Cyberattack Disrupts Christie’s Website During Peak Auction Week

Christie’s, one of the world’s leading art auction houses, experienced a cyberattack last week that took its website offline, though it did not disrupt scheduled auctions. The incident occurred during a peak auction week, forcing the company to shift all bidding to in-person and phone methods. Despite the digital setback, auctions featuring an estimated $578 million in modern and contemporary art continued as planned.

The website went down on May 9, with partial functionality restored several days later. While the landing page and auction browsing features are operational, other site aspects remain offline. On May 12, Christie’s CEO Guillaume Cerutti emailed clients about the “technology security issue,” assuring them that auctions would proceed despite the digital challenges.

The cyberattack has raised concerns about the security of financial data for collectors. Details about the nature of the attack are scarce, but the extended website downtime suggests a potential ransomware incident. There has been no confirmation on what data might have been compromised, leaving collectors anxious about the safety of their information.

Christie’s has previously encountered cybersecurity issues. In August 2023, an unsecured server exposed images of collections and GPS data revealing the location of about 10% of the pieces. This recent attack highlights the vulnerability of high-profile institutions to sophisticated cyber threats.

Security expert Javvad Malik noted that the incident underscores significant security gaps, especially for organizations dealing with high-value assets. He praised Christie’s for its swift adaptation by setting up alternative bidding methods and maintaining auction continuity. However, he stressed the importance of comprehensive security measures, regular testing, and a coordinated effort across all departments to build a strong security culture.

Cyberattacks on fine arts institutions are relatively rare but can be highly damaging due to the valuable data involved. The incident at Christie’s follows similar attacks, such as the breach at the Metropolitan Opera of New York in 2022 and a software provider breach affecting several American museums in 2023.

- Advertisment -ad

Most Popular