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Christie's website taken down by hackers days before $840 million auctions| GuyWhoKnowsThings

Days before Christie's expected to sell up to $840 million in artwork in an auction that would include paintings by Warhol and Basquiat, the auction house experienced what it described as a “technological security issue” that took its site offline. Web.

Some collectors and art advisors became aware of the problem Thursday night. The next morning, the website redirected visitors to a temporary page outside of its own web domain. “We apologize that our website is currently offline.” He said. “We are working to resolve this as soon as possible and regret any inconvenience.”

Edward Lewine, a spokesman for Christie's, said a security issue had affected some of the company's systems, including its website.

“We are taking all necessary steps to manage this matter, involving a team of additional technology experts,” he said in a statement. “We will provide further updates to our customers as appropriate.”

The art world has faced an increasing number of cyberattacks in recent years. In January, a service provider that helped museums host their collections online and manage internal documents was attacked by hackers. Organizations including the Metropolitan Opera and the Philadelphia Orchestra have faced cyberattacks that hampered their ability to sell tickets online.

“It's difficult for companies to stay ahead of cybercrime because attacks continue to evolve,” said Chelsea Binns, a cybercrime expert who teaches at John Jay College of Criminal Justice in Manhattan.

Binns said it was good practice for companies to notify the public as soon as possible if hackers had gained access to sensitive information.

The art market is an industry that operates discreetly because its clients are usually world leaders and powerful businessmen.

“Due to the nature of the clientele and the numbers involved, I would expect better than best practices,” said art advisor Todd Levin.

Levin said the cyberattack occurred during a crucial time before the spring sales, when potential buyers are confirming their interests in works of art that are expected to sell for tens of millions of dollars. He said that he wouldn't be delighted right now if he were a salesman. “How can potential bidders access the catalogue?” —Levin asked.

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