ICO Approve GDPR Penalty of £1.25m for Ticketmaster Breach

In the United Kingdom the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has applied a fine of £1.25million against  Ticketmaster UK Limited as a result of the company being found to be neglecting their duty to maintain its customers’ personal data is a secure manner.

The ICO deemed that Ticketmaster did not put in place adequate security measures in place to stop a cyber-attack on a chat-bot downloaded via its online payment page. The failure to do so represented a  breach of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

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

James Dipple-Johnstone, Deputy Commissioner at ICO 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 ICO found that Ticketmaster failed to:

  • Audit the dangers of using a chat-bot on its payment portal
  • Establish proper security practices to address the threat of cyber attacks infiltrating their systems
  • Quickly spot and tackle all fraudulent activity on their portals

The breach was initiated during February 2018 when Monzo Bank customers submitted reports in relation to fraudulent transactions. The Commonwealth Bank of Australia, Barclaycard, Mastercard and American Express all submitted further reports of incidents of possible hacking Ticketmaster. However, Ticketmaster did no act to address these reports. In fact, there was a nine-week period from the discovery of the breach to Ticketmaster until the company started to police network traffic through its online payment portal.

The official investigation carried out by ICO discovered that the implementation of the chat-bot, using a third party, on its online payment portal enable a cybercriminal to access to customers’ financial details. AS GDPR was only enforceable from may 25 2018 the GDPR penalty in this instance is only being applied in relation to what transpired after that date.

Ticketmaster UK Limited took the decision to remove the chat bot from its payment portal on June 23 2018.

The penalty and action have been approved by the other EU DPAs through the GDPR’s cooperation process as the breach took place prior to the UK left the EU. The breach was investigated by ICO on behalf of all EU authorities as lead supervisory authority under the GDPR.

You can read the full ruling here.