An auction house is blaming a paid, deliberate attack that originated from Ukraine for a computer meltdown that shelved a multimillion dollar sale of artwork on Tuesday night.
Scores of people had gathered at Chifley Tower in Sydney’s CBD for an art auction hosted by online start-up Fine Art Bourse, created by Tim Goodman, a former chairman of Sotheby’s, and Adrian Newstead, the founder of Cooee Art.
Buyers were competing for more than 80 artworks, including Emily Kame Kngwarreye’s Earth’s Creation I, which was expected to fetch at least $2 million.
But the auction was postponed after what was described as “an unusually high surge of traffic” overloaded the auction site’s server, which is based in Hong Kong.
William Ehmcke, a director of the online auction house, said in a statement on Thursday that the timing and size of the attack suggested it was paid and deliberate.
“There is also evidence that the auction platform database was hacked, just prior to the auction launch, to further disrupt the sale process,” he said. “All client data has now been removed from the FAB (Fine Art Bourse) database.”
Mr Goodman said: “Someone out there does not want us to succeed.”