UTA’s LA Office Sidelined by Malware Attack
A computer virus has lead to a complete computer shutdown at United Talent Agency's LA office, forcing agents and staffers to work from multiple phones and tablets until the virus is fully contained…
A computer virus has lead to a complete computer shutdown at United Talent Agency’s LA office, forcing agents and staffers to work from multiple phones and tablets until the virus is fully contained and an investigation by an outside forensic agency is completed.
Officials with UTA confirm to Billboard that an IT employee discovered the virus yesterday on PCs at UTA’s LA office and instructed employees to stop using their computers until the matter was resolved.
UTA’s offices in New York, London, Nashville, Miami and Malmo, Sweden were not affected by the computer virus.
In 2015 UTA merged with The Agency Group, turning it into an overnight powerhouse music agency with a roster that includes Cage the Elephant, Muse, Guns N’ Roses, Norah Jones and X Ambassadors.
A spokesperson for UTA sent Billboard the following statement:
“On Monday, UTA was the subject of a malware incident — an unfortunate yet common reality of our digital world that can take place regardless of the strong safeguards a company has in place. Most importantly, we have no reason to believe any private information about the agency, its employees, or its clients has, in any way, been compromised. UTA is engaged with top experts who have experience in these specific matters. In the interim, every member of our team continues to have access to their email and phones, and the situation is being resolved.”
A representative for UTA tells Billboard that no confidential emails or communications were stolen or compromised as a result of the computer virus, and despite initial reports, there has been no confirmed demand for ransom.
Without access to their computers, many UTA employees are trying to make the best of disruption, sending emails and reports through their smart phones and laptops. The investigation into the malware attack is expected to wrap in the coming days.
In recent months the agency has been aggressively expanding its music department signing a number of new artists, including YG, Tyga, Desiigner, Pusha T and Good Charlotte. At the same time the firm has hired a number of new music execs among them Geoff “Geespin” Gamere from iHeartMedia and three new music agents in Mike “Mike G” Guirguis (Chris Brown’s former manager), Bex Majors and Billy Wood. Those hires followed the addition of music agent Rob Walker and music brand partnerships head Toni Wallace.
Additional reporting by Andy Gensler.