Ticketmaster fined £1.25m over personal data breach

Ticketmaster has been fined £1.25m for failing to keep the personal data of millions of customers secure.

The online events ticket seller failed to put “appropriate security measures in place” to prevent a cyber-attack on a chat-bot installed on its online payment page, the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) in the UK said.

The breach potentially affected 9.4million customers across Europe. As a result, 60,000 payment cards belonging to Barclays Bank customers were subjected to fraud, and another 6,000 cards were replaced by Monzo bank after suspected fraud.

The failure to protect customer information was a breach of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), the ICO said.

The ICO found that Ticketmaster failed to:

  • assess the risks of using a chat-bot on its payment page
  • identify and implement appropriate security measures to negate the risks
  • identify the source of suggested fraudulent activity in a timely manner

James Dipple-Johnstone, 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 £1.25milllion 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, the ICO said.

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 rules under the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) came into effect. The chat-bot was completely removed from Ticketmaster UK Limited’s website on 23 June 2018.

Ticketmaster customers with queries about their orders are now directed to a chat service operated on the Whats App platform.

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.

A Ticketmaster spokesperson said: “Ticketmaster takes fans’ data privacy and trust very seriously.

“Since Inbenta Technologies was breached in 2018, we have offered our full cooperation to the ICO. We plan to appeal [against] today’s announcement.”


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