Ticketmaster fined £1.25 million for 2018 chat-bot cyber attack

Ticketmaster has been issued a fine of £1.25 million by the UK data regulator for failing to keep its customers’ personal data secure in a 2018 cyber attack.

The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) said the company did not have appropriate security measures in place to prevent a cyber-attack via a chat-bot installed on its online payment page.

At the time, the ticket sales site said that malicious software on third-party customer support product Inbenta Technologies was behind the hack.

Ticketmaster said it plans to appeal the fine.

It is thought that the incident could have affected as many as 9.4 million customers across Europe, including 1.5 million in the UK, with names, payment card numbers, expiry dates and CVV numbers obtained.

ICO investigators found that 60,000 payment cards belonging to Barclays Bank customers had been subjected to known fraud as a result of the breach, while 6,000 cards were replaced by Monzo Bank after it suspected fraudulent use.

The commissioner decided to make an “exceptional reduction” of the proposed penalty by £250,000 due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.

“When customers handed over their personal details, they expected Ticketmaster to look after them. But they did not,” said James Dipple-Johnstone, ICO deputy commissioner.

“Ticketmaster should have done more to reduce the risk of a cyber-attack.

“It’s failure to do so meant that millions of people in the UK and Europe were exposed to potential fraud.

“The £1.25 milllion fine we’ve issued today will send a message to other organisations that looking after their customers’ personal details safely should be at the top of their agenda.”

The regulator said the firm took too long to identify the source of such fraudulent activity and did not implement appropriate security measures to negate the risks.

In total, it took Ticketmaster nine weeks from being alerted to possible fraud to monitoring the network traffic through its online payment page.

“Ticketmaster takes fans’ data privacy and trust very seriously,” a spokesperson for the website said.

“Since Inbenta Technologies was breached in 2018, we have offered our full cooperation to the ICO.

“We plan to appeal today’s announcement.”