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Phantom of the Opera Launches Ransomware Attack

PARIS – Adorned in all the glamour and class of the theater, empty seats during a show time are a lonely reminder of the problems facing opera house managers Armand Moncharmin and Firmin Richard. The Palais Garnier Opera House recently announced that it will temporarily be closing its doors after suffering from a ransomware attack. The attack blocks Opera personnel from operating the ticket system.

“We failed to maintain the right level of malware and antivirus protection,” states manager Armand Moncharmin. “This allowed the perpetrator to takeover the system, holding it hostage until we meet his demands…Evil Opera Ghost!”

Moncharmin and Richard, shortly after taking over the management duties of the theater, discovered that an unknown entity already had claim on how the business was to be run. This Phantom [of the Opera] made very specific demands to the management, only to be ignored. Letters were sent to no avail. So, the Phantom turned to another tactic...ransomware.

“He made his demands very clear…pop ups appeared on the Opera computers; we couldn’t access anything!” Firmin Richard comments. “His favorite singer to be promoted to a lead, box seating to be left unattended, and a substantial monthly allowance. Will we comply? Will we pay? We are looking into the matter but have no intention of paying at this time. Who’s to say this Opera Ghost’s demands won’t get worse if we do pay up? He might not even give the access back if we pay. In the meantime, we are going to look into what we could have done to stop this from ever occurring.”

Moncharmin and Richard could have prevented such an attack by being familiar with ransomware. Ransomware is a type of malicious software (malware) that prevents users from being able to access files, systems or networks until a demand/ransom is paid. The Palais Garnier Opera House could have avoided the attack by ensuring that staff were trained on computer safety; to not access suspicious links, email attachments, etc. In addition, they could have kept the systems and software up to date, ensured anti-virus and anti-malware protection was updated and active, backed up their data on a regular basis, and created a continuity and response plan in case of attack.

For now, the Opera will remain closed. But the managers, staff, and performers are optimistic that they will soon be performing. Whether or not the Phantom resides in box five remains unknown. We were unable to contact the Phantom for comment at this time.

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