Online Auction of World’s Largest Private Whisky Collection ‘Postponed Indefinitely’ After Cyber-Attack

 An online auction at Whisky Auctioneer featuring the world’s largest private collection of whisky has been postponed after it was targeted in a DDoS (Distributed Denial of Service) cyber-attack. The attack came as a warning for the industry where many auction houses are now shifting their business focuses from offline to online due to the coronavirus outbreak.

The sale offered some of the world’s rarest whiskies

Richard Gooding’s whisky collection

The auction house presented ‘The Perfect Collection’ owned by the late American whisky collector Richard Gooding who spent decades amassing nearly 4,000 bottles of whiskies. The coveted collection was dubbed ‘the largest and most unprecedented private whisky collection ever to be offered for public sale.’

The collection carried a presale estimate of £7m-8m and was sold in two auctions at Whisky Auctioneer. The first phase consisting of more than 1,900 bottles was sold this February, fetching more than £3.29m.

Richard Gooding

The sale presented a bottle of Macallan 1926 Fine and Rare 60-Year-Old, which is also the current auction record holder

The present one was the second instalment which offered 1,958 lots on the auction house’s website on 10 April. It included one of the world’s most sought-after whiskies, the Macallan 1926 Fine and Rare 60-Year-Old, which was expected to fetch more than £1m at the auction. The current record holder is also a bottle of 1926 Macallan whisky decorated with the iconic Fine and Rare label. It was sold for £1.452m last October.

The bidding was set to end at 7pm on April but was postponed for 48 hours due to 'abnormal excessive loads on the website, which caused some technical issues'. The site went down again shortly after it was restored. A statement on the website informed prospective bidders that the site was hit by a cyber-attack.

Iain McClune, Founder of Whisky Auctioneer

Iain McClune, Founder of Whisky Auctioneer, wrote in a statement: ‘As you may know, we were victims of a sustained Distributed Denial-of-Service (DDoS) attack on Monday 20 April 2020 causing significant disruption to our service, but with no evidence of data compromise as a result of this specific attack. Despite our immediate response with actions to protect against this occurring again, a further targeted, technically sophisticated, sustained and malicious attack occurred, potentially resulting in unauthorised access to a limited quantity of our data. This compromise occurred at around 22:30 (BST) on 21 April 2020.’

He also wrote that the auction house has been in touch with its valued customers who may have been impacted by this. The website is currently offline and the auction has been postponed indefinitely with further updates on this and future auctions to follow.

The website is now closed showing the statement above

The case has been referred to the Police Scotland’s fraud and cybercrime unit. This incident raises concerns over cybercrime and the leakage of sensitive information at this day and age where the industry is more reliant on online platforms than ever before.