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Sales for Anderson’s event in Naperville halted due to cyberattack

Ticket sales for the highly anticipated meet-and-greet with best-selling author Rebecca Yarros at Anderson’s Bookshop were suspended Tuesday after the Naperville store’s ticket partner was cyber-attacked, employees said.

As of Tuesday evening, tickets for the event scheduled for Saturday, Nov. 11 are still available, but all sales are closed until further notice, Anderson’s said in a social media post. The bookstore plans to release an update on the situation at 11 a.m. Wednesday.

“We are unable to share the number of tickets remaining at this time, but the remaining tickets will be available at a later date once we are confident the ticket site is stable again,” Anderson shared on Facebook and Instagram Tuesday evening. .

Speaking to the Sun a few hours after the sales system crashed, Ginny Wehrli-Hemmeter, Anderson’s events and marketing manager, said: “I had no idea what the purpose of the cyberattack was, but what we do know is that it affected us. all these people and of course we apologize for that.

Wehrli-Hemmeter said it was not yet known whether any customers’ personal information was accessed.

The store confirmed that tickets successfully purchased before the crash were legitimate and would be honored the night of the event.

Although Anderson’s has its own website, the bookstore processes all ticketing for events through a third-party site, Eventcombo.

Eventcombo is an “all-in-one event management platform,” according to the organization’s website, and was up and running as a whole as of Tuesday afternoon. The website states that the platform serves thousands of customers worldwide.

Eventcombo’s entire website crashed earlier in the day, Wehrli-Hemmeter said.

“They have been great partners for us,” he said. “We’ve never had a problem before. I’m sure their team was horrified by it all, scrambling to provide us with customer service while we were trying to provide customer service to our own customers.”

A bookstore employee said that starting at 11:15 a.m. Tuesday, Anderson’s phone began ringing with calls informing the bookstore that its ticketing site was down. Over the next hour, the longest pause between calls was about 30 seconds, he said.

Tickets for November’s Yarros event were to go on sale at 11am on Tuesday. Anderson’s event is one of several stops on the author’s national tour promoting his upcoming book, “Iron Flame.”

“Other stops across the country sold out within minutes. We expected to do the same,” Wehrli-Hemmeter said.

“Iron Flame” is the eagerly awaited sequel to Yarros’ wildly popular fantasy novel “The Fourth Wing,” which was released in May. The sequel’s release date is November 7.

There were 400 places available to see Yarros at Anderson’s, but it is not yet known how many were actually sold.

“We couldn’t even log in to the backend,” Wehrli-Hemmeter said. “We had customers calling and saying they had this ticket and asking if it was real. I had no idea because normally we log in from our side and we can see if we have a ticket for them. But we couldn’t log in to see anything either. We had no idea what was going on.” , it wasn’t a great place, but that was all the information we had at the time.”

When asked whether customers who may have entered personal information on Eventcombo’s website when trying to purchase tickets are at risk of theft, Wehrli-Hemmeter said, “We’re certainly asking Eventcombo the same things, and we’re hoping to get some answers from them.” whether anything related to their personal data has been compromised.

“We certainly hope not,” he continued, “but I don’t know yet.”

Wehrli-Hemmeter said any communication Anderson receives from Eventcombo will be shared with customers “so we can resolve this (concern) as quickly as possible.” He encouraged people to follow Anderson’s social media for updates.

tkenny@chicagotribune.com

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