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Ticketmaster breached for months, personal data stolen by hackers

Ticketmaster has warned customers that their personal information may have been compromised, after malicious code was discovered running on its website.

Up to 40,000 UK customers who purchased, or attempted to purchase, tickets between February and June 23, 2018 are thought to be affected. In addition, international customers who purchased, or attempted to purchase, tickets between September 2017 and June 23, 2018 may also be at risk.

Personal information compromised includes names, addresses, email addresses, telephone numbers, payment details and login details.

Which is all bad news of course, but how did the breach happen in the first place?

It appears that the malware was introduced to Ticketmaster’s site via a piece of external third-party code from Inbenta, a technology company that provides online chatbot and support ticketing services for websites.

As soon as Ticketmaster recognised the issue it disabled Inbenta’s code across all of its websites.

In a statement, Inbenta said that the source of the data breach was a “single piece of Javascript code” that had been customised specifically for Ticketmaster’s purposes. The code, Inbenta says, it is not in use on any other company’s websites.

Inbenta says it has now resolved the vulnerability, but not before attempting to pass some of the blame onto Ticketmaster for using its risky code on a payment page:

“Ticketmaster directly applied the script to its payments page, without notifying our team. Had we known that the customized script was being used this way, we would have advised against it, as it incurs greater risk for vulnerability. The attacker(s) located, modified, and used this script to extract the payment information of Ticketmaster customers processed between February and June 2018.”

Although it’s obviously trying to pass the buck, Inbenta certainly has a point. Embedding third-party Javascript onto an online payments page introduces risks. After all, if the third-party code gets compromised there is a danger that online criminals could use it to secretly steal payment card information.

Ticketmaster says that it has emailed all customers who it believes are affected by the security incident, and is offering 12 months’ free identity monitoring for those who have been impacted.

Potential victims are also advised to keep a close eye on their bank account transactions for signs of suspicious activity.

But aside from the financial risks, Ticketmaster customers would also be wise to look out for phishing scams, where an attacker might exploit the situation by sending out bogus emails purporting to come from the company.

Curiously, digital bank Monzo claims that it warned TicketMaster that data had been compromised three months ago, in early April. In a blog post, the firm says that it met with members of Ticketmaster’s security team on 12 April, and were told that an internal investigation would take place.

“Over the course of Thursday 19th April and Friday 20th April, we sent out six thousand replacement cards to customers who had used their Monzo cards at Ticketmaster. We let them know that we were replacing their cards through their Monzo app, but didn’t name Ticketmaster as the reason at the time.”

“Throughout this period we were in direct contact with Ticketmaster. On Thursday 19th April, they told us an internal investigation had found no evidence of a breach and that no other banks were reporting similar patterns.”

And yet Ticketmaster’s official statements say that it only discovered it had a serious security issue on June 23rd.

About the author

Graham CLULEY

Graham Cluley is an award-winning security blogger, researcher and public speaker. He has been working in the computer security industry since the early 1990s, having been employed by companies such as Sophos, McAfee and Dr Solomon's. He has given talks about computer security for some of the world's largest companies, worked with law enforcement agencies on investigations into hacking groups, and regularly appears on TV and radio explaining computer security threats.

Graham Cluley was inducted into the InfoSecurity Europe Hall of Fame in 2011, and was given an honorary mention in the "10 Greatest Britons in IT History" for his contribution as a leading authority in internet security.

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