Ticketmaster Customers Won't Love This News

Data breaches and scalpers reverse-engineering ticket resale barcodes are making headlines
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 9, 2024 9:07 AM CDT
Ticketmaster Customers Won't Love This News
Ticketmaster tickets and gift cards are shown at a box office in San Jose, California, on May 11, 2009.   (AP Photo/Paul Sakuma, File)

If you're a Ticketmaster customer, you may have a concerning email waiting for you. Customers in the US, Canada, and Mexico have received a cautionary message from Ticketmaster to "be vigilant and take steps to protect against identity theft and fraud"—including by keeping close tabs on their bank accounts, signing up for free monitoring services offered by Ticketmaster, and being wary of emails purportedly from the company, reports the BBC. The warning comes in the wake of a data breach earlier this year that saw personal info for hundreds of millions of Ticketmaster customers pilfered.

  • Hacks: The information stolen by an "unauthorized third party ... may have included your name, basic contact information, and payment card information such as encrypted credit or debit card numbers and expiration dates," the email read, per the CBC. The outlet notes that the data breach—which took place via a cloud database for that third party, identified by the BBC as Snowflake—occurred between April 2 and May 18. After the hackers stole login information from Snowflake, personal information on Ticketmaster may then have been affected on May 23, just three days after what Ticketmaster says was another major hack.
  • Who's behind it: It's not clear if the hacks are related, but a group called ShinyHunters has claimed it has stolen data from more than 500 million Ticketmaster customers, and that it wants a $500,000 ransom.

  • Hackers, Part II: Scalpers have also figured out a way to "reverse engineer" the nontransferable barcode ticket system used by Ticketmaster and the AXS ticket outlet, allowing ticket resales on other apps, according to an AXS lawsuit filed in May, per Engadget and 404 Media.
  • What to do next: A privacy and surveillance tech expert tells the CBC that Ticketmaster customers who receive the email should cancel credit cards "right away" that have been entered into the Ticketmaster system; consider enabling multifactor authentication on those cards; and looking on the website Have I Been Pwned to see if their email has been caught up in a hack.
  • Ticketmaster's take: The email notes that Ticketmaster is cooperating with US feds in an ongoing investigation. "We are fully committed to protecting your information, and deeply regret that this incident occurred," the message reads.
(More Ticketmaster stories.)

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