Sotheby’s, the popular British auction house, revealed on Friday that its website had been infected with digital skimming code.

The company claims that its New York based e-commerce marketplace Sotheby’s Home, formerly known as Viyet, was affected.

On October 10, 2018, the firm discovered and “promptly removed” malicious code placed onto the site by a malicious third party. Unfortunately, the code had been on the site since “at least” March 2017, leaving thousands of customers vulnerable to attack over the long 19-month period.

Sotheby’s even admitted that the attack period could be even longer than 19 months, admitting “we cannot be certain as to when the website was first victimized by this attack.”

The malicious code used in this incident was designed to target the data customers entered into the payment information form on the Sotheby’s Home website, including names, addresses, email addresses, payment card numbers, expiration dates and CVV codes.

Sotheby’s has taken almost two months to announce details of the security incident to the public, which could lead to trouble with European GDPR regulators if any EU citizen’s data was compromised, but it’s unlikely considering the site is designed for US customers only.

A Sotheby’s spokeswoman claims, “While our investigation is ongoing, we believe that the so-called ‘Magecart’ threat group, which has targeted a large number of e-commerce sites, and which is known to have previously targeted other companies whose websites use the same software Sotheby’s Home was using at the time, was responsible for the incident.”

Magecart is an evolution of the now 18-year-old Cart32 shopping cart software backdoor and takes the form of malicious JavaScript inserted onto a website payment page. Once installed, the script gathers all form data entered by a site user – including their name, payment cards details, and CVV number – and uploads it to a remote server under the attacker’s control.

Operating an e-commerce site comes with a certain set of responsibilities, especially when payment card information is being handled. For specifically, every organization dealing with payment card transactions must abide by the PCI DSS Compliance Standard, which included protections like intrusion protection systems and the understanding of requirements and responsibilities of the merchant.

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