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Wealthy art world warned after Art Basel hit by cyberattack

High-end art fair Art Basel has been hacked, and the wealthy individuals and art dealers who attend the events have been warned their contact information may have been stolen. 

Art Basel’s parent company MCH Group — which operates the fancy art fair in Basel, Switzerland, Miami Beach, Hong Kong as well as the watch and jewelry show Baselworld — has sent out a mailing to warn its list of high-end attendees that MCH, “was hit by a criminal cyberattack using malware” and their personal details may have been stolen.

The Switzerland-based company has now filed a criminal complaint, but admits it does not yet know who the hackers are.

A message to Art Basel clients sent on Friday reads, “The information currently available to us suggests that the perpetrators may have gained access to data such as personal contact details.

“We do not yet know the extent of the data breach and these traces are being analyzed in cooperation with cybersecurity experts as a matter of urgency.” 

The message continues, “As always, we recommend that you exercise caution when dealing with unknown contacts, for instance if you are contacted by third parties by e-mail or telephone, who may represent themselves as your bank, internet provider or insurance company and use personal details to gain your trust.

“The MCH Group has filed a criminal complaint against the perpetrators unknown to us and is cooperating closely with the relevant authorities.”

The message continued, “MCH has been working closely with security and cybercrime specialists, including the Swiss National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC), the police and external experts.”

Art Basel Miami was canceled in 2019 due to the pandemic (although some parties still went forward including one wild bash that saw divorcee Libbie Mugrabi climbing shoeless on a multimillion dollar Damien Hirst).

This year’s Miami Beach show — planned for Dec. 2 – 4 — appears to be back in full force, with 254 galleries showing and travel restrictions being lifted, allowing vaccinated Europeans into the states.

Galleries who regularly show at Art Basel include Gagosian, Edward Tyler Nahem, Jeffrey Deitch, Lehmann Maupin and Helly Nahmad Gallery.

Attendees at the Miami Beach show often include stars such as Leonardo DiCaprio, Martha Stewart, Paris Hilton, Sean “Diddy” Combs, Aby Rosen, Swizz Beatz, plus wealthy art collectors including Miami’s Rubell family, Eli Broad, billionaire Ronald Perelman and Leon Black.

And that’s before you include the fashionable party scene that surrounds the fair, which has been graced by the likes of Kanye West, Kendall Jenner, Miley Cyrus, ASAP Rocky, Nelly, Jay Z and Travis Scott.

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