cyber-attack according to a global study by Newscycle Solutions.

News media sites vulnerable to cyber hacks

Of those surveyed 52 per cent of media companies said since the beginning of 2014 they had either been hacked or suffered a data breach, 12 per cent said they were unsure of their business had been attacked or compromised.

The two most common types of cyber-attacks reported were phishing (59 per cent) and malware (51 per cent), with the 49 per cent Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks by hackers a particular concern.

Peter March, vice president of marketing at Newscycle Solutions, commented: "With cyber-attacks and data breaches continuing to grow in scale, sophistication and frequency publishers must take every step possible to protect themselves from those who seek to silence their voices and steal their valuable data.

"Cyber-security must become a board-level priority for all news media businesses. It's a war. It's spreading. And, every user must become part of the fight."

100 senior technology managers, directors and executives working at newspapers and online publishers worldwide were canvassed for the survey with one respondent telling researchers: "We bolster our systems to prevent cyber-attacks yet we find that social engineering ploys against user will sometimes get past these systems.

Respondents told of a range of attacks including SQL injection, ransomware and mobile site and social media hacks. 65 per cent of those asked said they had bolstered their cyber-security efforts in the past six months.

They survey comes in the wake of a "significant and sustained" cyber-attack on TalkTalk which saw the details of up to 4m customers breached.