Australia engaging with Ticketmaster over hacking ‘incident’

The group, named ShinyHunters, said on an online forum that the stolen data included the names, addresses, phone numbers and partial credit card details of customers. — Reuters

SYDNEY: The Australian government was on May 30 investigating claims by a hacking group to have stolen the details of 560 million customers from global events giant Ticketmaster, with the FBI offering its assistance.

The group, named ShinyHunters, said on an online forum that the stolen data included the names, addresses, phone numbers and partial credit card details of customers.

The data was available for US$500,000 (RM2.35mil) in a “one-time sale”, its post said.

“The National Office of Cyber Security is engaging with Ticketmaster to understand the incident,” an Australian government spokesperson said in a statement.

It urged people with “specific inquiries” to contact Ticketmaster directly.

The FBI has offered assistance to Australian authorities, a US embassy spokesperson told AFP.

ShinyHunters burst into notoriety in 2020-21 when it put up huge troves of customer records from more than 60 companies, according to the US Department of Justice.

In January, a court in Seattle jailed Sebastien Raoult, a French computer hacker who was a member of ShinyHunters.

He was sentenced to three years in prison and ordered to pay more than US$5mil (RM23.56mil) in restitution after pleading guilty to conspiracy to commit wire fraud and aggravated identity theft.

US prosecutors said the extensive hacking caused millions of dollars in losses to victim companies and “unmeasurable additional losses” to hundreds of millions of individuals whose data was sold to other criminals.

AFP has contacted Ticketmaster seeking comment. The authenticity of the dataset offered by ShinyHunters could not be immediately verified.

Hacking ‘will grow’

Hacks are impacting more people with increasingly severe consequences, University of Wollongong cybersecurity professor Katina Michael told AFP.

The number of people hacked “will grow, it could be up to one billion in the future”, she said.

Governments, companies and consumers are not doing enough to protect themselves or investing in basic protection mechanisms like two-factor authentication, Michael warned.

Ticketmaster, a California-based company, operates one of the largest online ticket sales platforms in the world.

The US Department of Justice filed a major antitrust lawsuit last week seeking to break up Ticketmaster and Live Nation’s alleged monopoly in the music industry.

Ticketmaster’s pricing practices, with high fees and lack of alternatives, have long been a political issue in the United States, with little done historically to open up the market to more competition. – AFP

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