Ticketmaster Breach Exposes Supply Chain Risks

Ticketmaster is the latest online vendor to report a breach that is the result of a third-party widget.

Ticketmaster breach notification

Event ticket retailer Ticketmaster publicly disclosed a data breach at its United Kingdom division on June 27 that involved a subset of its global customer base.

Ticketmaster is downplaying the impact of the incident, noting that less than 5 percent of its global customer base is at risk from the breach. In addition, Ticketmaster specifically stated that customers in North America are not affected.

"On Saturday, June 23, 2018, Ticketmaster UK identified malicious software on a customer support product hosted by Inbenta Technologies, an external third-party supplier to Ticketmaster," Ticketmaster wrote in an advisory. "As soon as we discovered the malicious software, we disabled the Inbenta product across all Ticketmaster websites."

Ticketmaster suspects that customers in the UK who purchased event tickets between February and June 23, 2018, may be affected. Out of an abundance of caution, Ticketmaster is also alerting its international customers who purchased tickets during the same time period.

The Inbenta support product used by Ticketmaster is a chat widget that is embedded on Ticketmaster website pages. Upon learning of the security issue on June 23, Ticketmaster disabled the widget across all its sites. Attackers potentially were able to get access to customer names, addresses and payment details, although it's not clear how attackers were able to compromise the Inbenta widget.

"As a result of Inbenta's product running on Ticketmaster International websites, some of our customers' personal or payment information may have been accessed by an unknown third-party," Ticketmaster stated. "Forensic teams and security experts are working around the clock to understand how the data was compromised."

Ticketmaster isn't the first vendor to be impacted by a chat widget breach in 2018. In April, multiple organizations including Best Buy, Delta and Sears were impacted by a breach at chat widget vendor [24]7.ai. In contrast with the Ticketmaster incident, which was disclosed within days of the breach, the [24]7.ai breach was disclosed seven months after the breach occurred.

The European Union's General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) requires organizations to publicly disclose breaches within 72 hours of discovery. It's likely that GDPR concerns were a factor in Ticketmaster's rapid disclosure. It's not currently known what, if any, consequences Ticketmaster will face related to GDPR compliance as a result of the breach.

Ticketfly Breach Impacts Millions

While any breach is a cause for concern, the Ticketmaster incident pales in comparison to the breach of rival ticket vendor Ticketfly, which was impacted by a hacker attack at the end of May. In the Ticketfly attack, the company was forced to shut down all of its websites for several days after hackers were able to deface the website and gain access to millions of user accounts.

"In consultation with third-party forensic cybersecurity experts we can now confirm that credit and debit card information was not accessed," Ticketfly wrote in an advisory. "However, information including names, addresses, email addresses and phone numbers connected to approximately 27 million Ticketfly accounts was accessed." 

The source of the Ticketfly attack has not yet been publicly disclosed.

Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at eWEEK and InternetNews.com. Follow him on Twitter @TechJournalist.

Sean Michael Kerner

Sean Michael Kerner

Sean Michael Kerner is an Internet consultant, strategist, and contributor to several leading IT business web sites.