Jul 8, 2024 2 min read

Ticketmaster denies data breach could result in replicated tickets for Taylor Swift shows

Hackers behind the Ticketmaster data breach last week said they had barcode data connected to tickets sold by the company. That led to speculation tickets could be replicated and that the ticketing company was being held to ransom by the hackers. But Ticketmaster has denied tickets can be replicated

Ticketmaster denies data breach could result in replicated tickets for Taylor Swift shows

Ticketmaster has denied that tickets for upcoming events, including on Taylor Swift’s ‘The Eras Tour’, could be replicated as a result of the recent data breach which saw hackers claim to have accessed data about 560 million of the Live Nation owned ticketing company’s customers. Existing anti-fraud protections in its ticketing systems, a statement insisted, mean stolen barcode data cannot be used to gain entry into any shows.

The hackers, part of a group called ShinyHunters, made new claims about the data they accessed last week, including that they had obtained barcode data connected to tickets sold by Ticketmaster, including hundreds of thousands of tickets for Taylor Swift shows. They then reportedly published a sample of the barcode data for Swift concerts in Miami, New Orleans, and Indianapolis, with each barcode linked to a seat number and ticket price. 

There were reports that the hackers were seeking to hold Ticketmaster to ransom over the barcode data. One rumour had it that the ticketing company had been negotiating a $1 million payment to keep the hacked data private, but that the hackers then hiked the price to $8 million after reconsidering the vale of the data, seemingly employing the kind of dynamic pricing techniques that Ticketmaster has pioneered in the live music sector. 

According to PC Mag, a second possibly related hacking group called Sp1d3rHunters then posted 170,000 barcodes alongside the statement, “Pay us $2 million USD or we leak all 680 million of your users information and 30 million more event barcodes”.

The fear was that those barcodes could be used to create fake tickets that would gain entry into shows, causing chaos on the day of the performance. However, Ticketmaster is adamant that the static barcode data that was hacked can’t be used in that way. 

“Ticketmaster’s SafeTix technology protects tickets by automatically refreshing a new and unique barcode every few seconds so it cannot be stolen or copied”, the company said in a statement. “This is just one of many fraud protections we implement to keep tickets safe and secure”. 

It also denied that it had been involved in any negotiations with the hackers. “Some outlets are inaccurately reporting about a ransom offer”, it said. “We were never engaged for a ransom and did not offer them money”. 

Live Nation confirmed the Ticketmaster data breach in an SEC filing at the end of May and then provided more information in a filing with the Attorney General’s office in the US state of Maine last month. 

The data breach comes at a point when Live Nation is very much in the political spotlight. The US government’s Department Of Justice has accused it of anticompetitive conduct. And there has been increased scrutiny in Congress over the last couple of years as well, which kicked off when there were problems with the pre-sale of Taylor Swift tickets back in November 2022.

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