Iowa PBS cancels pledge campaign after ‘suspicious’ cyber activity

Iowa PBS cancels pledge campaign after ‘suspicious’ cyber activity
Iowa PBS cancels pledge campaign after ‘suspicious’ cyber activity

JOHNSTON — An apparent cybersecurity breach caused Iowa PBS to cancel the remainder of its annual fall pledge campaign.

A spokeswoman for Iowa PBS confirmed the issue on Tuesday, which did not impact the station’s ability to air programming.

“In the early hours of Sunday morning, Iowa PBS became aware of suspicious activity on our network systems. We quickly brought in systems experts to help us identify the problem,” Iowa PBS spokeswoman Susan Ramsey said in a statement.

Ramsey said no further information about the issue — including personal information, if any, that was compromised — will be released this time around, citing state law that says cybersecurity information are confidential.

The incident led the Iowa PBS Friends Foundation, the station’s governing body, to cancel the remainder of the Fall Festival, which is the station’s pledge campaign. This decision will likely mean a significant reduction in donations to the station; According to a recent state analysis, about half of the station’s annual revenue comes from contributions and grants.

“While this means a significant loss of donor revenue during this time, we believe it is in the best interest of the people of Iowa we serve,” the statement said. “We are more concerned with maintaining public trust and our relationship with our viewers.”

The station said its shows, live streams and digital platforms remain operational.

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