Ticketmaster fined £1.25m over customer data breach

Ticketmaster UK Ltd’s failure to keep customers’ personal data secure following a cyber-attack has resulted in a £1.25m fine from the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) for breaching the general data protection regulation (GDPR)

The ICO found that the company failed to put appropriate security measures in place to prevent a cyber-attack on a chat-bot installed on its online payment page.

The data breach, which included names, payment card numbers, expiry dates and CVV numbers, potentially affected 9.4m of Ticketmaster’s customers across Europe including 1.5m in the UK.

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

The ICO said Ticketmaster had failed to assess the risks of using a chat-bot on its payment page, or to identify and implement appropriate security measures to negate the risks. The company also failed to identify the source of suggested fraudulent activity in a timely manner.

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

‘Ticketmaster should have done more to reduce the risk of a cyber-attack. Its failure to do so meant that millions of people in the UK and Europe were exposed to potential fraud.

‘The £1.25m 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 breach began in February 2018 when Monzo Bank customers reported fraudulent transactions. The Commonwealth Bank of Australia, Barclaycard, Mastercard and American Express all reported suggestions of fraud to Ticketmaster. But the company failed to identify the problem.

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

The ICO’s investigation found that Ticketmaster’s decision to include the chat-bot, hosted by a third party, on its online payment page allowed an attacker access to customers’ financial details.

Although the breach began in February 2018, the penalty only relates to the breach from 25 May 2018, when new GDPR rules came into effect. The chat-bot was completely removed from Ticketmaster’s website on 23 June 2018.

The breach occurred before the UK left the EU, therefore the ICO investigated on behalf of all EU authorities as lead supervisory authority under the GDPR. The penalty and action have been approved by the other EU data protection agencies through the GDPR’s cooperation process.

Useful link:

Ticketmaster monetary penalty notice

Pat Sweet |Reporter, Accountancy Daily [2010-2021]

Pat Sweet was the former online reporter at Accountancy Daily and contributor to the monthly Accountancy magazine, pub...

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