Hackers Broke Into Zaha Hadid Architects’ Servers and Demanded Ransom for the Return of Stolen Data

The firm warns other companies that such breaches may become more common with staffs working from home.

Photo by Patrick Lux/Getty Images.

Zaha Hadid Architects has been hit by hackers, who broke into the firm’s servers and stole confidential information last week.

The London firm, founded by the late architect Zaha Hadid, reported the cyber crime to the police on April 21, after discovering messages on its servers demanding money in exchange for the return of the stolen data, the Architect’s Journal reports. The ransomware attack also left staff temporarily locked out of the company server.

‘We immediately worked to secure our network and reported the incident to the authorities,” a spokesperson for the firm told Artnet News in an email. “With minimal disruption to the work of our teams, we continue to investigate any criminal theft of data with cyber specialists.”

The company was more vulnerable to cyber crimes than usual since its entire London-based staff of 348 are currently working from home, accessing its networks remotely. Fortunately, the security breach was less serious than it could have been, as the stolen data had been previously backed up. The company was able to change its passwords and has enlisted the aid of a cyber forensics team to investigate.

A detail of downtown Miami's One Thousand Museum tower by Zaha Hadid Architects. Photo by Hufton + Crow.

A detail of downtown Miami’s One Thousand Museum tower by Zaha Hadid Architects. Photo by Hufton + Crow.

“We have informed the Information Commissioner’s Office and Action Fraud, and we will be fully cooperating with any investigation. We are also notifying those who might potentially be affected,” said the spokesperson. “We are unable to comment further until the full investigation by third party cyber-security forensic experts is completed.”

The firm also issued a warning to other companies currently working remotely. “Cyber criminals [are] poised to exploit the situation,” the spokesperson cautioned. “We strongly advise the architectural community to be extremely cautious.”

Zaha Hadid Architects’ upcoming projects include the tech complex on Chengdu’s Unicorn Island in China; a new Shenzhen, China, headquarters for OPPO, a mobile brand; and One Thousand Museum Residential Tower, a Miami apartment building across the street from the Perez Art Museum Miami.

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