Hundreds of thousands of website users trying to access local news have been effected by a virus that has been injected into a Newsquest server we can reveal.
Web users trying to access many of the Newsquest titles are having their phones or web site browsers hijacked, greeting them with a thank you for your loyalty message following a security breach.
The virus that is present on many of the newspaper group sites then hijacks the users browser and redirects them to an unconnected prize web site with offers of the chance to win prizes.
Web users have to close down their browsers or restart their devices to regain control of them.
The problems started to appear on Thursday morning.
Just hours before the release of figures of the groups readership for the year.
Many titles are expected to release worrying figures showing a loss of up to nearly 8% on some titles.
Tech wizards for the Newspaper group are frantically working to try to locate where the weakness and the breach has taken place within the group servers.
Big questions are by being asked by company bosses on how the compromise could have been possible.
One internal source said that Newquest spend a lot of money on firewalls to protect its users and this has left them very red faced following the security breach.
It is understood that as most of the 218 titles have been effected by the security breach. The breach is costing Newsquest some loss of revenue as it would be unable to serve users with advertising on the effected web sites.
Newsquest have been approached for commment. It is unclear if data stored by the group of thousands of users has been breached.
In statement Julian Thorpe Editorial product manager from Newsquest Digital Said: That they haven’t got hundreds of thousands web users and that this is inaccurate to make such a claim. He went on to dispute the fact that the site whom many have complained about on social media has been hijacked or compromised. Newsquest are aware of the problem but dispute that it involves any sort of data breach but refuse to elaborate on what the problem is caused by.