ICO fines Ticketmaster UK Limited £1.25million for data breach

November 16, 2020

The Information Commissioner’s Office has fined Ticketmaster UK Limited £1.25million for failing to keep its customers’ personal data secure.

The ICO found that Ticketmaster failed to put appropriate security measures in place to prevent a cyber-attack on a chat-bot installed on its online payment page. This failure to protect customer information was a breach of the 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 1.5 million 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 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; and
  • Identify the source of suggested fraudulent activity in a timely manner.

The breach began in February 2018 when Monzo Bank customers reported fraudulent transactions. Several banks reported suggestions of fraud to Ticketmaster. However, it failed to identify the problem, and 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 the GDPR came into force. The chat-bot was completely removed from Ticketmaster UK Limited’s website on 23 June 2018.

The breach took place before the UK left the EU and so 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 authorities through the GDPR’s cooperation process.  

The ICO action follows recent fines for British Airways and Marriott hotels for similar data breaches.