The ticketing website Ticketmaster UK has been fined £1.25m by the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) for a data protection offence. The ICO found that the company failed to have appropriate security measures to prevent a cyber-attack on a chat-bot installed on its online payment page. That failure to protect customer information is a breach of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), the European Union-wide rules that came into force across the EU (including the UK) in May 2018.
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. The ICO – looking into the case on behalf of counterpart regulators across the EU – 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 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 £1.25m 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. It took Ticketmaster nine weeks from being alerted to possible fraud to monitoring the network traffic through its online payment page. The ICO 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 May 25, 2018, when the GDPR came into effect. The chat-bot was completely removed from Ticketmaster’s website on June 23, 2018.
For the ICO findings in detail visit the ICO website.