Threat Management, Malware, Ransomware

My kingdom for a decryptor! Ransomware creates ticketing snafu for N.J. Shakespeare theater

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The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey was forced to cancel a performance of "A Christmas Carol" earlier this week after a ransomware attack disrupted its database and ticketing system, causing a show reservations nightmare.

Performances of the show, which run through Dec. 29, are now back underway. However, the ransomware has disabled the company's online ticketing services, requiring that all purchases be made via email at [email protected] by phone at 973-408-5600.

Making matters worse, the Madison, N.J.-based theater company has lost all of its patron data, including purchase histories and contact information, according to an emergency notification issued by management. This means the theater group is unable to look up information regarding to any sales that took place prior to the ransomware attack. To mitigate this awkward situation, the company is asking customers who had already reserved or purchased tickets to email [email protected] and provide their details, including their seat locations if possible.

Originally, the theater company had warned in its notification that it was unable to sell any additional tickets to its performances until just before showtime, after those who had purchased in advance are already seated and it becomes clear which spots are still open. But a woman who answered the box office number for the F.M. Kirby Shakespeare Theatre, where the performances are taking place, said the theater group is selling seats in advance – except the seats are being sold as general admission. Specific seats will be assigned just before showtime.

Shortly after the attack, the theater was also unable to accept credit card payments, although this functionality has been restored, the box office confirmed.

"We are determined to carry on with our production of 'A Christmas Carol' and we are determined to keep selling tickets for it," the theater's official notification states. "We are also determined to rebuild our now non-existent patron database. This is a huge undertaking and one that we cannot attempt without your help, patience, understanding and good will. The show must go on and this theatre must go on!"

SC Media has reached out to the Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey's administrative office for additional details.

Bradley Barth

As director of multimedia content strategy at CyberRisk Alliance, Bradley Barth develops content for online conferences, webcasts, podcasts video/multimedia projects — often serving as moderator or host. For nearly six years, he wrote and reported for SC Media as deputy editor and, before that, senior reporter. He was previously a program executive with the tech-focused PR firm Voxus. Past journalistic experience includes stints as business editor at Executive Technology, a staff writer at New York Sportscene and a freelance journalist covering travel and entertainment. In his spare time, Bradley also writes screenplays.

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