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Russian Group Claims Responsibility For Christie’s Website Woes

Christie's London

Hacker group RansomHub has publicly taken credit for the security breach that took Christie’s website offline earlier this month ahead of the auction house’s marquee spring sales. The New York Times reports that the consortium in a May 27 post to the dark web said that it had gained access to sensitive information regarding Christie’s megawealthy art-collector clients and that the house had not paid the demanded ransom. The hackers said they planned on releasing the data at the end of May.

“We attempted to come to a reasonable resolution with them but they ceased communication midway through,” wrote RansomHub in the post. “It is clear that if this information is posted they will incur heavy fines from GDPR [General Data Protection Regulation] as well as ruining their reputation with their clients.” GDPR is a European Union regulation requiring companies to disclose the possibility that a cyberattack might have compromised sensitive client data. Businesses failing or refusing to do so face fines that can top $20 million.

“Our investigations determined there was unauthorized access by a third party to parts of Christie’s network,” company spokesperson Edward Lewine told the Times, noting that the house had “also determined that the group behind the incident took some limited amount of personal data relating to some of our clients.” Though the scope of the information stolen has not been revealed, Lewine confirmed that “there is no evidence that any financial or transactional records were compromised” and said that Christie’s was or would shortly be in touch with clients and with pertinent regulators.

RansomHub is believed to be affiliated with Russian-speaking hacker group ALPHV, which in February carried out a cyberattack against Change Healthcare, reportedly scoring four terabytes of customer data. ALPHV demanded and is thought to have received a $22 million ransom from UnitedHealth Group, which owns Change Healthcare. RansomHub’s assault on Christie’s took the company’s website down for ten days, during which time it went ahead with its spring sales, taking in $528 million.

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