US Museums’ Online Collection Visits Take a Dip After Cyberattacks

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An aerial view of the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art - Credit: Crystal Bridges

Some Museums in the United States of America last week were faced with the malfunction of their online servers after hackers launched an attack on them.

Bleeping Computer reports that Gallery Systems,  a museum software solutions provider sent notice to its clients about a ransomware attack on December 28, 2023. This has seen a drop in the visits made to the portals of the affected museums.

“Certain computer systems that run our software became encrypted, which prevented them from operating. We have been working around the clock to restore access to the software and we sincerely appreciate your patience during this time. We will be restoring your data with the last available backup,” read the notice.

Some affected museums include the Frances Lehman Loeb Art Centre at Vassar College, the Rubin Museum of Art in New York, and the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Arkansas, The New York Times confirmed.

The cyberattack was further confirmed by Paige Francis, the chief information officer of art and wellness enterprises at the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, through an email to Artnet.

“The Crystal Bridges eMuseum, which is a system that provides access to our online collection, has been down for a week due to the recent Gallery Systems issue,” she wrote. Adding the museum is “mostly concerned about the public’s inability to benefit from viewing our collection remotely during this disruption.”

“The data of our customers and visitors has not been compromised. Access to our digital collection is the only impact. …From a security standpoint, we have been proactive in shoring up our digital architecture and the breach has been minimal. Our technology and art management teams have been working closely with the vendor to resolve the issue and restore access to our digital collection,” Paige added.

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