THE SCOOP | Toronto Symphony Orchestra among international cultural institutions victims of hacking

Image by Markus Spiske (CC0C/Pixabay)

The Toronto Symphony Orchestra was one of many North American and European cultural organizations that fell victim to a ransomware attack.

WordFly is a platform used for communications and marketing by many organizations, including the Toronto Symphony Orchestra. Specifically, it is used for its email subscription programs.

TSO subscribers were notified by email on July 25 of a data theft incident via WordFly messaging that allegedly occurred on July 10. In order to protect its subscriber base, the orchestra has temporarily changed its email provider. According to the statement, payment and financial data were not involved. The ransomware attack occurred only against WordFly, not the TSO’s own IT systems.

“WordFly assures us that there is no evidence to suggest that the data was misused by this attacker, nor made public.” The TSO’s message to its subscribers is quoted in IT World Canada.

WordFly data has been encrypted and exported. For the TSO, the data included name and email address, TSO ID numbers, and information such as survey responses.

“Please accept our sincere apologies,” the orchestra wrote. “We take the security of our data and systems very seriously, and we appreciate the trust you place in us.”

WordFly’s systems, as of July 26, were still not back online.

“We understand that as of the evening of July 15, 2022, the data was deleted from the possession of the bad actor,” the company said in a statement. “We have no evidence to suggest, prior to the bad actor deleting the data, that the data was leaked or disseminated elsewhere. We also have no evidence to suggest that any of this information has been or will be used to badly.

Many major cultural institutions have been affected by the ransomware attack around the world, including the Smithsonian Institution and the Courtauld Institute of Arts in the United States, the Sydney Dance Company in Australia and the Southbank Centre, the Royal Shakespeare Company, the Royal Opera House and The Old Vic. theater in the UK.


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