High Tech Ticket Scalpers Earn $25 Million Profits


Today’s news is that a company in the US has been using CAPTCHA breaking technology to run a very profitable ticket scalping operation.

Reports state they netted a $25 Million USD profit over a 6 year period, which is an industry is extremely lucrative especially for a reasonably small operation.

Of course they way in which they did this was extremely unscrupulous, snapping up prime tickets within seconds of them opening then selling them later for much inflated prices.

Federal prosecutors have accused four men of fraudulently obtaining more than 1.5 million concert and sporting-even tickets by hacking the computer systems of multiple vendors.

Over a six-year period, the men employed computer scripts that snapped up tickets to some of the hottest events just a fraction of a second after they went on sale, according to documents filed in US District Court in New Jersey. The scheme, which generated more than $25m in profit, froze out legitimate customers by defeating mechanisms designed to block automated purchases by scalpers.

The 43-count indictment provides a detailed account into the means the men used to fraudulently obtain huge caches of premium tickets to concerts by Bruce Springsteen, Coldplay, and last year’s Sugar Bowl American college football contest. By hacking the sites’ captchas and automatically submitting website forms, they completed purchases in fractions of seconds, securing them front-row seats that were impossible for most fans to obtain.

You know they are going too far when their own employees start warning the bosses they are pushing the ticket prices too high.

As someone who attends concerts I would find this kind of thing extremely annoying and unfair..unless of course it was me running the scam and profiting.

But that’s a different story. Either way, it looks like they have finally been busted and all the details exposed, I’ll be interested to see what the punishment will be as at the end of the day the people losing out are not the artists or the ticket brokers but the actual fans themselves who have been overpaying for premium tickets.

The indictment names four principals of Nevada-based Wiseguy Tickets, which from 2002 until early last year generated more than $121 million in revenue buying tickets and then reselling them at massively inflated prices. Their ability to shut out the rest of market was so consummate that one employee allegedly warned his boss the company might suffer a backlash from ticket brokers and fans alike if it raised prices too high.

“So, whenever you think about pricing, please also think that you are a monopoly not just for your brokers, but for their clients as well – those small clients no longer have the opportunity to score on their own on the web and feel vindicated,” the employee wrote in a 2007 email. “If you do 1 million in tickets in 2007, this means that 1 million people will be displaced from the seats they deserved and further 1 million will pay far more for the seat they are in than they are supposed to.”

To make the hack work, Wiseguys employed OCR, or optical character recognition, technology that automated the process of solving captchas, the challenge and response puzzles designed to ensure a website form is being filled out by a human rather than a script.

The indictment mostly lays charges under wire fraud and unauthorized access, so definitely within the white collar crime arena.

Lowson, the founder of the company has been detained whilst two other were released on bail. The 4th person charged is currently out of the US and is expected to be charged within the coming weeks.

I’ll be watching out for this case as I’m interested to see what kind of punishment is going to be handed out.

Source: The Register

Posted in: Legal Issues, Spammers & Scammers

,


Latest Posts:


truffleHog - Search Git for High Entropy Strings with Commit History truffleHog – Search Git for High Entropy Strings with Commit History
truffleHog is a Python-based tool to search Git for high entropy strings, digging deep into commit history and branches. This is effective at finding secrets accidentally committed.
AIEngine - AI-driven Network Intrusion Detection System AIEngine – AI-driven Network Intrusion Detection System
AIEngine is a next-generation interactive/programmable Python/Ruby/Java/Lua and Go AI-driven Network Intrusion Detection System engine with many capabilities.
Sooty - SOC Analyst All-In-One CLI Tool Sooty – SOC Analyst All-In-One CLI Tool
Sooty is a tool developed with the task of aiding a SOC analyst to automate parts of their workflow and speed up their process.
UBoat - Proof Of Concept PoC HTTP Botnet Project UBoat – Proof Of Concept PoC HTTP Botnet Project
UBoat is a PoC HTTP Botnet designed to replicate a full weaponised commercial botnet like the famous large scale infectors Festi, Grum, Zeus and SpyEye.
LambdaGuard - AWS Lambda Serverless Security Scanner LambdaGuard – AWS Lambda Serverless Security Scanner
LambdaGuard is a tool which allows you to visualise and audit the security of your serverless assets, an open-source AWS Lambda Serverless Security Scanner.
exe2powershell - Convert EXE to BAT Files exe2powershell – Convert EXE to BAT Files
exe2powershell is used to convert EXE to BAT files, the previously well known tool for this was exe2bat, this is a version for modern Windows.


Comments are closed.