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Cyber-attack hits auction of £670 million of rare items

Cyber-attack hits auction of £670 million of rare items

Cyberhackers have targeted auction house Christie’s as it tried to sell art and other rare items worth an estimated £670 million.

Lots ranging from a Vincent van Gogh painting to rare wine are set to go under the hammer in its spring auctions, but would-be buyers are now unable to view them on its website because it has been taken offline.

A sale of a collection of rare watches, including ones owned by Formula 1 star Michael Schumacher has also been delayed.

Christie’s told the BBC it had been targeted in a “technology security incident”, but stressed bids could still be placed over the phone and in person on its lots as normal.

It added in a statement: “Christie’s has in place well-established protocols and practices, which are regularly tested, to manage such incidents.”

The auctioneer has also set up an alternative external website from its main one where basic information about the items due to be sold can be seen.

Christie’s site was hit by an outage that started last week, though it was still able to hold a charity auction for watches on Friday (10.05.24) in Geneva, which had been postponed from its original 2023 date.

Its Only Watch auction raised £26.4 million to accelerate research into Duchenne muscular dystrophy, while Christie’s New York auctions started this week with the sale of works owned by art collector Rosa de la Cruz, to be followed by art collections spanning the 20th and 21st centuries.

The 20th century art collection valued at £395 million includes works by Pablo Picasso, Georgia O’Keefe and Andy Warhol.

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