Ticketmaster Fined $10 Million After Hacking Rival Ticket Marketplace

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Ticketmaster recently agreed to pay $10 million in criminal fines after they gained unlawful access to its competitor’s private data. In 2013, a former Ticketmaster executive reportedly encouraged an employee that had previously worked for a competitor to access the competitor’s internal computer data.

According to a report by the Verge, Ticketmaster agreed this week to pay a $10 million fine for unlawfully accessing the computer data of one of its competitors.

Former Ticketmaster executive Zeeshan Zaidi reportedly instructed a Ticketmaster employee to use his prior ties to CrowdSurge to gain access to CrowdSurge’s computer system. CrowdSurge, which is now called Songkick, sued Ticketmaster’s parent company Live Nation over the matter in 2017.

In a statement, Acting U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York Seth D. DuCharme said that the fine will serve as a reminder that American companies will be held accountable if they breach the private data of their competitors.

Ticketmaster employees repeatedly – and illegally – accessed a competitor’s computers without authorization using stolen passwords to unlawfully collect business intelligence. Further, Ticketmaster’s employees brazenly held a division-wide ‘summit’ at which the stolen passwords were used to access the victim company’s computers, as if that were an appropriate business tactic.  Today’s resolution demonstrates that any company that obtains a competitor’s confidential information for commercial advantage, without authority or permission, should expect to be held accountable in federal court.

In a statement, a Ticketmaster spokesperson said that they are happy to finally put the matter to rest. “Ticketmaster terminated both Zaidi and Mead in 2017, after their conduct came to light. Their actions violated our corporate policies and were inconsistent with our values. We are pleased that this matter is now resolved,” the spokesperson said.

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